BeautyFeatures

10 Nigerian Women Redefining West Africa’s Beauty Industry

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In West Africa’s dynamic world of beauty and wellness, a few women are at the forefront, redefining industry standards and inspiring everyone to embrace their unique beauty. Through their work on products created by and for people of colour on skincare, hair, nails and makeup, these brand founders are bringing much-needed diversity to the beauty industry. Individually, they have, through their ability to recognise consumers’ needs, market trends and technological advancement, collectively changed the face of the cosmetics industry by their labels, products and innovations. Meet them.

 

Beatrice Obinna Eneh

The CEO/Founder of Nectar Beauty Hub, Apples and Oranges Total Body Therapy, Ricks and Clare Solutions, and Nectar Beauty Academy, Beatrice Obinna Eneh is a force to be reckoned with in both the beauty industry and the world of business. The serial entrepreneur has almost two decades of experience working with multinationals across multiple industries, and has been a critical contributor to the growth of the Nigerian beauty industry.

Nectar Beauty Hub, for instance, is rated one of the biggest beauty wholesale and retail hub for the purchase of beauty and skincare products and equipment in both Nigeria and West Africa at large. The online store, which also boasts of numerous walk-in stores scattered across Nigeria, stocks a wide range of products including skincare for men and women, beauty equipment, nail care, electrical products, hair care and makeup; and is also official distributor for most of the brands stocked. This includes international brands such as CosrxTiamLaroche Posay, Cerave, Nubiance, TouchAxis-YKlairs, Medix, Some By MiMissha, Isntree and Somma (a Chicago-manufactured global brand in which she has a majority shareholding).

Her passion for the beauty industry and expertise in distribution and supply chain optimisation, in particular, has made her the preferred partner for multiple international brands such as the aforementioned. Eneh leverages this opportunity to ensure that training and technical skills from multinational beauty brands are transferred to beauty professionals and entrepreneurs across the continent.

More recently, she championed the Go-to-Market strategy for the launch of the L’Oréal Active Cosmetics Division in Nigeria for its Cerave and Laroche Posay brands. She also founded Africa’s Nail Art Competition and has collectively awarded grants exceeding 20 million Naira in value.

She holds an MBA from Lancaster University Management School (UK), and is a member of several prestigious institutions and organisations.

 

Ifedayo Agoro

A former oil and gas executive, Ifedayo Agoro, Founder of Diary of a Naija Girl (aka DANG)— an online forum empowering women in Nigeria though the transformative power of storytelling, is gradually changing the beauty game for people of colour. Agoro, who started the DANG Lifestyle skincare range of products shortly after delving into entrepreneurship with the launch of her scented candles in 2020, is a lover of healthy, glowing skincare and promotes this agenda through her brand. Thanks to the DANG community, a lifestyle movement with thousands of faithfuls, the Dang Lifestyle skincare brand is fast becoming a go-to for melanin-rich skin people seeking healthy, glowing skin.

 

Tara Durotoye

Beauty entrepreneur and lawyer, Tara Fela-Durotoye, is a pioneer in the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria. About three decades ago, the lawyer and entrepreneur sparked a revolution that reverberated across Nigeria, when she created a range of interesting makeup and skincare lines aimed at women of colour, and set up Nigeria’s first make-up school.

She is the Founder/CEO of House of Tara International and Creator of the Tara Orekelewa Beauty range, Inspired Perfume and the H.I.P Beauty range.

 

Olabanke Meshida Lawal

Olabanke Meshida Lawal is the Founder/CEO of BMPro Makeup Group, a thriving make-up and cosmetology firm in Nigeria. Banke began taking Fine Arts classes in high school and by the time she was accepted by the University of Lagos, she had already begun practicing work as a makeup artist for friends and acquaintances. The BM Pro Makeup brand was officially launched after her graduation from the university while her cosmetics line, BM Pro, was born a few years after.

 

 

Omolola Faleye

Omolola Faleye is a seasoned beauty and events entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in various industries.

As the Founder of West Africa’s premier beauty tradeshow, The MakeUp Fair Series (TMUFS), Faleye has revolutionised Nigeria’s beauty industry by providing a dynamic platform where enthusiasts, professionals and entrepreneurs converge, fostering connections, enhancing exposure, increasing sales and exploring the latest trends, products and services in the industry.

Faleye’s entrepreneurial journey began when she resigned from her IT/ICT Project Management position to become the brand representative for Sleek, an international makeup brand. Her exceptional dedication and performance earned her recognition as the Best PR Distributor for Nigeria in 2008 and she went on to become the Managing Partner for Sleek Franchise Abuja in 2009.

 

Ameera Abraham

Ameera Abraham is the CEO & Spa Director of The Nail Bar, a luxury nail spa and wellness centre, as well as Founder of Nigeria’s premier professional nail care brand, Amali Cosmetics.

Abraham started Nail Bar due to her eagerness to start a spa that would bring a professional and unique nail spa experience to Abuja. Amali Cosmetics, on the other hand, was born as a tool for education particularly for fellow nail technicians. The qualified beauty therapist who holds a BA in Politics and International Relations, and a CIBTAC Diploma in Spa Management, has won many awards for her courageous contribution to the beauty industry in Nigeria and West Africa in general.

 

Ezinne Alfa

Ezinne Alfa is a renowned beauty influencer and the creative force behind ‘Beauty in Lagos’, one of the leading go-to beauty websites in Nigeria; a site which has extended to the whole of Africa. She has made a significant impact in the beauty industry by sharing her expertise and passion for makeup, skincare, beauty digital directory and all things beauty-related. With her engaging content and expert tips, Alfa has amassed a dedicated following, inspiring beauty enthusiasts across the globe. Her platform, ‘Beauty in Lagos’, has become a go-to destination for beauty lovers seeking insightful reviews, tutorials, and the latest trends.

 

Kehinde and Taiwo Smith

 

Kehinde Smith, and her sister Taiwo Smith, are two hardworking sisters who have taken the Virgin Hair and Hair Extensions business by storm in the United States and now Nigeria. The duo are Founders of the international brand ‘My Extensionz’, a Virgin hair company, and ‘MyLash Extensionz’, which retails beautiful mink lashes. My Extensionz particularly provides tailored wigs, hair extensions, luxury clip-in hair extensions, silk/lace top closures and styling tools for beauty lovers. The brand has, over the years, become a leading retailer of unique and versatile virgin hair products.

 

 

Adefunke Adefule

A former telecommunications executive turned hair stylist, Adefunke Adefule is the genius behind Hair by Adefunkee; a celebrated hair company changing the hair game for A-list personalities and beauty enthusiasts in Nigeria. The celebrity hair stylist has made the hair of celebrities including Mo Abudu, Funke Akindele, Sharon Ooja, Ayra Starr, Veekee James, Bisola Aiyeola, Idia Aisien, Dorothy Bancor, Lilian Afegbai, and Tomike Adeoye, among others.

She has clinched several awards and recognition for her hairstyling prowess and has, over the years, become the go-to for striking hairdos for notable Nigerians and celebrities.

 

 

Bimpe Onakoya

An icon in the global makeup industry, Bimpe Onakoya has been breaking grounds both in Nigeria and on the global beauty scene with her makeup artistry prowess. She is a dynamic and creative Makeup Artist with over two decades of industry experience spanning television, print, editorial shoots, advertising campaigns, bridal beauty, fashion shows and events; all for which she is renowned for creating exquisite looks. Onakoya has become synonymous with excellence and innovation, and for that, has consistently remained in high demand internationally.

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