Style

6 Independent African Beauty Brands That Will Make You Feel Fabulous

In the first of our holiday gift guides we take a look at these independent African beauty products.

This is the first of our gift guides in the run-up to the holidays. Keep checking for more lists of great African products here. And for more ideas check out the Okayafrica Shop


A number of entrepreneurs are leading Africa’s burgeoning beauty industry from Kenya to Nigeria, Senegal to South Africa, and in many cities in between. Though the business is attracting larger, international players, like L’Oreal, there are plenty of newer brands looking to break the traditional beauty mold, and are doing a great job of it.

If you’re wondering how you can do it up for the holidays or what to get a friend or special someone as a gift, these 5 brands are independent African makers who are creating some amazing products.

1. True Moringa

Started by Kwami Williams and Emily Cunningham, a rocket science and an economics major, respectively, in collaboration with MIT’s D-Lab in Ghana, True Moringa works with small farming families to harvest seeds from Moringa Oleifera trees. The seed’s oil is then used to create cosmetic products for a variety of uses, such as this paraben and sulfate-free hair treatment oil, suitable for all hair types. Basically, it won’t look like you just doused yourself with a bottle of L.A. Looks.

Get True Moringa on Amazon here

More on the Okayafrica Shop

2. African Naturalistas

Nigerian entrepreneur Atilola Moronfolu's African Naturalistas Leave-In Conditioner is excellent for applying to a dry scalp after a long day at the beach, or you know, just because you like you hair silky smooth. With a combination of olive, jojoba, and coconut oils, aloe vera, and sulfate-free goodness, what could be better?

Buy African Naturalistas on Jumia here

More on the Okayafrica Shop

3. Elsaspro

For those who prefer a little color on their lips, Abuja, Nigeria’s Elsaspro, started by Amaka Okeke, has a selection of sticks suited for all skin types and colors. If you’re not into the 2016 fall goth-inspired lip trend, try Elsaspro’s Berry 03 Matte Lipstick, which is dark enough to feel like you tried, but still bright enough to go with all of your favorite clothes.

Get Elsaspro Lipstick from their website here

More on the Okayafrica Shop

 

4. Tiossan

Hailing from Dakar, the serial entrepreneur Magatte Wade, named one of “20 Youngest Power Women in Africa” by Forbes in 2013, has developed her own line of only-natural-ingredients skincare and lifestyle products, Tiossan. If you're suffering from poor sleeping habits, try the Beauty Sleep Pillow Mist with lavender and orange flower oils to calm you down. Need a nice gift? Tiossan’s Femme Parfum, with notes of ylang-ylang, rose, white musk, jasmine, and amber, among other considered scents, will surely be appreciated.

Get Tiossan Products at their website, here

More on the Okayafrica Shop

5. Liha

The U.K.-based, Nigerian cool-girl team Liha Okunniwa and Abi Oyepitan recently launched the 100-percent vegan line, Liha, and debuted their first few products, including the instant hit of raw Shea Butter, made from ethically sourced Ghanaian and Nigerian Shea tree nuts. Over the past few months, the brand has expanded into more than five countries and a number of stockists. Feeling a little gritty? Wipe off those dry, dead skin cells with Liha’s Ose Gidi African black soap, that also uses Shea butter, Moringa, as well as African Palmarosa.

Get Liha Products at their website, here

More on the Okayafrica Shop

6. Malée

Malée, named after founder Zeze Oriaikhi-Sao’s great grandmother, is a South African luxury body care line with products like the Conditioning Body Scrub that uses the scents of citrus, mint and patchouli to give the user the sensation of standing inside of a tropical forest. You’ll also find mango and shea seed oils, as well as salt and sugar crystals, to ensure the scrub does double duty.

Get Malée Products at their website, here

More on the Okayafrica Shop

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Interview: JAE5 Is Crafting London's Distinct Diasporic Sound

We talk to the buzzing producer about his Grammy win alongside Burna Boy, his work with J Hus and the ever-looming influence of Ghana.