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Temitope Mayegun, CEO of Avila Natural products, has decried influx of fake skin care products in the market and makers hiding under the umbrella of organic and natural skincare to produce harmful products.
Mayegun noted that the influx of fake products threatens the seamless thriving of the industry in Nigeria, adding that it is not peculiar to Nigeria, as it cuts across other countries, especially West African States.
Against this backdrop, she said that the Confederation of West African Beauticians (COWAB), a group of beauticians consisting of over seven member countries, including Nigeria, would soon embark on standardisation processes to ensure quality products in the industry for all its members.
COWAB revealed its intentions to better the lots of the industry, at a conference held recently in Lagos. The conference was held in Nigeria to enable the organisation have a succinct and copious assessment of its members in Nigeria.
The group noted that it has become imperative to standardise the beauty industry, since it contributes hugely to the gross domestic product (GDP) of member states of COWAB.
According to reports, the global cosmetic products market was around $532billion in 2017 and is expected to reach approximately $863 billion in 2024. Nigeria’s beauty market was estimated at N500 billion annually in 2018, showing significant potential for boom in the industry if proper regulations were in place.
Mayegun, who also is a member of COWAB, said that the association’s move was a means to ascertain the challenges, aspirations, strengths and achievements of its members, and evaluating their level of standard practices. But chief among the reasons for the assembly was to further discussions on regulating the industry in order to eradicate manufacturing, and importation of fake products.
Joyce Lamptey, national president of Beauticians Association, Ghana, told BDSUNDAY that the association was responding to the common problems affecting their business.
“We thought it wise to come together to be able to solve the common problems affecting our trade. One is that there are fake products existing not only in one country but cutting across other parts of the country. When we come together we can solve it by advocating and creating awareness about it gradually if not totally.”
Doubling as the founder of ECOWAS Beautician Association, Lamptey said: “In the cosmetology industry, we aim to keep standard in our profession. Abroad, cosmetology puts down technological know-hows, rules and regulations that most don’t follow so how then can we call ourselves professionals. So we want to impact that knowledge to the less privileged people unable to go to school and learn of such”.
“Prior to now, hairdressing was known as a skill for dropouts, but today graduates are picking up the skill and some are doing businesses with it, but those doing it for business purposes do not have that technical know-how, so with that one voice we will work to make sure everything works out and that is our dream,” Lamptey told BDSUNDAY.
According to her, “We are doing a visitation so Africa can come together. We have to go and make sure the news spreads, then see how well they are accepting it, so that if they don’t we will tell them about our vision, our aims and objectives.”
Regulating the industry
Lamptey also revealed plans to enable member states work with the regulatory bodies in their respective countries- something that already exists in her country.
“We have to visit each country to know their standards, then we can bring the world standards down, that will be accepted by all of us, because when you go into the beauty books, you see that all the regulatory bodies are there. Are we following it? They have documented it, but are we doing it?”
Speaking to BDSUNADY on plans to regulate the industry, Elizabeth Abiola Koleade, president of COWAB, Nigeria, said some members had complained about issues on regulation, hence the deliberations on it.
According to her, “Many people are benefitting from the industry, and this means that you don’t need to be a lawyer, doctor, before you can put food on your table for your family. So, you must find a way to make the work you are doing strong, even to the point of passing it down generationally.
“The regulatory body is meant to check companies bringing in fake beauty products, and watch manufacturers of beauty products. Some of them don’t have enough money to buy quality materials to produce, they start going to China to make the products. So, we are going to start deliberations on it from this moment,” she said.
The call on government
However, to effectively fight the proliferation and importation of fake, COWAB acknowledged the role to the government. “We are calling on the government to come to our aid because we are dealing with human body from head to toe,” Lamptey said.
She also stated that COWAB would be working with the Ministry of Health as partners before the regulatory body will come in.
The guest of honour, Opral Mason Benson, proprietress of Opral Benson Beauty Training Institute (OBBTI), appealed to manufacturers of beauty products within and outside Africa to sponsor beauty programmes and events.
Benson, who also is the Iya Oge of Lagos, appealed to governments of various countries to invest in the Beauty Industry as a source of foreign exchange earner for their respective countries.
“Beauty training should be taken more seriously as a vocational skill and given its pride of place in the society. Government, private and public sectors should accord more recognition for the beauty industry and its practitioners,” she said.
Melinda Modupe Oyadiran, CEO, Melmoya House of Beauty and Healthcare, advised that all the COWAB leaders should stand and fight this cause together, saying that fake products have caused harm in lives of customers.
COWAB was established by Softsheen Carson, producers of Dark and Lovely Hair Care in 2000, but it collapsed in 2004. The aim then was to help standardise manufactures in the beauty industry.
BDSUNDAY learnt that the company funded it for two years, but stopped when it discovered the association was not yielding the expected results. Up till now, “it has collapsed for 17 years,” said Koleade.
The states that were represented include Togo, Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Burkina Faso, among others.