Young and Changing The Face Of Africa’s Make-up Industry

Updated on 17 November 2017

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Young, Ambitious And Changing The Face Of Africa's Beauty Industry

17-year-old Rabia Ghoor is the founder of make-up and skin-care brand, SwiitchBeauty.

Hailed ‘South Africa’s own Kylie Jenner’, the teenpreneur is sitting at the helm of an up-and-coming make-up and skin-care empire with her brand already proving to be popular with SA millennials.

The make-up industry is growing but with a gap in the local market for affordable make-up, Ghoor’s sharp wit and social media know-how have kept her brand popular with SA millennials, according to a Wanted article.

SwiitchBeauty began as a passing idea when Ghoor was just 14, and became a fully-fledged business when she was 15.

“It started out with a few products. I learnt that there wasn’t really a good-quality affordable cosmetic brand in the country and I wanted to make that available to people. I wanted to start a brand that wasn’t hit or miss, a brand that was universally flattering,” she told the publication.

Her products are manufactured overseas and she keeps up with the latest trends to appeal and remain relevant to her millennial base.

Ghoor is one of a number of African beauty startups going up against traditional beauty manufacturers for the lucrative millennial market, and who are succeeding by focussing on keeping up with trends and embracing diversity and inclusivity in true millennial style.

Here a look at proudly African women-led beauty brands you should know about. 

Founded By: Rabia Ghoor

The Brand: SwiitchBeauty is a Pretoria-based make-up brand targeted at South Africa’s millennials. It aims to fill the gap in the local market for affordable luxury make-up. Prices range from R80 to R450.

“I look at international trends and how we can bring them to SA. What’s hot overseas and what everyone is loving that we don’t have here. We keep very up to date with what’s happening and that’s why customers love the brand,” Ghoor says in the Wanted article.

Founded By: Naledi Sibisi and Salia Labo

The Brand: Estella offers a variety of matte lipstick and lipgloss products as well as makeup brushes and according to an Elle article, the brand is aimed at a gap in the local beauty industry by creating colours and tones that are made for people of colour.

“It was important to create something that empowered women of colour so that they could both claim and celebrate for themselves,” Sibisi said in the article.

Founded By: Lebo Mphela

The Brand: Malia Nail Care is a nail care brand that focusses on both nail colours, as well as nail care.

“I saw a gap in what I found interesting, viewed it as a challenge and grabbed it. I’ve been doing research about how I can get the best kind of products and even make them myself. Eventually, I started conceptualising all this research,” she told Destiny magazine.

Founded By:
 Constance Mapule Bhebhe

The Brand: Connie Transform is a South African-based makeup brand founded by Zimbabwean-born Bhebhe that specialises in liquid lipsticks. Bhebhe aims to expand the brand’s offering to include other cosmetic products such as an eyeshadow palette and eyelashes as well as contact lenses and even home teeth whitening kits.

“All women are my audience. Initially, we thought only black women were our audience but after attending two expos we quickly saw that Indian, Caucasian, middle-aged and older women love the quality. We are not limited,” Bhebhe says in an interview on K Danielles Media.

Founded By: Florence Adepoju

The Brand: This British entrepreneur with Nigerian parentage was just 17 when she started working on her luxury cosmetics brand, MDMFlow.  The brand is her answer to the lack of lipstick shades for dark skin tones. According to a 2015 AllAfrica report her product range is now stocked in Topshop and she counts Lena Dunham as a fan.

“Brands would bring out limited-edition capsule collections, but none of the make-up would suit me; the foundation wouldn’t be dark enough or the lipstick wouldn’t be bright enough. I always found it disappointing,” Adepoju says in an AllAfrica interview 

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