The South African cosmetics sector is one of the biggest personal care markets on the African continent, employing about 50 000 people and contributing around R25 billion at the retail level and more than R5 billion at the  manufacturing level. The industry is a mix of multinational giants, entrepreneurial companies, and small, medium and large local brands.

Value proposition

Local demand for cosmetics is strong, and government supports import replacement in the sector. The global and local shift towards “organic” or natural cosmetics together with the availability of a range of natural raw materials also presents new avenues for investment.


The growth in products that cater for the specific needs of the male market have been identified as an area of great opportunity for the local cosmetics and toiletries industry.

Opportunities also exist in the shift towards cosmetics produced from natural ingredients, both globally and locally. This includes skin care; natural, organic, environmentally friendly products that do not do any animal testing or contain any animal products; products that focus on “wellness”; black hair care products (with no hair damage); and raw materials production. The South African Natural Ingredients Export Strategy encourages production of ingredients that comply with international market requirements in the production of “organic” or natural cosmetics products in a business-enabling environment.

Natural ingredients produced in South Africa currently include the following indigenous species: Aloe ferox, buchu, marula, baobab, honey bush, rooibos, and devil’s claw.

The Department of Trade and Industry’s cosmetics sector desk is also working with Proudly South Africa to promote locally produced cosmetics and personal care products. The focus of this intervention will be to promote locally by forming strategic partnerships with the tourism industry and private sector.