In the world of beauty and wellness, there is a huge interest right now in products and services that celebrate the essence of Africa’s unique natural resources and ingredients, whilst at the same time harnessing traditional skills and up-to-the-minute knowledge of leading women innovators in the industry. These game-changers are changing the face of the beauty and wellness industry in Africa, and creating fabulous new, proudly African products and brands in the process that the world wants to buy and use. Some of the names and brands are well-known - others are new to the scene - but all of them are capturing the imaginations of consumers across the continent, and indeed the world.
Here are just some of the African Women Beauty and Wellness entrepreneurs who are inspiring us this month.
Tara Fela-Durotoye - Founder of House of Tara - Nigeria
More than ten years ago, House of Tara founder Tara Fela-Durotoye, sparked a revolution that reverberated across Nigeria, creating a powerful corporate brand, a range of interesting makeup and skincare lines aimed at women of colour, and setting up Nigeria’s first make-up school. Tara Fela-Durotoye is a Nigerian makeup artist and lawyer. A pioneer in the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria, she launched the first bridal directory in 1999, followed by the establishment of an international standard makeup studio, and the launch of the first makeup school in Nigeria. Over the past 16 years, Tara has been dedicated to realising her vision of building a globally respected beauty company of African origin. She is the founder and current CEO of House of Tara International; the creator of the Tara Orekelewa Beauty range, Inspired Perfume and the H.I.P Beauty range; and a highly respected mentor for make-up artists and small business owners. She is a genuine powerhouse and gamechanger in the cosmetics industry in Nigeria and an inspiration for the rest of Africa. Read more.
Shereen Makhanye - Founder of Nubian Nature (Pty) Ltd - South Africa
Nubian Nature (Pty) Ltd is the entrepreneurial creation of founder Shereen Makhanye, whose journey to find products that are not harmful to use on African hair led her to harness the power of the continent’s natural ingredients to find a solution. Her company and its products harness Africa’s organic and exotic indigenous crops to create an exciting hair-care brand. They provide the showcase for her genuine passion for Africa, science, hair and all things natural and it's been her life dream to share the experience and richness of Africa with Africans and the rest of world. Read more.
Tamarind Nott - Founder of Mbiri Natural Skincare - Namibia
Tammy Nott is a passionate Namibian entrepreneur who is harnessing the raw natural plant ingredients of her country to create a business and a strong community support system. Mbiri Natural Skincare is a 100% natural skincare brand that focuses on using Namibian plant ingredients including Namibian Myrrh, Marula oil and Kalahari Melon Seed oil. The core of the brand lies with Namibian Myrrh which is endemic to Namibia and is harvested by the Himba people in the northern desert regions of Namibia. The brand is approved by The Vegan Society, is endorsed by Beauty Without Cruelty and is an accredited partner of Phytotrade Africa, which is a fair-trade initiative. Read more.
Getty Choenyana - Founder of Oamobu Naturals - South Africa
Founder of Oamobu Naturals, Getty Choenyana, is a South African mechanical engineer turned skin and haircare entrepreneur. Her company designs, formulates and produces high quality natural skin and hair care products using unrefined shea body and hair butters that are whipped with carrier and essential oils. To supplement the use of shea butter based products, the company also offers African black soap, with all the imported ingredients being sourced from Fairtrade certified producers. Oamobu was born from a collective frustration of not being able to easily find all-natural high quality reputable ingredients and products that are non-chemically enhanced. The company name "Oa mobu”. “Oa mobu” is a Sepedi phrase which translates to “Of the soil”. As a company, “Oamobu” perfectly encapsulates the brand’s identity and inspiration. Read more.
Korkor Kugblenu - Founder of The Body Butter Company - Ghana
Ghanaian entrepreneur Korkor Kugblenu created her business venture, The Body Butter Company, to produce natural beauty solutions for sub-Saharan African women. Seeing a gap in the market for products that celebrate naturally beautiful African women’s skin and hair, the company manufactures and retails indigenous 100% natural beauty solutions. Korkor came to the realization going back to sporting her natural hair 10 years ago, that African women have a deep-seated dislike for what is uniquely theirs, instead straightening out beautiful kinks and bleaching their luscious dark skin. She wanted to change that, believing that women deserve the right to be proud of their natural features, and recognising that the way to do that is to use age-old beauty secrets from the continent to preserve the beauty of their naturalness. As a brand and company ethos, The Body Butter Company is furthering this cause by going to secondary schools in Ghana to talk about natural beauty, self love and good grooming. Every jar or bottle contains confidence and self-love, the livelihood of local raw materials producers, and unadulterated ingredients that give unadulterated benefits to the skin and hair. Read more.
