Are organic skincare products good for the economy?

by MMC
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In northeastern Ghana, pregnant women sit on hot water and shea butter to ease labor pains and protect their newborn’s skin. In Gambia, shea butter is applied to babies’ umbilical stumps to prevent infections and reduce mortality rates. The fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents found in natural butter are thought to nourish and protect the skin, a practice that dates back to Cleopatra in ancient Egypt. Early accounts speak of large caravans carrying clay pots filled with shea butter for personal use. Today, African women still use shea butter to moisturize their skin and prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.

Over the years, the demand for organic beauty products in Africa has grown rapidly as more consumers become aware of the benefits of using natural and organic products for their skin and hair. Today the world walk The value of shea butter is approximately $10 billion, with projected growth of over $30 billion by 2030. These products have proven to be an invaluable versatile resource for beauty and a myriad of other applications. Additionally, organic products are highly sustainable. Black soap, which is a staple product in different parts of Africa, is a sustainable product that does not harm the ecosystem or create waste. It is a West African artisanal soap made from plantain leaves, cocoa pods, shea butter, palm kernel oil and coconut oil. THE the ingredients are burned to ashes, which gives the soap its dark color and rich lather.

Some people then infuse herbs into these natural skin and hair care products, following unique recipes passed down through generations. A common belief is that the more natural a product is, the more effective it is. Ayomi, a natural skincare specialist and organic brand owner, said watching her grandmother build a successful herb trading business in the north of the country had a significant influence on her founding from an organic skincare brand. “The herbs my grandmother sold were very effective in treating sugar-related infections and illnesses, which is an unpopular reputation among northerners,” Ayomi said. When she launched her organic brand in 2015, she maintained this value, using strictly plant-based ingredients and sometimes infusing herbs into her products, particularly in her hair care products.

Ghanaian women mixing shea butter commercially.

Part of the economic impact of organic products is obvious: job creation. Today, in different parts of Africa, women earn income by selling organic products in local markets or online platforms. In Burkina Faso, locally made shea butter is sometimes called “women’s gold”. Shea nuts are the exclusive property of women in Burkina Faso. They collect them and transform them into shea butter. This allows them to earn money and provide for their families, especially in rural areas where other sources of income are rare or inaccessible. Many women have formed cooperatives or associations to produce and sell shea butter, both locally and internationally. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development describes organic agriculture as “not only a source of safer and healthier products; it is also a profitable source of income for rural communities in Africa. It is an effective tool for achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Beauty and personal care constitute a significant market in Africa. The continent has the fastest growing population in the world, and is expected to double to 2.4 billion in 2050. This means more potential consumers for the beauty industry, especially in urban areas where people have higher disposable income and are exposed to digital trends. In Nigeria, retail sales of beauty and personal care products have reached their highest level in at least 15 years, despite the country’s growing economic woes. Mordor Intelligence estimates that the size of the African cosmetics market will grow from $3.55 billion in 2023 to $4.95 billion by 2028, with a CAGR of 6.86 percent. Behind these numbers lies a segment of consumers who aspire and prefer more quality, safety and sustainability from their beauty products.

Organic beauty products go beyond traditional formulas, often resulting from innovative experiments with various ingredients, textures, scents and colors. Unfortunately, this experimentation opens the door to potentially harmful combinations, creating opportunities for unprofessionalism and greed in the marketplace. A report by the World Health Organization shows that substandard and counterfeit makeup products pose a significant threat to public health, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

This trend is attributed to the influence of unrealistic beauty standards set by the mainstream industry. Ayomi notes that darker-skinned consumers often aspire to achieve the skin tones of celebrities like Kim Kardashian or Beyoncé. “I’ve had to turn away customers because my products didn’t match their vision. ” A joint study by the Center for Health and Social Sciences at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in India and the Center for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England, predicts that the skin lightening industry for skin will reach a staggering value of $31 billion by 2024.

Nigerian company Jenny’s Glow, known for its skincare and beauty products, has recently stood out in the indigenous organic brand scene. The brand claims to solve various skin problems such as blemishes, dark spots, uneven skin tone, wrinkles and dryness. Jenny’s Glow is also known for leveraging influencers and celebrities to endorse its products. Earlier this month, a social commentator launched a week-long call-out campaign about organic brands. Jenny’s Glow and organic men’s grooming brand Okunrin were the point of contact. This wasn’t the first time Jenny’s outburst received backlash. Several coherent mini-calls on social media had taken place weeks before. One user claimed a product burned her skin. Another had an unpleasant skin reaction to the brand’s facial cleanser.

Each organic skincare product follows a recipe. Some recipes use essential oils, lemon juice, baking soda and apple cider vinegar. However, these ingredients have a high risk of being adulterated. “Several times I had to make my own castor oil. Because the one sold in the market is compromised,” said Ayomi. Other organic products contain whitening ingredients, steroids and high concentrations of hydroquinone which can cause irreversible skin damage. such as skin irritation, infection, burns and cancer. In April, a video of an organic cream seller mixing packaged yogurt and unrecognizable ingredients went viral on TikTok, sparking concerns about the production process of organic skin and hair care products.

Some people have developed a fear of organic skincare products, while others have little or no knowledge of their expected value. “Except for long-time loyal customers, only a few people currently enjoy 100% organic skincare products,” Ayomi said. “I don’t blame consumers,” said Oluwakemi Onipede, an organic skin care therapist. “Many skin care sellers have spoiled the name of natural organic products in an attempt to make fast-acting products and whitening products. That’s why I made sure to get my certification. So people don’t think I woke up one morning to mix things without any proper knowledge,” she added.

Skin care specialists who focus on repairing the skin end up cashing out. Concerned consumers are desperate for solutions to restore the health and appearance of their skin and are therefore willing to pay a premium for products that claim to do so. Market study carried out by Euromonitor shows that skin care products that provide restorative and protective benefits, such as anti-aging, anti-pollution and sunscreen products, are expected to perform well in the future.

Organic skincare products are much more than just beauty products. They are a reflection of the rich and diverse beauty culture of Africa and its people. They are also a source of economic opportunity, social empowerment and environmental sustainability. However, infiltration and lack of transparent regulation could have a lasting effect on the evolution of organic products in Africa.

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