Kenyan women’s makeup addiction
1 weeks ago, 23:28
How much do you think the average Kenyan woman of means spends on makeup a month? Maybe Sh2,000 or Sh5,000?
Wrong. That's just the price of one or two items.
Quite a number of Kenyan women spend over Sh20,000 a month to buy face products starting from moisturiser and primer, sunscreen, then foundation and conceler, eye pencil or eyebrow pomade, eyeliner or mascara, lipstick and lastly blush powder.
The history of makeup spans over 7,000 years. And with the passage of time, advances in cultures and technology, the world continues to witness the emergence of even more complex forms of makeup.
The beauty industry has grown, turning many entrepreneurs into billionaires as seen in the recent Forbes list of richest self-made women in the world which had seven newcomers who have earned their wealth from cosmetics.
Kenyan consumers on their part are driving a local cosmetics boom as well-known global makeup brands make a beeline for Nairobi.
Some of these international firms are also partnering with local entrepreneurs like Joyce Gikunda, who owns Lintons Beauty World, an empire that is growing fast.
In most major shopping malls in Nairobi and Mombasa, there are three or four makeup shops lined with popping lipsticks or dewy foundations of different shades made for women of colour.
Even products that have been around for decades are being rediscovered by Kenyans following a renewed focus on dark-skinned women.
What is boosting makeup sales is the increasing number of young and old women addicted to having flawless skin. In previous years, most make-up sellers focused on 25 to 40-year-olds, but now the age target has changed to 18-60 year-olds, representing the reality that there is an increase in the number of people buying beauty products.
“We have older people embracing basic make-up, especially in Nairobi and Mombasa. Social media, reality television, movies and advertising are all contributing factors to the enlargement of the bracket of active make-up users,” says Andy Nicole, a lead trainer at Lintons which has grown over the years and has over 200 employees.
With availability of genuine make-up from global brands such as MAC, Yves Saint Laurent, Clarins, Estée Lauder, Clinique, Black Up, Black Opal, Nimue, Yves Rocher, Epara among others, more conscious Kenyans have ditched the downtown shops that bring in fakes.
“Make-up is a worthy investment if you buy good and authentic products,” says Ms Nicole, adding that on a low day, one store gets about 20 walk-in customers of which 10 will buy cosmetics. On a good day, she says one Lintons store gets 100 walk-in customers.
According to Ms Nicole, it is the transformation process of make-up that is exciting.
“Beauty products resolve skin flaws and improve confidence. In Kenya, people have also started embracing facial creams that reduce skin ageing … this is something exciting to observe,” she says.
Suzie Wokabi, the founder and chief creative officer of SuzieBeauty, acquired by Flame Tree Group for Sh45 million three years ago, says Kenya's beauty industry is constantly improving.
“The cosmetics industry is growing ...
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