Terryanne Chebet - Founder of Keyara Organics - Kenya
Keyara Organics is a natural skincare company with a soul and a real passion for African ingredients. Founder and serial entrepreneur, Terryanne Chebet, has a vision to grow the company to be among the world’s leading Natural Skincare brands, understanding that everyone needs a natural skincare routine. Keyara Organics is a Natural Skincare line, inspired by Africa and it's wealth of natural oils and scents of the continent. Terryanne started the company after looking for natural skincare brands for her daughter, which were rare to find and not consistent on the shelves. She then saw a gap for a market that is keen on achieving beautiful skin the natural way and believes that women love the brand because it is passionate about skincare. The Keyara team is the first one to test and critique all the products before they go to market, and only when they know they have it right do they sell. They personally take the time to ensure that all the products are natural and safe. Keyare is a brand that is passionate about Africa, and growing a product that will change how the world looks at Africa, beautifully. Read more.
Kerryne Krause Neufeldt - Founder of Eye Slices - South Africa
Many of us with busy entrepreneurial lives, heavy travel schedules, and lots of late nights will probably have experienced the effects of tired puffy eyes, with increasingly dark circles and redness, exacerbated by staring at computer screens and smartphones all day long. However, one innovative South African entrepreneur, Kerryne Krause Neufeldt, thinks she has found the solution - eyeSlices®! Kerryne is a natural born entrepreneur and marketer, and she saw a gap in the market and believed that she had the ability to fill it. Her company and brand, eyeSlices® is a multi-award winning product range and a global first in Cryo-Gel technology. The company’s cooling and soothing eye gels target puffiness, dark circles, tiredness, redness and wrinkles, and are re-usable up to ten times! Made with natural and organic extracts from the Swiss Alps, they are guaranteed to leave you feeling relaxed, restored and revived within minutes! This lifestyle range is ideal for people that travel long distances, party hard, work late nights, experience seasonal allergies, or simply want a quick relief from lifestyle induced eye symptoms. The Company produces 3 ranges of products for distribution through Beauty Salons & Spas; Cosmetic Stores & Pharmacies; and currently exports from South Africa to over 20 countries. Read more.
Thokozile Mangwiro - Founder of Nyla Naturals - South Africa
Thokoizile Mangwiro is the founder of NYLA, a luxury brand that offers 100% natural, deeply moisturizing skin oils and products. Nyla is handcrafted from Johannesburg, South Africa, with a star indigenous ingredient, The Marula oil. Thokozile believes that Marula oil is the secret to timeless Hair & Skin Nourishment. Deemed the miracle oil of Africa, it is obtained from the core of the Marula fruit; and is indigenous to Southern Africa. The Tsonga women of South Africa and Mozambique have used this oil as a moisturizer and a massage oil on babies for years. This oil has protected the African skin and hair against harsh and dry, hot and humid weather conditions for ages. Thokozile’s company, Nyla Naturals, has created the Marula Evolution Collection by showcasing pure Marula oil and fused it with various natural botanical and organic ingredients to create the most luxurious products to nourish your skin and hair. Thokozile has also newly launched an exciting new brand - NILOTIQA is a natural hair care product line that is specially formulated for dry, damaged natural afro hair with a tendency to be brittle and prone to breakage. The product line consists of a deep replenishing co-washing conditioner, deep moisturizing butter, detangling cream and nourishing scalp and hair oil. All the natural products are formulated with high-quality nourishing ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil, castor oil and avocado oil that leave the hair feeling softer, deeply moisturized and much more manageable. All the products keep away from artificial sourcing of ingredients and do not contain petroleum, lanolin, parabens, phthalates, or artificial colors. Read more.
