African scientists are leading the next wave of innovation and research on black skin and hair
Ciku Kimeria October 17, 2019
For decades, the innovation and formal research on products for black skin and hair was limited on the global stage as beauty brands multinationals focused their research on caucasian skin with only slight modifications to products for potential customers with darker skin.
But in recent years, there has been a sharp rise in African beauty brands or African diaspora niche brands that have organically built a customer base providing products made for those with black skin and hair. With Africa’s beauty and personal care market estimated at $11 billion in 2017, the continent is being seen as a major growth frontier for majors including L’Oréal and Unilever pursuing increasing activity in the region.
In 2013, L’Oréal acquired the Kenyan company behind Nice & Lovely, a well-known mass-market skin and hair brand, for an estimated $17.6 million. The next year, L’Oréal bought Carol’s Daughter, a business that was started by Lisa Price in her Brooklyn, New York kitchen in 1993, but was valued at $27 million at the time of acquisition. A few years later in 2017, Liberian-born Richelieu Dennis, the founder of one of the best known black skin & hair brands, Shea Moisture, sold his New York-based company Sundial Brands to Unilever. At the time of sale his company was estimated at a whopping $240 million.
While acquisitions of brands serving black people in and outside of the continent is part of the growth strategy for global players, the other key pillar is research and innovation. This month, L’Oréal awarded three leading African scientists its African Hair & Skin Research grant award. The three research areas—post-acne hyperpigmentation in Dakar, the impact of air pollution on human skin in Nairobi and the prevalence and types of hair loss in Lagos are extremely relevant themes in deepening the understanding of unique challenges faced by black people when it comes to skin and hair.
Lire l’article original sur Quartz Africa