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Tiwa Savage’s Guide to Treating Hyperpigmentation and Day-to-Night Makeup

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“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 skin care—but has since changed her tune. In fact, the Afrobeat star set out to level up her routine during quarantine. “I started researching into things and trying to get rid of my pigmentation,” she explains. Since then, the results have been nothing short of glowing.

Letting Vogue in on her secrets, Savage’s skin-care regimen begins with a Dr. Barbara Sturm foaming cleanser and toner, before a dash of Obagi’s eye cream (which she applies day and night without fail) and a veil of vitamin C serum. Next, she reveals a customized moisturizer from Sturm herself: “She takes the plasma from my blood to make this face cream only for me—only for Tiwa,” she says with a smile. Finally, a layer of sunscreen and a mist of Tata Harper’s hydrating essence 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 by 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 of her makeup tricks by studying pro makeup artist techniques and often does her own glam. “Nobody else knows your face better than you; if you invest the time in skin care and makeup, I promise you—it might seem overwhelming, [but] you’ll get the hang of it.” 

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