Yolanda Methvin - Founder of LithaFlora - South Africa
Entrepreneur Yolanda Methvin is demonstrating through her LithaFlora African Botanicals company that it is possible to capture the essence of her unique environment in the Cape Floral Kingdom as the source of her environmentally friendly and luxurious wellness products. LithaFlora African Botanicals is a health and wellness, lifestyle brand with a heart, and that heart beats in tune with the indigenous biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom and the Southern Cape. The company creates and produces accessible but luxurious consumable lifestyle products; a “five senses” exploration in indigenous African Botanical health and wellness, which includes Herbal Health Teas, Cold Processed Cleansing bars, and Solar salt pans Bath Salts, derived from the Kalahari Desert, and infused with African essential oils. The products manufactured, marketed and sold are locally sourced, produced, packaged and distributed, winning new fans around the world. Read more.
Suzie Wokabi - Founder of Suzie Beauty Ltd - Kenya
Kenyan entrepreneur, Suzie Wokabi, launched her trailblazing cosmetics brand, Suzie Beauty Ltd. creating a world-class product range that understands the needs of today’s African women who want bespoke make-up products that work perfectly on African women’s skin-tones and produce a stunningly beautiful look. SuzieBeauty is Kenya's first make-up brand and creates and sells products, offers make-up artistry services, as well as training for professional make-up artists. The hallmark of SuzieBeauty products is that they are affordable, great quality, and tailor-made for the unique needs of women living in the African climate. Suzie developed this product line with the African woman in mind. It works perfectly on their skin tones, textures and the colours are amazing! Read more.
Christine Buchanan and Louiza Rademan - Founders of Oh Lief - South Africa
Two entrepreneurial sisters from South Africa with a love of all things natural and organic are capturing the imagination of customers looking for an alternative to the mass produced, chemically formulated skin and body care products on the market. The Oh Lief Natural Products company is developing 100% natural and organic products that are truly world class. The ethos behind the product range is to produce organic natural products, not specifically only using South African or African base products and essential oils, etc. The company brings a product to market that is an organic alternative, with every single ingredient used being certified organic or certified natural. In December last year, the company also launched its natural sun screen, which excitingly is the only natural sun screen available in South Africa which is truly organic and endorsed by the Cancer Association of South Africa. Read more.
Eunice Cofie - Founder of Nuekie - United States
In the highly specialist and competitive world of the health and beauty industry, there is one woman who is successfully combining traditional African medicine with modern science to create world-class products for people of colour. Nuekie is an innovative health and beauty company for people of colour, developing products that are scientifically designed to meet the needs of ethnic populations. Its founder, Eunice Cofie, is a woman entrepreneur harnessing her passion for science to make a difference to people’s lives and, at the same, building a new global health and beauty powerhouse. She realized that the health and beauty industry lacked effective treatment products that took into account the unique needs of ethnic people. This was just the impetus she needed to develop her company, Nuekie, Inc., which is on a mission to provide quality dermatological products for ethnic people (i.e. African/African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, Native American, Pacific Islander). Read more.
Jesslynn Schlam - Founder of Lulu & Marula - South Africa
Frustrated by not being able to find skincare products that ticked all the boxes in terms of health, wellbeing, sustainability and eco-friendly production with a minimal impact on the environment, South African entrepreneur, Jesslynn Schlamm, was inspired to create her own from her small kitchen. Today, her Lulu & Marula skincare range is testimony to that original passion and dedication. She is aiming her products at all those customers who have a fresh approach to skincare and lifestyle and are looking for something a little different. She finds that a lot of people are attracted to her brand initially though the packaging and the product ethos, and the use of local Marula oil throughout the whole range of skincare products. On a personal level, Jesslynn loves it because it is a very universal oil, it is good for all skin types and it is very high in vitamin E and contains a natural preservative, which ultimately all means that the company’s products are 100% natural. Read more.
