While a large number of beauty products work well across whatever different skin colours or types of hair, there is definitely a market for products aimed at the needs unique to women of colour. However, even in the era of #BlackGirlMagic, when walking past the average department store shopping aisle you're most likely to spot a only small little section aimed specifically at darker skin or kinky curls. We caught up with four local cosmetics brands started by young black female entrepreneurs, and while they are not all strictly focused on the needs of women of colour, a couple of them like Estella Cosmetics and NativeChild were born out of the frustration of not finding suitable products in stores. We had a chat with these phenomenal women to find out more about their individual journeys and how they plan on expanding their businesses.
Meet Getty, Mark and Mel, the quirky trio behind the brand Oamobu Naturals, an all-natural handmade skin and hair care range. Offering a wide range of products such as shea body and hair butters and African black soap bars and shampoo.
"Our mission is to significantly elevate the quality of skin care products used by the average South African woman."
Oamobu Naturals initially started as a hobby as one of the co-founders of the brand, Getty had become very frustrated at the general quality of skin and hair care products available on the market. After a few months of hand crafting products for herself, her friends and my family, together with two other co-founders, Oamobu Naturals was born.
Oamobu Naturals strive to create products that are of the highest quality by investing numerous hours into crafting the products and dedicating a lot of effort into sourcing the highest quality of ingredients. The effort that is put into the creation of their products has not gone unnoticed as the Oamobu Naturals team are overwhelmed by the support they are getting from their customers.
"We are extremely grateful and humbled by all the support that has been given to us!"
The trio plans on moving to a larger facility to produce their products and with the help of fellow team members Getty and Mark who are both engineers, they will be experimenting with new ingredients. Although they remain tight-lipped on their future prospects, they will deliver on their promise to provide a wider range of soaps.
You can purchase their products on the Oamobu Naturals online store
Instagram: @oamobunaturals Twitter: @OamobuNaturals
Naledi Sibisi and Salia Labo are the duo behind Estella Cosmetics, a Proudly South African business that offers a variety of matte lipstick and lipgloss as well as makeup brushes.
"It was important to create something that empowered women of colour so that they could both claim and celebrate for themselves."
The idea to create a cosmetic range came when the two identified a gap in the local beauty industry to create colours and tones that are made for people of colour. What started as a small idea turned into something greater than the pair could imagine. Salia had been an entrepreneur for a number of years so it only made sense that she should handle the groundwork that eventually made it happen. Numerous tests are done on the products to make sure that they are safe to use, while Salia and Naledi are very hands-on and work closely with their suppliers to ensure that the quality of their products is of the highest quality.
The pair rely heavily on social media to spread the word about their products and it has paid off as they have received major support from the public. "Over the last few months we are now recognizable in certain spaces and people are constantly congratulating us and wanting to support and make purchases. It’s an incredible thing."
Speaking on all things #BlackGirlMagic, the pair had this to say:
"Being a black girl means being fierce, beautiful and having a unique level of fight built inside you by the nature of who you are and where you fit in society. It means you are determined to succeed and you are unapologetic about the way you shine."
This is only the beginning for Estella Cosmetics as they have plans to create a beauty spa that will provide a variety of services to suit the client's needs.To purchase their products, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter: @Est_Cosmetics Instagram: estellacosmetics
Malia Nail Care
Meet Lebo Mphela, a young entrepreneur who started her own range of nail polish. Malia Nail Care is a nail care brand that focuses on both nail colours, as well as nail care. Lebo had always wanted to start her own cosmetics company and when she had a bad experience with artificial nails, she used this as an opportunity to start her own nail care company.
"I felt the need to start my own business because I wanted to create something of my own. Something I'm passionate about"
After doing tons of research, Lebo found a working formula that was not only resulted in beautiful colours but was also healthier than most nail polishes that are found on the market. Using a 3-free formula, the nail polishes do not contain the 3 toxic chemicals that are commonly found in nail polish, thus allowing your nails to stay stronger and healthier for longer.
Each bottle of nail polish has a useful nail care tip on the back to help the consumer maintain healthy nails.
Speaking on her journey so far, Lebo admits that being an entrepreneur is not easy "Some days bring good milestones. And others are anything but", she believes that even though she has received a lot of support from the general public, a lot more needs to be done to ensure that local brands are supported more.
The next step for Lebo and the Malia Nail Care brand is to introduce a beauty & fashion review page that will offer product and event reviews on the website. She also plans to introduce a 'Malia Fixbox', a mobile nail and make-up service. With big plans such as this, it only makes sense that Malia Nail Care will eventually branch out into other aspects of the cosmetics field and that is exactly what Lebo hopes to do.
Malia Nail Care products are available on the website.
Instagram: @malia_nail_care Twitter: @MaliaNailCare
NativeChild is a natural hair & body care brand, created by Sonto Pooe (centre) for the under-served needs of women of colour. Nativechild is a plant based haircare and body care range that offers products such as Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil and Shea Butter.
Sonto had always dreamt of having her own business and when she had her own struggles with her hair, she took that as an opportunity to create her own range of hair products. She eventually added body care products to create a one stop shop for both hair and body products. It seems that this is a winning formula as she has received an abundance of support and has received requests from customers beyond our borders.
"Black girl magic means we can celebrate ourselves. We are magical. We are beautiful. We can excel."
Nativechild has made it their mission to create products that are completely natural and almost all of the products in the range can be used for both hair and body which means as a consumer you save.
NativeChild products are available on their online store
Instagram: @nativechild.co Facebook: @nativechild.co Twitter: @nativechild_co