I remember walking into a Makeup Studio in Nigeria for the very first time and being completely blown away by how picture-perfect all the beauty models looked in frames perfectly placed around the neat space. It was Osamu Ogbomwan’s (@beautymatters) new studio, she had just gotten into the Makeup business and was already known as the biggest Makeup Artist in all of the South-south region of Nigeria…she still is!
Back then, the beauty world in Nigeria was not as saturated with talent as it is today, Infact i dont think people considered it a lucrative business or even had a clue that in no time it would grow to be one of the most promising fields of business. In 2017, the global beauty industry was estimated to have risen to a $265 billion worth.

If you were a make up artist in Nigeria between 2008-2010 or even had a beauty studio, it was because you had a sincere passion for beauty, one that had no huge financial expectations. Being a Beauty/Makeup artist also meant you had some-what perfected the required skills, practiced it consistently and had access to good products which were not as readily available on demand or as luxurious as they are today, but you still made it work.

The Surge that is Beauty blogging and Makeup on social media today, was NOT as potent or strong enough in Africa to drive the beauty market as much as it does now, so if you were popular, it was because you were really good and your work did all the talking, promotion and marketing for you. I remember having the privilege to be with Osamu the founder of the Beauty Matters Make up Studio in one of her beauty shoots and curiously asking her How did you get into this field? Who really inspired you to be this good?! Sincerely she looked at me and said Banke Meshida Lawal!

All the Makeup guru’s i knew were from Style Network or from YouTube and were all white so i was really in search for blacks and Africans who thrived in this field. I also really wanted to perfect my beauty skills and the journalist in me was just curious for innate reasons lol. Researching and asking around led me to find out that there were only a handful of women who initially ruled the beauty world in Nigeria, the likes of Banke Meshida Lawal, Tara Durotoye of House of Tara and Bimpe Onakoya who now heads the Maybelline Africa brand. Of all the make up artists in the Nation, Banke Meshida Lawal is easily the most stand-out pro beauty guru. One look at her work and you know that face was touched by Banke! She already had a distinctive signature style as far back as i can remember and still does till today.

With Banke’s super glamorous and luxurious approach to beauty, she fastly became the go-to Makeup Artist of the Crème de la crème, the celebrities and all of the top Nigerian Elites. If you were a bride and Banke did your makeup herself, it was a big deal and the chances of you landing in the media was 100%. It is safe to say that she inspired and triggered a lot of careers in the world of Beauty and Makeup today in Nigeria and across Africa.
Banke’s success didnt stop with just beating faces, she went on to start her own cosmetic line BM Pro, which hit the Nigerian beauty market and fastly became known as the best and most luxurious makeup brand owned by a Nigerian beautician. It was one of a kind and almost comparable to the standard of the famous MAC Cosmetics.

First came her self-named products which included a powder, foundation and lip sticks for different shades of women and then came her own set of fancy yellow makeup brushes. Just when the world was getting a hang of being introduced to brushes as opposed to just winging it with our hands lol.
Banke was moving fast with beauty trends and solidifying her place as the one of the Top Nigerian Makeup Artists and Beauty Entrepreneurs that she is today.

Banke Meshida Lawal turned 40 yesterday and decided to bless us with some alluring shots to celebrate her amazing Beauty Career and her Four decades on earth but this article for me, was my golden way of celebrating an Icon and the woman who i think really changed the face of Beauty in Africa as a whole.
Over a decade in the business and she is still as consistent and as talented and as UN-RIVALED as ever. Here’s to more years of BM Pro and to the growing Business of Beauty in Nigeria and Africa (Here here….clicks imaginary glasses).

Credits: BM Pro 
photography @akinakintola_
model: @banksbmpro

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