Zeze Oriaikhi Sao - Founder of Malee Natural Science - South Africa
The story of entrepreneur Zeze Oriaikhi Sao, is one woman’s journey to create a unique, luxury, natural beauty and skincare brand that has a uniquely African story and essence. Malee Natural Science was inspired by her relocation back to Africa after having lived in the UK for about twelve years at the time. She had just moved to South Africa at what was the beginning of a recession in 2009, and no-one was really hiring at the time, and sheneeded something to do. She had always had a passion for lotions and potions, combined with a love of fragrances, and felt like there was nothing in the African space that had a soul, that told a story, and that got people connecting with the continent in an interesting way through such products. So she thought there was a good opportunity to put the two things she loved together into a natural, premium skin, bath and bodycare business, and so Malee Natural Science was born. Read more.
Tanya du Bois - Founder of Naturals Beauty - South Africa
South African entrepreneur, Tanya du Bois’ inspiring story is of a women entrepreneur dedicated to creating natural and organic skincare products for those with highly sensitive skin. Her company Naturals Beauty produces a range of natural skin and body care products for women, teens, babies, kids and men! Her inspiration for the business came from her son’s Autism diagnosis back in 2008 when she became acutely aware of ingredients only after having a child that was so sensitive to toxins. She was alarmed at all the ‘nasties’ that go into commercial body products. Not having a chemistry background, she could only take the range so far, so was delighted in 2009 when she met her wonderful Contract Manufacturer – Louise Botes. Louise came to Naturals Beauty with 12 years’ experience in natural and organic ranges. Her knowledge of botanical extracts and natural preservative systems and organic ingredients has helped to make the company’sproducts highly sophisticated. They work as a team researching, developing and producing new and existing products, with a little lab based in the beautiful Riebeek Valley, and with all the brand labelling and admin done in Cape Town, South Africa. Read more.
Zikhona Tefu - Founder of O’live - South Africa
This Cape Town handmade soap maker harnesses the unique natural qualities of indigenous herbs and plants from the world famous Cape Floral Kingdom to produce world-class skincare products. Talented handmade soap crafter and entrepreneur, Zikhona Tefu, owner of O’live Handmade Soaps, was born into a family of highly creative women in Mdantsane near East London, South Africa, all of whom possessed a unique can-do spirit. Today, this businesswoman, wife and mother of three beautiful children, now lives in Cape Town, and reflects on her upbringing and the creative spirit and natural sense of curiosity which led her to questioning the ingredients in the skincare products she and her family where using. She remembers buying a bar of natural handmade soap at a local health store and reading the ingredients on the back of the packaging. She noticed it was only made with natural oils. When she compared this with the traditional store bought soaps she had been using, she couldn't believe the difference. The store bought soap was full of added chemicals and fillers. She began to wonder if the handmade, all-natural soaps could be made by herself. Harnessing the power of the plant kingdom, every single bar of O'live handmade soap is today made in small batches, using a secret blend of wild-harvested fynbos herbs, locally grown olive oil, and pure essential oils. This is what makes each individual bar of soap skin-loving, moisturizing and conditioning. Each of the ingredients plays a vital role in ensuring that one of these soap bars not only offers hydration and cell regenerating properties, but also helps with eczema, sensitive skin and other skin conditions. Read more.
Sarah Taylor - Bee Balmy - South Africa
A journalist-turned-natural skincare product entrepreneur works with nature to create a range of soothing and healing skin balms, bringing relief for allergy sufferers, under the brand name Bee Balmy. Sarah Taylor lives near the southern tip of Africa in Hermanus and her entrepreneurial journey started as a result of both her own and her husband’s families being prone to allergies. Cortisone and antihistamines were a mainstay of their well-being for decades. About a year ago, Sarah woke up to what the family were using on their skin – mostly mineral oil/petroleum-based, hydrocarbonproducts containing preservatives, such as parabens. While the jury is still out on whether exposure to such synthetic compounds is linked to cancer or endocrine-system disruption, Sarah decided she didn’t want to take the risk and wanted to know what she was putting on her own skin, and that of her children. She started looking into natural, non-toxic alternatives that she could make at home. A friend gave her a basic ‘baby balm’ recipe, which she had made and sold under her Earth Nurse label, and which was based on olive and grape seed oils and beeswax. It was at that point that Sarah’s own personal journey into making natural skincare products began. Since those early days, Sarah has since adapted the balm formula through numerous trials, and now adds sweet almond and jojoba oils to the olive, grape seed and apricot kernel oils, beeswax, and extracted oils of lavender and calendula. The plant- and animal-based ingredients used in her balms,have special properties for the skin and have been used by healers and herbalists for centuries: The cold-pressed olive oil used in Sarah’s wonderful balms is sourced locally from Rio Largo, an award-winning olive farm on the Breede River, Western Cape, owned by another Lioness of Africa, Brenda Wilkinson. The grape seed oil comes from Seed Oils SA in Somerset West. The beeswax used comes from local suppliers in the Overberg, while the lavender and calendula flowers and other oils are bought from certified and reputable South African suppliers. Sarah makes a range of balms and her products have been guided by what she personally likes and needs in a balm, as well as what her customers request. Read more.
