“Growing up in Nigeria, I had black soap for my face and cocoa butter all over my skin,” says singer and songwriter Tiwa Savage, who used to take a no-frills approach to her skincare—but has since changed her tune.
The Afrobeat star set out to level up her routine during quarantine. “I started researching things and trying to get rid of my pigmentation,” she explains. Since then, the results have been nothing short of glowing.
According to the singer, her skincare regimen begins with a foaming cleanser and toner before a dash of eye cream (which she applies day and night without fail) and a veil of vitamin C serum.
Finally, she uses a layer of sunscreen and a mist of hydrating essence to round out her skin regimen.
Over the last few years, Savage has stopped using foundation altogether, even while performing at packed concerts or posing for photoshoots. “This is something that Naomi Campbell told me: she doesn’t use foundation, or hardly uses foundation,” she explains.
“[So] I stopped using it. It takes a while for you to get used to it, but that’s where that inner confidence comes in.”
Savage, who moved from Nigeria to London at age 11, recounts not seeing girls with her complexion represented in beauty at the time. “I actually tried to bleach my skin, so I was using these products to make you lighter,” she admits.
But once her mom discovered them, she encouraged Savage to embrace and appreciate her natural beauty. “Now, with the inclusion of darker skin tones, it’s so much easier and so much better,” says the 41-year-old.
As for her day-to-night makeup routine, it all starts with perfecting her brows. “Even if I have a makeup artist, I still do my eyebrows myself,” she says while defining her arches with concealer. Then, she reaches for a tinted spot treatment to combat post-acne scarring.
Savage picked up many makeup tricks by studying pro makeup artist techniques and often does her glam. “Nobody else knows your face better than you; if you invest the time in skincare and makeup, I promise you—it might seem overwhelming, [but] you’ll get the hang of it.”
After concealing her under-eyes and forehead and setting it in place with loose powder, swirls of powder add a touch of warmth to her complexion. Savage isn’t keen on covering all blemishes or dark spots on her face. “I feel like there’s perfection in imperfection,” she says of her beauty philosophy.
Once she blends on blush and a highlighter, it’s time for lips. “I always admire it when I see women with red lips,” she says.” It’s sexy, bold, and confident. “I wanted to create a red color that would make me feel like that.”
Then, moving onto her hair, Savage swoops her baby hairs with edge control to accent her tightly-wound braided updo.
An essential last step is spritzing on a fragrance. “You always have to finish off with perfumes,” says Savage before spritzing on a trio of fragrances. “I’m obsessed with how I smell.” And with that, her “signature Savage look” is complete.