How To Start A Cosmetic Business In South Africa (2023)

It seems that people everywhere are becoming more and more aware of their looks than ever before. They want better eyebrows, more attractive smiles, lighter skin tone, and so on. As more and more people continue to demand beauty products, that makes the cosmetic industry more profitable, and more open to competition. Not just is this industry growing at a rapid pace, there is far more demand than available supply, and more opportunities abound for new ideas to come into the market and gain their own market share. So, how to start a cosmetic business In South Africa?

The great thing with the cosmetics industry is that as soon as you have become a favorite brand of some people, they will start advertising your brand by themselves. There is also a great deal of customer loyalty in the cosmetic industry: many people are afraid that if they change their cosmetic products, they will suffer scarring and other skin reactions.

So how does one get into cosmetics, in order to participate in this multi-billion Rand industry? In this post, I outline the steps that one needs to take in order to start a cosmetic business in South Africa, and we also provide a few tips on how to grow your cosmetic business from a one-man-band to a company that will add value to South Africans and people outside the country as well. 

How To Start A Cosmetic Business In South Africa

Product Development

Of course, you must have a product in mind that you want to bring into the market. That is how most cosmetic companies come into existence these days. It all starts with an idea that turns into a product. When you have developed your product, you know what it does, and you are certain that it has benefits that people are going to want, then there are a few other steps that you need to take before selling it in South Africa.

Market Research

A cosmetic business needs a lot of market research. Since you already have your product, you need to do some research into who the target audience for the product is going to be. How you will package the product and also the pricing that is going to be appealing to your target.

Your target audience or demographic could be men and women, or women in their early teens and twenties, or women in their thirties and forties, and so on. Some products appeal to dark-skinned people, others are good for general use, and some others are good for very light-skinned people. Your demographic will determine how you will market the product, the cost of the product, as well as other things. 


The cosmetic industry is interesting you may be surprised to discover exactly how important Branding is. Many people will buy a product because the design and packaging appeal to them; some will buy a product because of the beautiful woman on the packaging or labeling- they want to look like that. Therefore, this is probably where you need to pour in most of your financial resources; you want to create a brand identity that will outdo all your competitors.

Get a good graphic designer- there are branding experts for every kind of budget, and make sure he creates something that is not just attractive to the eyes, but that also makes one want to buy the product. 

Please send the money to a professional who will create something exceptional; nobody is going to buy the product if it’s not attractively designed and packaged- no matter how good it is. 

Operating Premises

You need a decent place to serve as your operating premises to run a cosmetic business. This means having a place that is isolated, at least to some extent. You also need a place that gives you enough storage space for both raw materials and finished products, as well as a production area. 

Your production area must be a controlled environment, not prone to outside influence such as weather, dust, or any other thing.

You also need a parking area for distribution vehicles.


Then of course you need to register your business with the CIPC. That is a straightforward process, you can even call up your bank to get started. It only costs R175 to register it as a private company Pty. 

Then you have to join the Cosmetic Toiletry & Fragrance Association of South Africa (CTFA). This body constantly monitors international regulatory developments and updates members on the Regulatory Control of cosmetics.

 The CTFA liaises with The Department of Health (DoH) and also the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), as well as the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on Bioprospecting, chemical management, waste management, and other aspects of cosmetics making.


Production is all about making your wonder product in commercial quantities. Of course, you must keep in mind that maintaining the quality of your product is of optimum concern; the day you let quality slip is the day you kill your business. 

The cosmetic industry is such that rumours of bad quality can spread faster than word-of-mouth marketing. Negative reviews can make people run far away from a product, and they are unlikely to return afterward.

Marketing your cosmetic business

Marketing is why you need to spend money on branding. When you have a great brand then you need to put that brand in front of as many eyes as possible. Therefore you need to advertise in newspapers and magazines. There is no going around this one; especially if your cosmetic product is designed for women.

Then you can use billboards to get eyes on your product as much as possible. You can even make posters and banners, and then have them put up in malls and such public places where you know that people are going to make purchases.

Then you can do some adverts on television. This is a major way to reach the cosmetics market in South Africa. Marketing is a big factor in whether your business becomes successful or not. 

You will need to have a website so that you can do online marketing. When you have a website, you can display the full range of your products. Plus you can advertise on websites like Facebook, Twitter, and google. 

You can even have your website designed to sell products directly to customers. For a new company that may be a big investment, but then you can have your website allow customers to place orders on you’re your website, and then make payments on delivery. You can call the customer immediately so as to confirm their readiness to receive the product.


Malls, convenience stores, and supermarkets are your best friends when it comes to selling cosmetics. You have to make them your sales partners so as to get them to sell your products to their customers. The truth is; you are not the only business doing that, and so you will have to make them a good deal.

As long as you have invested in viable marketing strategies then you should be able to make good sales. The cosmetic market in South Africa is big enough for everyone, and if you can market your product you can sell it.



I answered the question, How To start a cosmetic business In South Africa of which I ‘q with the supposition that you already have a product or an idea that you have developed, or you have come close to developing. If so these steps highlighted in this article can help you turn your idea into a product lining the shelves of supermarkets, and the bathrooms of customers. One must remember that in the cosmetics business, your packaging and marketing efforts are perhaps the most important factors that will determine whether your cosmetics business will be successful or not. Therefore, you will have to put in your best there. Also considering the cost involved, it may be a good idea to find a partner with whom you can bear the cost.