Beauty Standards Around The World: Kenya

If all the flowers of the world were lilies, the earth would be far less beautiful. Diversity is interesting and beautiful. In this series, we highlight the variety of beauty around the world.

By Molly Farinholt2 min read
Beauty Standards Around The World: Kenya

Kenya is home to scenic landscapes, breathtaking coastline, and extremely beautiful, highly fashionable women. The country boasts great variety in both its human and physical geography. The capital of Nairobi, for instance, has soaring skyscrapers at its center and tribal tent villages encircling it. The fashion and beauty trends are equally varied, with influences from both native and immigrant cultures, as well as urbanization and traditional practices. 

Glamour All Day, Every Day

Kenyan women love fashion and get dressed up for nearly every occasion. The fashion industry is thriving in the colorful East African country, and many big name designers call Kenya home. 

Patricia Mbela, who created the brand Poisa, is known for her jewelry and “wearable art.” Her pieces are elaborate, unusual, and absolutely stunning. 

Ann McCreath’s brand KikoRomeo is inspired by Kenyan culture with its use of traditional prints and patterns. 

Sally Karago’s brands Mcensal Fashion House and SK Collection find inspiration in contemporary Africa, thus showcasing how fashion in Kenya is a meld of traditions and trends. 

A Booming Makeup Industry

Like the fashion industry, the makeup industry is thriving. Kenya currently ranks third in sub-Saharan Africa for use of personal care cosmetic products. The growth of the middle class and the prominence of social media (think #selfies) has led to the growth of the country’s cosmetic industry. 

One of the leading Kenyan makeup brands, Pauline Cosmetics, was created in 2013 by Nelly Tuikong after the former nurse could not find makeup in the right shades for her darker skin tone. One of the brand’s mottos was “Colors for our color.” The products are fearlessly bold and colorful, highlighting one’s natural features while also adding a great deal of glamour — which seems to be the name of the game for Kenyan women.

The Most Brilliant Hairstyles 

Kenyan women sport some of the most gorgeous hairstyles we have ever seen. Colorful braids, faux locs, and havana twists are just a few of the popular styles today. More and more women are also opting for a natural afro. Simple, but exceedingly chic, this style is making a huge comeback among Kenyan women who traditionally preferred longer styles. One woman who is helping to normalize natural hair — and one’s all around natural beauty — is Lupita Nyong’o. 

The Most Beautiful Woman in Kenya

Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong’o, who became immensely popular following her role in 12 Years a Slave, epitomizes Kenyan beauty. The young actress has proven that she can pull off just about any hairstyle, frequently letting her natural texture do the talking. She is also completely unafraid of playing with makeup, swinging from a simple glow to bold, colorful, and totally unique. 

Nyong’o, once insecure in her dark skin due to TV advertising, now embraces her color as one of her most beautiful attributes. More than anything, though, she wants to model for young women that beauty lies more in one’s actions than in one’s appearance. 

In an interview with Glamour Magazine, she related the lessons her mother taught her regarding beauty: “My mother taught me that there are more valuable ways to achieve beauty than just through your external features. She was focused on compassion and respect, and those are the things that ended up translating to me as beauty. Beautiful people have many advantages, but so do friendly people…I think beauty is an expression of love.” Aside from a loving soul, Lupita believes that laughter and sleep are the universal keys to looking beautiful! 

Closing Thoughts

Kenyan women are not afraid to be colorful, showcase their natural features, and intertwine the old with the new. We love their boldness, glamour, and ability to follow trends while also paying tribute to tradition! 

If you enjoyed this article, check out some of our other discussions on beauty around the world: