How to Start a Cosmetic Business in Africa

The African cosmetic business world is extremely profitable if done correctly. Humans need to look and feel attractive, which is an ever-growing desire.

Since cosmetics enhance beauty and contribute to positive self-esteem, people are more than willing to patronize cosmetic products.

However, there’s so much to think about when starting a cosmetic business. As a starter, you may wonder how to build a strong brand or take your business to the next level.

Don’t worry; in this article, I have provided helpful steps that can help you can kick-start your own cosmetic business.

Cosmetics Meaning

Think of cosmetics as substances that make you look presentable. They are substances produced to clean, work on or augment your physical appearance and beauty. They can come in various forms, such as creams, powders, liquids, etc.

Some examples of cosmetics are make-up, body lotions, facial creams, nail polishes, and deodorants. Most cosmetics are made from natural, synthetic, or a mixture of both.

Forms of cosmetics

There are different forms of cosmetics, the common ones are;

1. Solutions

Solutions contain simple soluble ingredients that mix well together. They’re made by pouring a main diluent (usually water) into a container and mixing the remaining soluble ingredients. Some examples of these are shampoos, body washes, hand washes etc.

2. Emulsions (Creams)

Creams are made from oil, water and emulsifiers. The oil and water components usually contain the more active ingredients, while the emulsifier gives it that creamy texture. Examples are sunscreens, hair conditioners, body creams, etc.

3. Ointments

Ointments are the thickest among all forms of cosmetics. They contain no water and are usually made from ingredients like petroleum jelly, lanolin or shea butter (in natural cases).

Read Also: How to Start a Make-Up Business in Africa

4. Lotions

Lotions aren’t as thick as creams and ointments. Lotions are used when the cream is too heavy or thick to serve a particular purpose.

They’re made the same way as creams and are a better choice for those with oily skin. Some examples are facial moisturizers, body lotions and leave-in conditioners.

5. Powders

Powders are made by grinding solid materials until they become smooth substances. They are the most common colour cosmetic (make-up); a basic example is talc powder.

Other cosmetics are tablets, gels, aerosols, etc.

Types of Cosmetic Products

Cosmetics are classified based on their function;

  • Hygiene (Care) cosmetics

  • Decorative cosmetics

Hygiene cosmetics are used to maintain health and prevent diseases, e.g. body care creams, facial cleansers, etc.

Decorative cosmetics make the body more attractive or pleasing, e.g. make-up powder, nail polishes, eye shadows, etc.

Routes of Cosmetic Business

There are two main routes to take when you’re starting a cosmetic business;

1. Manufacture your products

If you enjoy formulating concoctions, manufacturing your cosmetic products could be a good place to start. Making your products could be cheaper than buying, but there are some things you may also want to consider, like licensing or packaging your products the right way.

Depending on your country or city, you must know what ingredients can be added to your self-made mix.

2. Outsource other products

You can sell to other cosmetic brands and companies. However, you might not have to worry about any cost of packaging, but you do need to find a supplier that is quite dependable. Also, you’ll need to test their products first to ensure they’re commendable.

Read Also: How to Start a Profitable Catering Service Business in Africa

How to Start a Cosmetic Business in Africa

Once you know which route to take, you can focus on how to start your line of business. Whether you have decided to manufacture your product or serve as a middleman for a manufacturer, you might want to do the following before finally establishing your brand;

1. Research

The first step to building a successful cosmetic business in Africa is to do your research. Your research should typically focus on  

  • Trends in the beauty industry.
  • Beauty niches to venture into.
  • Licenses and certifications are needed to launch your business.

2. Create a brand

Contrary to what many people think, a brand is more than just a company name or business logo. Your brand lets everyone know what you do and shows what you stand for.

Building a strong brand is important to set yourself up for success. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when creating your brand.

  • What kind of products do you make?
  • Are you producing a whole product line, or are you just starting out with one product?
  • Who are your products targeted to?
  • How can those products be beneficial to your target customers?

3. Count your costs

It’s important you know how much capital you need. You don’t need a lot of money when you’re just starting; the route of cosmetic business you take will help you determine the estimated amount you need.

Read Also: Hospitality and Tourism Management Business in Africa: A Simple Guide on How to Start

4. Produce and test

Cosmetics deal with one of the most important parts of our life: our bodies. It’s important to ensure the products you’re selling aren’t harmful.

Try it out for yourself, and then give samples to friends, family, or anyone who’ll give you honest feedback on your product.

5. Start selling and promoting your business

Now it’s time to do the real work. Everything’s online nowadays. But don’t worry; you don’t have a website to promote your business initially. Just start with a good social media account. As you expand, you can create a website to market yourself.


Remember that to succeed in the cosmetic business, you must know the latest products that appeal to your target audience.

Sometimes, these products are combined, and then you must find the exact combination and know how people use it. You can then market yourself by telling your audience how they can use it to get optimum attractiveness.


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Chinnaekunie Naomi Obasi
Chinnaekunie Naomi Obasi
Hello! I write blogs for lifestyle content and provide credible services to individuals, small businesses, websites and companies. I produce entertaining and informative content for readers.

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