By Prudence Minayo
Beauty is big business in Kenya and it’s still growing in leap and bounds. The space that was once dominated by women is now seeing more men venture into this trade. One such man who has made a name for himself as a makeup artist is Dennis Karuri. His skills with a brush are very impressive and owing to this, he has managed to garner so many clients and followers.
Not only does he do the makeup but he applies it as well. He believes men too have a right to wear makeup. He challenges the common stereotype of s3xuality that most people have concerning male makeup artists in Kenya. This is not a typical male job in Kenya and most tend to look down on men who do this kind of job.
The makeup artist is in his mid-20s.
What he studied on campus and what he does now are worlds apart. Dennis pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness while in university.
“Although I studied Agribusiness, I was always interested in fashion. I actually started out modelling and did a few runway shows, commercials, photo shoots among other gigs. During these events, they would apply makeup on us quite often and that’s where I discovered my makeup artistry,” he was quoted as saying.
Dennis Karuri started out as a model and in the process he developed an interest to become a makeup artist. Armed with a few tools, the controversial figure would accept whatever money the clients would offer him.
However, as time went by, he perfected the skill of doing make up and was able to upgrade his makeup kit with much more high quality products. From that moment onwards, he set his rate card and would not compromise on the price. If you can afford him, book him, if not then he has no problem with recommending you to someone who meets your price needs.
His journey was not an easy one if the post he shared on social media is anything to go by:
“I AM A SHUJAA…..This is exactly 4 years ago when I had just started doing makeup, I was broke, trying to keep it together also with my not so good products and skills. Izo brows 🙈😅, the harsh contour woi 🥴I had no training at all, mostly watching and learning and a little bit of guesswork. He added; Very few people supported me around this time and most of who were my clients 😢 My clients were my strongest pillars especially after appreciating my work not only in monetary value but also from a genuine place.
I was lost but I was ready to follow this path 100% God knows I desired to be strong, I desired to be the best, I desired to pass on my values and skills, I desired to spill my heart out, I mostly desired to INSPIRE ✨✨ and all I can say is THANK YOU 🙏 I am living my desired life and I’m still pushing on..
Today, Dennis has quite a huge social media following both on Instagram and YouTube. His YouTube channel has over eighty thousand subscribers and thousands of views in each video. He described his makeup style as extra which does not mean too many products but an extra pop of something, whether it is eyelashes, lips among others.
The creative has worked with a number of brands and was also a judge at Madora got take competition, a makeup competition. According to him, he would like to break the stigma associated with being a male makeup artist. He feels like there are so many talented male makeup artists who lack the confidence to start.
On a good day, Karuri can make upwards of kes Sh150,000. The charges for a facebeat range from kes10,000 for housecalls, Kes50,000 and above for bridal makeup and kes5,000 if he offers his services in-house.
The well grounded Karuri was in a relationship that went south after a mis-understanding with his lover. He shared this:
‘WHEN I WAS IN MY FIRST YEAR AT JKUAT I GOT INTO MY FIRST RELATIONSHIP.
AFTER SOME TIME I WAS NOT FEELING THE RELATIONSHIP SO I DECIDE TO BREAKUP WITH HER. SHE GOT VERY MAD AND HACKED MY ACCOUNT AND POSTED SOME ‘CRAZY’ STUFF.
I TRIED LOGGING INTO MY FACEBOOK BUT I COULDN’T, I WAS VERY TERRIFIED, I THEN GOT A CALL FROM MY EX SHE TOLD ME TO GO SEE HER.
I WENT WITH MY BROTHER AND GOT MY NEW PASSWORD.TO DATE I NEVER ASKED WHAT HAPPENED OR HOW HE GOT BACK MY PASSWORD.’
The makeup artist mother passed away on October 20, 2014. She was knocked by a lorry. Karuri was very close with his mother who he calls his best friend.