Bukky George - HealthPlus Limited and CasaBella International - Nigeria
Bukky George has been described as the ‘queen of retail pharmacy’ in Nigeria based on the steady success of her pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies. This leading pharmacist and CEO of HealthPlus Limited and CasaBella International, has created a one-stop store for grooming and beauty solutions for men and women in Nigeria. Her company HealthPlus is also the fastest growing pharmacy chain in West Africa and already has 31 branches across Nigeria with more branches to already in the pipeline. It has become the Pharmacy of Choice through its provision of high quality healthcare products such as medicines, nutritional supplements, natural remedies, home medical equipment, mobility aids and pharmacy services, by certified and well-informed healthcare professionals, in a friendly and hygienic environment. The company’s uniqueness is underscored by offering an integrative approach for total wellness through the use of both medicines and natural remedies. Bukky is also the first recipient of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Board of Fellows’ Award for Excellence in Community Pharmacy. Read more.
Florence Adepoju - MDMFlow - Nigeria/Britain
Frustration at the lack of lipsticks for darker skin tones, is what led Florence Adepoju, a 24 year old British born Nigerian, to begin production of her own line of lipsticks from her parents’ garden shed in Rainham, Essex, London. She spent four years earning an applied chemistry degree in cosmetics and then set out to make lipsticks in colours she’d always dreamt of for skin tones similar to her own. After being disappointed in shade after shade that could not work well with her skin tone without some sort of mixing or blending, Ms Adepoju launched MDMFlow, handmade, rose-scented lipsticks in shades like juicy orange, emerald green and brilliant blue, all sold in gold-colored aluminum bullet casings.Today, with Lena Dunham and other celebrities as fans, her hip-hop lipstick brand, MDMFlow, boasts a variety of colours, and is stocked at Topshop and the French beauty brand, Colette. Florence says that MDMflow is an accumulation of all her obsessions - the colours black and gold, hip hop, beauty, fashion and science. As a self diagnosed beauty junkie she couldn't find a beauty brand out there that represented her lifestyle and ideals. MDMflow is a post 90s brand influenced by the glamour associated with mid 90s–00s hip hop culture. All MDMflow lipsticks are handmade using the latest colour technology. Now a Scientist with a BSc (Hons) in Cosmetic Science from the London College of Fashion, shedecided upon graduating July 2013 to live out all her dreams and create the cosmetics brand she has always wanted. Read more.
Leslie Okoye - Cookie Skin - Nigeria
When it comes to skin care, Leslie Okoye knows best. She is the founder of a leading skin care company, Cookie Skin, which specializes in helping women of different skin colors get flawless skin. Leslie is on a mission to redefine the meaning of good skin among African women with her skin care brand. She believes that no matter your origin or complexion you can and should have CookieSkin. To make this possible her company has introduced a more holistic method of skincare for women of color to age gracefully. CookieSkin® has created the Dermal Repair line to address the many skin care issues the individual Asian, Bi-Racial, African, African-American, Latina and multi-cultural woman faces in today's ever stressful and busy world. Its aim is to bring highly active skin care formulations to women of color in need of visible results that reveal irresistible flawless skin; always fresh, radiant and youthful - CookieSkin! Read more.
