One on One with Makena the Make-Up Artist


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Make-up; an absolute essential to some girls and an option to others. However, both these types of women can agree on one thing; that make-up enhances your beauty.

That is what Grace Makena, the twenty-year-old girl who got inspired to be a make-up artist after a friend tried make-up on her during her Zetech graduation back in 2018, discovered.

After that, her love for powders, brushes, foundations, primers, lipsticks (etc, etc) was fueled. She started, as most make-up artists do, to watch the make-up youtube tutorial videos of various YouTubers; one of whom is Wabosha Maxine who she insists is her icon.

Hence, her journey in the hustle that is being a MUA (make-up artist) begun.

So far, Makena has gained a one-year experience as a free-lance MUA (Make-Up artist), something she describes as both her hustle and passion.

Here are tips of how to navigate the world of MUA as told by Makena:


This is after all the world of beauty and as we know is the most diverse. What looks good on one client might not look good on another.  Knowing your clients’ skin tone is therefore probably the most important thing before doing any make-up on them.

Skin Tone

Melanin make-up by Makena

Makena, in this sense, knows the perfect shade of foundation for each and every one of her clients. When called to a gig, she ensures she goes with all the shades of foundation and primers so that she does not leave any skin tone out of the bracket.


But knowing your clients’ skin tone is not the only thing needed to be able to connect with your client.  You also have to understand their budgets, which Makena does. In her first gig, which was for Mr&Ms Thika, she got to understand that models spend a lot to walk in the events, and so Make-Up for them has to be a cheaper option.

She provided a package of 500 shillings for them to ensure they look beautiful for the night and was able to still earn a good amount from it while providing a great cheaper option.

Right now, she charges different prices according to the make-up package you choose. There’s the 500 shillings package, the 1000 shillings package and the 1500 shillings package; all which vary with the type of make-up.


The 500 make-up package
The 1600 package, eyelashes inclusive
The 1000 make-up package


Simple/ Extra Make-Up

Another important aspect in understating clients is also knowing the type of make-up they want. Some clients want simple make-up, some want extra and some, if they are models for a photographer, may need a certain type of make-up to suit the photography.

In aspects where the client is not sure what she wants, Makena, whose friends refer to as “Picasso” because of her amazing work;  makes sure after every step, she stops and asks the client if they are comfortable, if there is anything they would like added or removed. By the end of the day, Makena leaves her clients feeling comfortable and beautiful in their skin.


Beauty products are generally a tricky toy to play with. Some products can be your worst nightmare when they react badly with your skin. As a make-up artist, Makena says it is therefore very important to know where to buy your products, especially those that go directly into your skin like foundation and primers.

In more detail, she says this;

“Nilikuja kunotice vitu huenda directly into your skin, nunua legit ndo zisikuje kuharibikia msee uso uskie nataka kusue huyu dem, alitumia fake products. Vitu kama primers, foundation. But vitu kama mascara, eyeshadow, unaeza nunua anywhere bora zikuwe fiti.”



She, however,  says that for anyone who is just starting out, you can start with the cheaper products if you do not have much funding as you save to buy the more expensive and legit products.



Instagram has been one of the main social media platforms that allows creatives to market their hustle, and Makena has not let that opportunity pass. She has her own Insta page called crackmeupmackenzie where she posts pics of her work.

Makena’s Instagram page

The page also extends to Facebook for more clientele base.

Clients who find her work appealing in any of the platforms contact her, and she does the make-up for them in their own houses, or in a place of their choosing.

Book her today!

Private clients are however not her only gig. She also regularly contacts photographers and event organizers who set up make-up gigs for their models for her.



This is after all just another hustle, and any hustle requires commitment. When you talk to Makena, it is apparent that she loves what she does, and is truly truly committed to it.

She previously worked in Safaricom promotions but around that time, she had just started to discover how much she loved the health and beauty industry and so she decided to put all her eggs into the make-up basket.

The work of Makena

Makena is also one person who always stays on her toes when it comes to her make-up hustle. She still watches the Youtube tutorials videos from various make-up artists which as we can recall, was what inspired her.

Apart from that, she is constantly reading articles about different products and different styles to applying make-up. A style she discovered recently from an article she read is Color Correcting which she uses to apply on blackspots and pimples to hide them.

In terms of passion and her general experience as a MUA she says:

“It has been tough. It is not easy. Hakuna Job ni rahisi. Hata promo si rahisi. Wacha niseme I faced my fears nikaamua kufinish strong. Hii biz imekuwa na ups and downs, so many losses. But niliambia Mungu anisaidie. Hii biz sikuwa nataka kugive up on it. Na nilikuwa na so many reasons to give up. Kama January the whole month sikuwa na biz. Nilikuwa nashinda tu home hadi nilikuwa naambia kila msee naachana na make-up.

So kuwa tu consistent, Omba, kuwa humble, usiongeleshe clients vibaya hata kama Wanataka hivi. Kuna ups and down but kuwa tu na patience nayo.

“Make-up is all about playing with colours” Makena


 Na kama unataka kuanza biz ya make-up, kuwa na interest, kuwa na passion. Story na make-up ni consistency. Hufai kugive up. Kama mimi nimekuwa nikieka lashes since November last year na nimkeuja kujua kuweka perfectly juzi. So unaenda tu ukigrow na ukilearn from different youtube channels na kuna wasee huwa hawalearn from youtube channels so pia ukipata msee anaeza kufunza at a low rate, it’s also good”

With that, I leave you with tips and inspiration from Makena. If you were ever considering starting your hustle as a MUA, what really is stopping you?  Go do it, and be the girl that does it all, just like Makena.

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