The Tanzanian Beauty Industry Landscape 2013

Beauty 1

The beauty industry in Tanzania is split into a variety of different products and segments. This report will focus on observations about the Dar-es-Salaam market which is the largest in the country as the city is key for economic development in Tanzania.


Cosmetics and general beauty products can be purchased around the city but key locations to purchase beauty products include:

  • Kariakoo
  • Mwenge
  • Mlimani City
  • Msasani


There are many retailers from kiosk retailers who sell vipodozi (cosmetics) in street shops to larger box retailers that have glossy stores and marketing materials. Here are some of the key retailers of beauty products in Tanzania – if I have forgotten some, please let me know:

  • Shear Illusions – this company sells many beauty products definitely priced for the middle-class Tanzanian female consumers who might be married or in a relationship, working a fulltime job. Their products include false eyelashes, lipsticks and hair care products. This company sells on the more expensive end of the market.
  • Atsoko – this company seems to me to be trying to compete with Shear Illusions as it also sells more expensive beauty products for the market.

Markets are a rich source of cosmetics for many women in Dar-es-Salaam and Mwenge’s markets are good examples of cosmetics for the cheaper end. On this end, you will find many people hawking beauty products made in China which are sold for dirt-cheap prices. I picked up a strawberry jelly lip balm here once for 500 shillings – yes 500 shillings.

In terms of brands, this is where I am stuck to find any real local brands that are operating on a large scale though I am sure they are there. One brand Kidoti is producing branded hair extensions and wigs under the DARLING Tanzania umbrella but since this is a part of DARLING, I’m not sure if that counts as it being a totally local brand.

Types of products being sold

  • Hair extensions
  • Weaves
  • Lipsticks and lip balms
  • Nail Varnish
  • Natural hair products & services

A large service industry has grown from the arrival of many of these beauty products – around Dar, there are many small beauty shops that do manicures, pedicures and hair naturally. In my view, there are far too many beauty shops which is why this is probably not a good avenue to make a lot of money but it can provide a decent living which is always the aim.

Natural hair is also making an impact albeit a small one – there is one beauty shop that stands out which is Asili located in Mikocheni. This is a salon that is purely focused on natural hair styles for its customers and its prime location proves that natural hair is definitely growing in popularity with Tanzanian women.


The Tanzanian beauty industry has different groups that control its supply chain. The country imports many beauty products but there are signs that the country could sustain local brands from many ranges from the nail varnishes women paint on themselves to the lip balms we need to withstand the Tanzanian sun.

What opportunities exist for entrepreneurs and beauty owners?

I think the key to succeeding would be looking beyond simply opening a beauty salon. The true star power is starting local brands that appeal to different markets in Dar-es-Salaam. Ideas that I think would work include:

  • Independent Tanzanian bath & body care brands
  • Tanzanian lipstick and lip balm brands
  • Tanzanian mascara brand

The Tanzanian beauty industry is ripe for innovation considering that there are not many niche independent beauty brands that are getting a lot of traction on the mainstream. How can you be part of your country’s beauty industry if you are interested in breaking in the business?


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