Ego Iwegbu-Daley - Miss Salon London - South Africa
Ego Iwegbu-Daley is the founder of Miss Salon London (South Africa). A serial entrepreneur, Ego is taking the established concept of the nail and beauty experience to a whole new level in the country. Her Miss Salon London concept has created a unique environment (more of a girls club) where music, movies, friends, conversation, a glass of wine, and of course incredibly beautiful nails and essential grooming, all combine in the ultimate pampering experience. Ego is a real mover and shaker in the world of nails and beauty, and her brand is one to watch in Africa. Read more.
Ngozi Opara - Heat Free Hair - Nigeria
Ngozi Opara is the owner of NZO Hair Studio in Washington D.C and the Founder of Heat Free Hair 100% virgin hair extensions designed to perfectly blend with a woman’s natural hair texture or curl pattern. She is revolutionizing the beauty industry with her products. Financial analyst Ngozi Opara ventured into the hair business in 2012 to cater to this “growing market”. Her company manufactures high-quality wefted hair extensions, closures, wigs, and clip-in extensions. These hair extensions are created to blend effortlessly with the different curl patterns and textures of a woman’s natural hair. A decade ago straight hair was a hit and most women of African descent would buy Brazilian weaves. But today there is a movement for natural hair. Although it is still a small market, demand is growing for the natural look. Heat Free Hair was the first company to specialise in creating kinky, curly and coiled textured hair for the different types of natural hair. All manufacturing takes place at the company’s factory in Qingdao, China, then ships to the US for packaging, after which products are shipped to customers across the globe. Leading markets in Africa are South Africa and Nigeria, where customers are career women who can afford to spend $300 on their hair and have a local stylist to help them fit the hair. Ngozi also runs the Heat Free Hair Movement, which expands beyond the company’s product range and focuses on the education of the natural hair community through seminars, instructional videos and events for women who wear natural hair. Read more.
Rahama Wright - Shea Yeleen - Ghana/US
Many people don’t think about where shea butter comes from when they glide their favorite shea product onto their skin or hair, but Rahama Wright thinks about it every day. As founder of Shea Yeleen International, the socially conscious leader has made a business out of her passion for helping female shea butter producers. Growing up in upstate New York, Wright’s Ghanaian heritage influenced her interest in African-related issues. After working and volunteering in West Africa and drawing on her mother’s stories as an immigrant in the United States, Wright committed herself to making the invisible women behind shea butter production visible to the world. With patience and relentless diligence, she has grown her company—which initially started as a non-profit—with Shea Yeleen soaps, lip balms, and body butters now available in over 40 Whole Food stores in the United States. Read more.
Charlyn Kentaro - The Good Hair Collective - Uganda
Founder of The Good Hair Collective, the beauty brand for Afro textured hair producing organic handmade hair & skin care products, Charlyn Kentaro originally started out as a lawyer before going into the world of beauty. She did her Master of Laws, lectured for a bit, then got bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. She was working/studying in Cape Town when she decided to “go natural”, as in she cut her relaxed hair off and embraced her natural curls. When she started to look for products to help manage her hair, she came up short. Everything was packed full of harmful chemicals (liquid paraffin, strong sulphates and the like) and/or imported and really pricey. She mixed her own shea butter with other natural oils on one of her holidays and fell in love! Her family and friends liked what she was making, so she started to do lots of research, trained on it, formed a company and the rest is history! Read more.
Joycee Awojoodu - Oriki Group - Nigeria
Joycee Awojoodu is the founder of a luxury botanically based product line and spa in Lagos, Oriki Group. Oriki is a luxury skincare brand that fuses natural ingredients & scientific research to create extraordinary personal care products. The company creates effective and luxurious beauty and grooming products utilizing raw materials and all natural resources discovered around the world. Botanically based, Oriki use potent plants, organic ingredients and 100% natural essential oils. Oriki is for the sophisticated, health-conscious woman and man who want to look effortlessly sharp with intent and purpose. Oriki is a lifestyle, an attitude, and a way of life. The Oriki philosophy is borne from the notion that natural skin, hair & body products work better simply because they are made with superior ingredients; nature knows best. As a beauty & grooming designer, Oriki’s carefully deliberated array of products, meticulous attention to the scientifically-proven power of nature and the right mix of botanical extracts, vitamins, minerals, peptides and proteins embodies a new form of sophisticated expression in beauty, grooming and lifestyle. Joycee is passionate about creating an African indigenous luxury brand that touches the lives of the women and men who gather the nuts, plants and herbs to produce the raw materials. Her commitment to sourcing the best quality and finest selection of products complements the elegant stance, powerful femininity and bold allure of the Oriki woman and man. Read more.
