Abuja, Nigeria: The cosmetic, beauty and skincare market is worth $400 billion globally. Traditionally, it is dominated by cosmetic and pharmaceutical giants who devote billions of dollars annually to the formation of new products, and mostly synthetic-chemical laden new products. Thus, it has always been difficult for small companies to enter the picture.
However, with the rise in the demand for organic cosmetic, beauty and skincare products, the playing field is increasingly levelled. While the beauty giants are researching and producing new chemical concoctions, the little companies now have the opportunity to reach the market with their organic products. This is because organic products usually don’t require as much research or capital to produce. Some of them are practically homemade products made by people who draw inspiration from their own personal or cultural beauty experiences.
Nowhere does this inspiration and experience with homemade organic beauty items run deeper than in Africa. In Africa, for hundreds of years, women have depended exclusively on natural products for their beauty needs. The recipes and formulas for these products have been handed over from mother to daughter for hundreds of years. These brands, some of which are small family-owned businesses, are packaging years of tradition and family culture to share with the world.
Here are some of the brands that I think you should know:
This is probably my personal favourite because they also make products for men too. Founded in Nigeria, ORIKI has gradually grown to become a global brand. Their products are all-natural and ingredients are derived from plants such as coconuts and baobab. These products are made in artisanal batches to enable them to maintain the highest quality. The products range from body washes, serums to creams and oils. Despite being a luxurious skincare brand, ORIKI’s products are still affordable and are value for money.
Malée is a fully organic and sustainable beauty brand. Founded in 2009, by South African entrepreneur Zeze Oriaikhi-Sao, Malée is a successful niche beauty label increasingly becoming a world-class global ‘cult’ brand.
Inspired by the rich landscapes, alluring scents and ancient wisdom of Africa, their luxurious fragrance and body care range balances 100 percent natural active ingredients and scientifically-proven formulas to heal, protect and pamper your skin. All raw materials are sustainably sourced within Africa and packaging is fully recyclable. Malée is popular for the sweet-smelling scents of their products and its beautiful packaging which seeks to inspire wanderlust and a love for Africa in every fragrant jar, bottle and pump.
Malée is gentle on the skin and does not contain parabens, silicones, mineral oils and animal originated ingredients.
Founded by Senegalese serial entrepreneur Magatte Wade, Tiossan produces a range of skincare and lifestyle products all made exclusively from natural ingredients grown in Senegal, such as black seed oil such as unrefined shea butter, aloe vera, safflower seed oil and rice bran oil. The secrets of Tiossan are said to come from the Ancient Healers of Senegal.
“Magatte, the Founder, says that in her native Senegal, there is a ritual for all babies. For the first 45 days, a grandmother gives her a daily full-body massage. Thus, a daily ritual of self-love is established for life by spending a few minutes every day making those gestures over your own skin with nourishing ingredients that come from the land.” – Tiossan website 2018
Besides creating popular natural beauty products, 50 percent of the company’s profits are dedicated to the creation of innovative schools. Wade’s husband, Michael Strong, is co-creator of the K? School (formerly Khabele + Strong Incubator), an Austin-based entrepreneurial incubator for teens integrated with a Socratic college prep secondary school.
Ilera Apothecary is a clean beauty company that combines natural ingredients, sustainability and technology to make the best range of products for the entire family.
Founder, Chinonye Akunne has been passionate about beauty and the environment from a young age and now possesses a Master’s degree in Public Health, specializing in Environmental Health Science. This passion for the environment is seen in the fact that all Ilera’s packaging are recyclable, biodegradable or compostable, and they’re beautifully minimalistic too.
Ilera wants everyone using their products to” feel comfortable knowing they are using high quality ingredients on their skin while doing their part to save the environment”.
Ajali is an all-natural, handmade beauty brand containing ingredients sourced in conjunction with farmers across Nigeria. The natural beauty brand’s belief in nature is perhaps illustrated by their name “Ajali” which means “read earth” or “sand” in the Igbo Language.
All its products are completely preservative-free and are “lovingly made by hand” which I think is no small feat by today’s standards. The products include face washes, soaps and hair butter.
This list is by no means exhaustive. If you know of any more African organic beauty brands that deserve a mention, please feel free to link to them in the comment section below.
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