- With climate change affecting the origin of ingredients and the manufacture of products, ethics is becoming as important a factor as the effectiveness of products.
- For the world’s largest maker of beauty products that also owns local brand Nice & Lovely, the survival of cosmetics companies in a changing market and natural environment will depend on their ability to continue to reformulate their products.
- Globally, pollution from cosmetics companies is a major concern, from product composition to packaging.
As the beauty industry in Kenya continues to grow, so do the formulas of the various products on the market. Manufacturers need to move to more improved, safer and more sustainable formulas to meet changing preferences.
But with climate change affecting the origin of ingredients and the manufacture of products, ethics is becoming as important a factor as the effectiveness of products.
It has now become imperative for manufacturers, both local and international, to rethink their formulas, says Serge Sacre, managing director of L’Oréal Est, the regional subsidiary of French multinational cosmetics company L’Oréal.
For the world’s largest maker of beauty products that also owns local brand Nice & Lovely, the survival of cosmetics companies in a changing market and natural environment will depend on their ability to continue to reformulate their products.
“People are now asking for products with a 48-hour effect, for example. They want a lotion that can keep their skin hydrated for up to two days. We have also imagined gelled creams, which do not exist anywhere in the world because consumers want non-greasy and non-sticky products.
The newest product in its extensive repertoire was recently recognized at the Beauty & Cosmetics Summit 2021.
Globally, pollution from cosmetics companies is a major concern, from product composition to packaging.
According to Serge, L’Oréal East Africa, which acquired Nice & Lovely in 2013, wants to produce and sell clean products for sustainability.
“You want to get your ingredients from responsible sources. When you make this product, you don’t want people saying an area was deforested because you cut down palm trees for palm oil.
“We hope to be carbon neutral by 2030. We have already signed agreements with different organizations around the world to guide us on this important journey, reusing water in our production processes and packaging our products in plastics. recycled.
The MD observes that the beauty industry in Kenya is still small, considering the country’s population of 50 million. It is, however, growing, with an estimated value of 20 billion shillings. He says he has the potential to grow tenfold (Sh200 billion).
“The penetration of face care and make-up products in the Kenyan market is very low. Only 30% of Kenyans use facial care products, for example. When you look good, it has a psychological effect on your mood. You feel good and more confident.
In Kenya, body lotions account for 50% of the beauty products market, according to the results of a survey by Nielsen.
But what does the Kenyan consumer of beauty products look like? What defines them? Serge says that the average buyer and user is someone who is aware of their image. It affects both men and women.
“Whether the person is going to church, work, or going out, they want to feel better about themselves and have a high sense of self-esteem.”
Between men and women, Serge says the industry in Kenya has been somewhat skewed in favor of women, even though they make up 50% of the market.
Male grooming, however, is now on a steep growth arc, currently constituting 20% of the beauty market in Kenya.
“Versman, for example, which is our line of men-specific products, includes body lotions, aftershaves, deodorants and even fragrances. Men use beauty products as much as women, even if sometimes they are not the ones who buy them in stores,” he explains.
He notes that more and more men are joining the beauty category “after initial resistance” which he says is music to the ears of cosmetics companies.
The beauty market in Kenya has almost always been synonymous with counterfeit products, which has seriously undermined manufacturers of genuine products. How is the industry dealing with this threat?
For L’Oréal East Africa and other manufacturers, the proliferation of harmful products is an even greater challenge than counterfeits.
“There are now so many products that are marketed as whiteners and smoothers, but they contain harmful ingredients that destroy your skin when used. Our first course of action as a market is to educate consumers and retailers on how to distinguish a product containing safe ingredients from one that could potentially harm the user’s skin.
He says harmful cosmetics are a headache for the government and the market is working with government agencies to control their entry and sale.
The company also partners with different organizations and lobby groups to discourage the use of bleach for natural ingredients as safer alternatives.
But where do Kenyans buy their beauty products the most? Is it in physical stores or online stores?
According to Serge, traditional stores remain the largest sales channel for beauty products. But that is also changing.
“E-commerce is also seeing significant growth and more and more Kenyans are starting to trust different platforms. These stores strive to reassure customers that they can pay on delivery for the goods. »
Some platforms such as Jumia allow consumers to try on different foundations and lipsticks by digitally uploading a photo of their face, to see if they would suit their skin type and skin tone.
To promote its market share, L’Oréal East Africa this week unveiled Kenyan filmmaker Kate the actress as the face of the Nice & Lovely brands.
“Kate is genuine. She represents the modern Kenyan woman. She represents family, she is trusted, she has fantastic skin and she is loved by Kenyans,” says Serge.
The 110-year-old company has a portfolio of 35 international brands and an estimated annual revenue of 32 billion euros.