Banke Meshida-Lawal - BM Pro - Nigeria
BM Pro - a great makeup brand in Nigeria, was founded by a highly recognized makeup artist in Nigeria, Banke Meshida-Lawal. Having been an avid lover of fine art, she took Art lessons as a child. This love had her painting her own face and experimenting with makeup as a freshman in college. Back then at the University of Lagos, she remembers accosting total strangers to ask if she could trim their eyebrows or try out eyeshadow colours on them. They always obliged and some of them became fast friends!. She became known as the go-to-person for makeovers whenever there were sorority parties or rave nights back then. As the bookings continued to increase and as she left college it was only the next step to take - her company BM Pro was born. Her first studio opened and in 2005, she decided to create her own line of cosmetics because she wasn’t quite satisfied with the international brands' finish. BM Pro Makeup launched with 14 items. It sold out within weeks and expansion soon followed. Today, BM Pro Makeup has 65 products in the Nigerian market as well as distributors all over Nigeria, the UK, USA, Ghana and Canada. The BM Pro team comprises of passionate, driven Makeup Artists, Gele Artists, Hairstylists, Nail Technicians, SkinCare and Waxing experts, and Beauty School Tutors. The company continues to create amazing looks for The Runway (mbgn, miss nigeria, tiffany amber, house of marie, odio mimonet) Bridal (over 10,000 brides and counting) Editorial cover pages and fashion magazines (this day, WOW, genevieve, the sun, city people, vanguard, punch, MANIA ) and especially the regular woman who wants to look extremely beautiful. BM Pro has won many accolades based on Banke’s work as a makeup artist. BM Pro has recently relocated to its new ultra-modern flagship store in dolphin estate ikoyi, which houses a spa, nail room, hair salon, photography studio as well as the makeup studio. Read more.
Leonette Galliano - Wema Bodycare - South Africa
Leonette Galliano left a successful corporate career to launch her business, making luxurious handcrafted, small batch body butters, cold processed soaps, body oils and candles under the brand Wema Bodycare in South Africa. Wema Cosmetics uses only natural ingredients that provide life and something positive to the skin. The company avoids the inactive ingredients (mineral oils, silicones) and those whose toxicity is not well known in the short or long term (parabens, ethoxylates). Wema Cosmetics does not create new requirements for the skin and limits the number of products to use to keep skin beautiful and healthy. Wema Cosmetics products are formulated without ingredients derived from synthetic chemistry or petro chemistry and use active ingredients that have undergone the least possible transformations. Wema Cosmetics reminds us of the authenticity of plants and minerals that are beneficial to our skin and our mindset. The products are made using carefully selected, high quality vegetable oils and butters sourced all over Africa including indigenous ones from Baobab, Mafura, Marula or Mongogo, all known for their fantastic moisturising and anti-oxidant qualities. Whenever possible the raw ingredients are procured from organic and/or responsibly produced crops directly from producers selected for their involvement in their community that are sourced in Southern Africa and in neighbouring countries. Read more.
Linda Gieskes Mwamba - Suki Suki Naturals - South Africa
Linda Gieskes Mwamba is the founder of Suki Suki Naturals, an Indie, Natural, and African Hair Care Brand. Linda is passionate about the healing and restorative powers of natural and essential oils, and prides herself on combining thebest ingredients that mother nature has to offer in order to achieve optimum hair growth and health, whilst celebrating Africa’s unique heritage and plant life. All the products are 100% natural and completely free of artificial ingredients such as mineral oil, preservatives, parabens, artificial fragrances, sulphates and animal ingredients. Suki Suki’s philosophy is to teach women how to take better care of their hair and providing them with the right tools and information to do so whilst using natural ingredients to make better and healthier products. Suki Suki Naturals was the first natural African hair care brand to be invited to exhibit at the prestigious Sanlam Contemporary Handmade Fair heldin Johannesburg in 2015. Read more.