My Life In Beauty: Adeola Gboyega
My Life In Beauty: Adeola Gboyega

My Life In Beauty: Adeola Gboyega

Make-up artist Adeola Gboyega is known for her glowing skin, sound product recommendations and useful tips – in short, she’s a bit of an authority on all things beauty. From key mentors to the brands she swears by and why practice always makes perfect, we asked her to talk us through her life in the industry…
By Rebecca Hull

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My make-up career started later than others. I studied media and communications at university, but knew deep down I wanted to follow a more creative path. I’ve always loved beauty – whenever there was a night out, I was the one doing my friends’ make-up, or heading into town to buy new supplies. After graduating, I realised how strong this pull really was and decided to retrain as a make-up artist – the rest is history. I’ve now been working in the industry for over ten years, and it is still my greatest passion to this day.

My top advice is to focus on your best features. Look at what you love most about yourself, then enhance those areas. For me, I love my skin, so I use products that accentuate it. People often use make-up to mask themselves or cover things up, but really beauty is only an accessory. It’s the whole reason I became a make-up artist – to show women how beautiful they are. 

So many of us INVEST IN FOUNDATION with the hope of creating more radiant skin, but SKINCARE PREP is far MORE IMPORTANT.

Healthy, glowing skin is my favourite look. But it’s also the hardest to create. A smooth, primed complexion is the foundation of any great make-up look – I like to think it’s what I’m known for. The runway shows constantly throw up new trends, but what tends to come back around every season is luminous, glossy skin. No matter what else you do – be it a smokey eye or bold lip – everything looks great with lovely skin.

I always dreamt of working for Bobbi Brown. Back in the day, Bobbi was still at the helm of the brand and I loved her approach to beauty, which was all about being who you are. She inspired me so much and continues to do so – I still read all of her books on repeat. It was Bobbi who made me want to teach others how to become their own make-up expert. I also loved the vast shade range – at the start of my career, I worked on beauty counters that didn’t have foundations dark enough for my skin tone. Since then, I’ve vowed I will never work for a brand that doesn’t offer products I could use.


Pat McGrath pushed me forward in my career. She was the one person who made me feel I could pursue make-up as a full-time job. It was – and still is – so important for me to see a female, black, successful make-up artist like Pat in the industry. Representation like this is so essential and I was honoured to work with her for two years. I really admire Mali Magic too. I love her style. 

Lisa Potter-Dixon has also been an incredible mentor to me. I’ve known her for years and watched her carve out an incredible career for herself that is very inspirational. Her go-getter approach and positivity are so contagious – it’s something we can all learn from. When I decided to start working for myself, she gave me the push I needed. She’s also taught me the importance of nurturing relationships within the industry – it makes such a huge difference.

Even though I see so much, there are some products I always come back to. That includes Garnier’s Micellar Water, which removes even the most stubborn make-up and never causes irritation. You can’t beat Estée Lauder’s ANR Serum either. It’s won countless awards for a reason. It gives my skin an immediate glow and protects it from aggressors like pollution. It also mixes beautifully with foundation. The Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist is another staple – it gives my skin the best luminosity, with or without make-up. I also swear by Bobbi Brown’s Skin Corrector Stick to neutralise discolouration. For lipsticks, Pat McGrath’s MatteTrance formulas are unbeatable. My favourite shade is ‘Elson’ – a gorgeous, blue-toned red that flatters every skin tone.


Foundation isn’t the be-all and end-all. So many of us invest in foundation with the hope of creating more radiant skin, but honestly skincare prep is far more important. Make-up should be the light, finishing touch. You have to do the work before anything else can shine through. 

Working with Kate Somerville has been another career highlight. Creating my own Glow Edit for the brand was something I’d always dreamt of. I’m really passionate about skin health, and wanted this collection to show that with the right products, you can create any make-up look you want. 

SPF is the one product I can’t live without. My favourite is Beauty Pie’s Featherlight UVA/UVB SPF50 Sunscreen & Primer. Sun protection is essential, but it hasn’t always been that inclusive – historically, many of them haven’t catered to darker skin. This one, however, is lightweight and the milky fluid melts quickly into the skin to dry down transparent. It also doubles up as a primer, and sits beautifully under make-up.

Everyone should own a few multipurpose make-up products. They’re great for people always in a rush – which is a lot of us these days. I recommend skin tints or CC creams. These hydrate and nourish while giving smooth – often glow-y – coverage. I love Summer Friday’s Skin Tint and the iT Cosmetics CC Cream. Bronzer is another smart purchase. It adds warmth to the skin but can also be used as eyeshadow – Juvia’s Place Bronzed Duo is the best.



My top advice is to FOCUS ON YOUR BEST FEATURES. Look at what you love most about yourself, then enhance those areas.

Switching off is essential to a healthy mindset. Work is busy, so I like to use the evenings to relax and unwind. As soon as I get home, I take off my make-up and spend time doing it. Often, I’ll do a double cleanse and follow up with a rich, silky face mask. My favourite is Sisley’s Black Rose – it’s expensive, but it works. You’ll see the plumping, hydrating benefits almost immediately. I’m a big believer in baths and I love candles – my favourite right now is the Boy Smells X Grace Jones collaboration. A good night-time routine is so important for slowing down. 

I always recommend shopping smaller, independent brands. It’s a way to show your support and there are so many good ones out there now. That includes Joy Adenuga who is an incredible make-up artist with a huge selection of products that work for everyone. Another great platform is The Afro Beauty Company, which caters specifically to those with afro hair. Finally, Guru Make-Up Emporium is still one of my favourite. Based in Kensington, it carries the kind of make-up you wouldn’t find anywhere else – lots of niche, under-the-radar brands that are often used in TV and film. 
My best advice to aspiring make-up artists is to practise. I am often asked what the best make-up school to attend is, but the best way to learn is to do it yourself, over and over. You need to be playing with products every day and really getting a feel for things. I also recommend getting a job on a beauty counter – it’s a great way to accrue experience applying make-up to different faces and skin tones. You hone your craft fast and can build a professional kit up. Finally, be passionate, be willing and always be ready to learn. I am still learning after ten years in the industry

Follow @AdeolaGboyega on Instagram.


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