How to start a makeup business in South Africa

How to start a makeup business in South Africa

This is a guide on how to start a makeup business in South Africa. This guide will mostly focus on starting a business as a makeup artist but we will also touch on how you can start your own makeup line in South Africa.

Starting your own makeup line from scratch will require a great deal of resources and expertise. You will also be faced with a lot of start-up costs. Some of these costs include your factory location, employees, business management software, utilities, insurance, website, and marketing. So, for this article we will focus mainly on being the makeup distributor.

Makeup Business: Distributor

A lot of people are makeup distributors in South Africa, they buy makeup from manufactures and sell them to people for profit, most often these people are family and friends. Starting off selling to family and friends has some benefits but it will limit you in the long run, if you are serious about creating a successful makeup business then you have to think different.

The disadvantage of selling to family, friends, colleagues and advertising your business on WhatsApp is that it comes with a limited reach. Reach is very important when it comes to operating any business, most makeup distributors don’t start with a storefront; that makes it difficult for people outside of your circle to know that you are selling makeup.

Use the internet to your advantage

Very few things are as powerful as the internet in the modern age, the internet has unparalleled power when it comes to reach. You can reach people all over the world right from South Africa. But that’s not the point of your makeup business, you just want everyone in your vicinity/town/city to know that you are selling makeup and must buy it from you. The internet can help you with that.

1) Stock inventory

Start by stocking the inventory you are going to sell, whether it’s makeup kits or brushes, everything you know will sell. It’s often best to start by using the products yourself so that if and when clients complain or ask certain questions you can answer them with ease. It will be easier to give them tips on how to apply the makeup if you have used it before.

2) Setup a website

In this day and age, you really need a website to make things easier for you. The website should contain all information that people might ask you, it should have images the products along with prices. You should also state whether you do deliveries, and leave all the important information along with your contact details. When someone asks what you sell then you can simply refer them to your website. You can get a website from as little as R1 200 from Promta Web Services.

You need a website whether you are a manufacture, distributor or makeup artist. A website will prove to be very useful in the long run.

3) Run Facebook ads

This goes for all stages (manufacture/distributor/artist), there are a lot of different digital ads platforms. But Facebook ads are the best for this business in particular, the best part? You will face little competition. A lot of people just don’t bother themselves with running digital ads, you will automatically have the upper hand. You can start running Facebook ads from as little as R50 and your advert will be seen by close to a thousand people.

A healthy budget is around R1 000, the average conversion from Facebook ads is 9%. R1 000 can get over 2 000 people to visit your website, 9% of them will likely become your customers, that works out to be 180 people. R1 000 can get you 180 paying customers, now start making calculations on how much profit you can make. Here is a complete guide to Facebook advertising.


This was a guide on how to start a makeup business in South Africa, starting any business is very difficult and will take you longer than expected to see returns. This article was mainly focused on marketing/selling, which is the most difficult part, a lot of people are usually able to get started but struggle with marketing. Good luck on your business, do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. How do I go about manufacturing a new cosmetic brand. I have a marketing company already so creating the brand and marketing it is the easy part but have no idea how to create the products.

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