By the year 2025, I foresee cosmetics possibly becoming the nation’s fourth major foreign exchange earner, after oil and gas, agriculture and solid minerals. This is because there are abundant local raw materials and chemical additives available on our shores, which could be harnessed for the manufacture of world-class cosmetic products.

What is just necessary to make the local cosmetic products compete favourably with their foreign counterparts is to improve the technology used for their production, replace the imported raw materials with local ones so as to make them affordable, and thereafter target the black and diaspora population in the foreign markets abroad. Similar to what happened to the textile industry before it collapsed in the nineteen-eighties, well-managed local cosmetic industries can rule the world in future.  

Cosmetic products include body cream, hair cream, lotion, relaxer, hair conditioner, shampoo, setting ointment, etc. The commonest cosmetic products are obviously body cream and lotion because the body in any circumstance must be nourished first, being the most exposed. 

Hair products almost command the same level of patronage from numerous consumers because hair is an essential part of the body. The conventional hair cream makes hair glossy, soft, neat and manageable.  Hair pomade, consisting mainly of oils, is used to dress the hair after treatment. Depending on the choice of the consumer, the addition of petroleum jelly makes the hair oil semi-solid, pasty and sticky.  

Hair treatment conditioners are used to recondition the hair after chemical treatment like perming or curling.  Hair medicines, anti-dandruff and itching-control creams usually contain antiseptic agents for this purpose.

Currently, about 60percent of the raw materials used in Nigeria’s cosmetic industry are imported at very high prices. There is no sensible rationale for this situation, as local raw materials have proven to be healthier and more natural than their imported equivalents.  Some of the imported raw materials used for body cream production are stearic acid, boric acid, paraffin oil, deodorizer, menthol, jelly preservative, perfume and colourants.  

On the other hand, the local Shea Butter and Palm Kernel Oil are two of West Africa’s most enduring beauty secrets that constitute a perfect blend for both the manufacture of hair treatment and body ointment/ balm/ liniment. These natural ingredients contain antioxidants and Vitamins A, E and F that hydrate, soften, condition and moisturize the skin and hair. They also moisturize the scalp and help to reverse hair loss. This chemical-free product is the perfect combination to strengthen and add sheen and lustre to the natural hair and skin also, adding a luxurious feel. It can be even used by anyone regardless of age or gender. 

Palm kernel oil is so rich in anti-oxidants; and in vitamins A, E, and K making it true germ-treatment oil for the hair and skin. It is the hair-growth oil for black, kinky, coily, curly, natural hair, with the ferocity to penetrate the hair shaft, repairing and locking moisture deep within the hair. It makes the natural hair thicker and stronger. For someone suffering from thinning natural hair, Palm kernel oil is a very effective treatment oil option. It strengthens the hair from roots to tips and reduces excessive shedding. It also helps to fight dandruff and an itchy and dry scalp; gives quick relief to the itchy scalp and gradually clears dandruff by conditioning the scalp and keeping it healthy and bacteria-free.

Similarly, Coconut Oil is another local raw material that requires just little addition of perfume to make it compete with any foreign variety of body and hair oil. With the greatest ease, coconut hair oil can be developed into pomade, hair treatment, conditioner, hair medicines, hair food and general-purpose hair cream.  

Perfumed coconut hair oil if carefully processed could only be comparable to the imported brand equivalents of GINSENG WONDER 8 oil or TEN-OSIX or ULRIC De VARENS, which are perhaps the market leaders in that product group.  With attractive shine and peculiarly sweet fragrance, coconut hair oil nourishes, lubricates, dresses and conditions the hair.

Individuals especially women, hairdressers, cosmetic retailers, distributors, and wholesalers constitute a veritable market for this product.  Coconut oil truly has a potentially large export market.  In fact, a fairly large chunk of the nation’s scarce foreign exchange is frittered away regularly on massive importation of hair oil and other cosmetic products, notably from France when the reverse would have been the case.  

Coconut thrives abundantly along the length and breadth of the west coast of Africa. So it is difficult to understand why this treasure would be allowed to waste without being utilized commercially, especially in the face of the prevalent scarcity of foreign exchange. The initiative by the present Akwa-Ibom State government to develop commercial coconut farms is indeed a conscious futuristic step in the right direction, which directly connects to the idea of this very venture.

Machinery and Equipment required for body cream production include mixer /homogenizer, heating vessels, stirrer, plastic cups, and storage tanks. Using the oil phase production technology, whether on a large scale or small scale, the process flow is basically the same. The key steps involved are:

  • Measuring all the various ingredients and pouring them inside a vessel, then heating them until they are melted.
  • Turning and stirring with a stirrer.
  • Adding colour and pouring perfume at a temperature below 50oC.
  • Bottling, using a kettle to fill the molten liquid into plastic containers.

For the production of hair cream or conditioner, the process flow is also very simple and involves: crushing of the raw materials, heating, filtering, mixing, cooling, finishing, filling, and packaging.  Machinery and equipment such as grinder, boiler, chiller, and packaging materials could be hundred percent locally sourced and may be designed to operate automatically or manually.  Blending with oil-soluble performers and colouring matter will bring the product up to a very high-quality standard as desired.

Meanwhile, the cost estimates of combined Machinery and Equipment for the small-scale production of Shea Butter/ Palm Kernel Oil, Body Cream and Coconut Hair Oil may be presented as follows:

Cost Items N
Preliminary Expenses 250,000
Fixed Assets 1.950,000
Working Capital 2,130,000
Total Investment Outlay 4,330,000


Anyone wishing to set up this wonderful business should feel free to contact the author for assistance.


Add Your Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *