Dainty, elegant, ethnic and sexy. These four words were used by mega-influencer Nyané Lebajoa to define her style and versatile looks. A lover of magical fairy tales, you’ll often catch her in photos styled as an ethereal being, resembling a Winx Club fairy (the originals — not the dreary, tasteless versions from the Netflix reboot). On other occasions, Lebajoa has transformed herself into a grunge girl, rocking nostalgic ‘90s hair and makeup, combining those with Y2K clothing. The symbolism behind these beauty looks lies in Lebajoa’s love for transformation.
Using her professional experience as a model, Lebajoa positions herself as a marvellous, dreamlike creature, a conduit for magic. A common feature in her looks is her use of monochromatic colours, and quite often her hair and makeup are in closely matched hues. The wigs for her Insta-paintings are from her wig line, Temper Hair. Her inspirations also lie in the world of character design in the video game industry. Any of her looks is to be read like a story, where she, as the human canvas, with her petite 5’ 1” frame, allows herself to metamorphose into larger-than-life characters.
Early Influences on makeup and style
Lebajoa owes her earliest influences on her makeup and style to pageants, her mother, and the ‘80s icons Madonna and Grace Jones. Jones’ infamous, bold makeup looks consisted of brilliant metallics, bright blushes, and colourful eyeshadow that revolutionized the world of fashion and cosmetics. The iconic model was an expert at harbouring the magical power of transformation to come across as an emboldened, fierce version of herself, and she could pull it off.
(John D. Kisch / Separate Cinema Archive / Getty images)
In the ‘80s, Madonna went from glitz and glam in Material Girls to edgy and rebellious in Papa Don’t Preach and onwards. Even today, Madonna still takes on the power to become whoever she feels like.
Lebajoa’s Makeup Looks
The South African beauty, hailing from the small nation of Lesotho, leans into her culture whether she is in Germany or, her current home base, the Netherlands. She likes getting creative by incorporating markings in some of her makeup looks, inspired by native cultural practices.
To create this look, Lebajoa used white eyeliner from Nyx Cosmetics to create markings for her face. Her all-time favourite Morphe brushes are used to apply a Morphe palette to bring vibrant pink and purple colours to her eyelids. She sports a straightened, light pink wig that matches the Joyride Huda Beauty lipstick accentuating her plush lips.
Lebajoa gives serious grunge girl vibes in this half-down, space bun hairstyle and dark coloured eye makeup. The hair, deep red lips, and long winged liner give her the appearance of a Bratz Doll, playing on Y2K nostalgia. Dark lips were a prominent feature of grunge-inspired makeup looks, with most trend followers opting for deep reds or even black shades.
One of Lebajoa’s favourite makeup tutorials is her recreations of previous looks. In this video, Lebajoa is sporting her signature silver hair and featuring her Morphe X Nyané Fierce Fairytale Collection palette. She uses a few elements of soft grunge techniques like lip lining and accentuating the eyes for a wide-eyed, doll look. Yet in true Nyané fashion, she uses two highly contrasting colours over her eyelids, creating her signature linear patterns on the wing and crease area. Her glossy pink lips, courtesy of her Morphe Pout Clout line, harmonize with the glittery pink and green eyeshadow. The overall look is supported by a beautiful floral headdress in the two colours.
Makeup can be art
Lebojoa reminds us that there is more to makeup than just looking good. You can have fun with it and express yourself artistically, recreating different versions of yourself, for yourself. Like the Magical girl anime genre, inspiring generations of girls to recognize the power in femininity, Lebajoa basks in the ability to transform into whomever she wishes to be. Her creativity and unique sense of beauty and fashion has prompted her to become a successful entrepreneur in her own right, having launched a colourful wig line, makeup palette, and clothing line.
Tashon Daley | Contributing Writer