best and popular cosmetics products to sell in Kenya

People look for ways to improve their attractiveness and appearance and the best way to do that is by using cosmetic products.

Soap, cleansers, face masks make your skin feel rejuvenated.

When people talk of cosmetics, they believe it’s a makeup store like Fenty, Sephora, Mac or L’oreal.

Cosmetics, according to defines cosmetics as a preparation applied to the body, especially the face to improve its appearance. says cosmetics are for the face mostly.

Depending on the definition, cosmetics may include a variety of products.

What’s an Example of a Cosmetic to Make and Sell?

The following are the examples of cosmetics to make and sell and they include:

Cosmetics range from soaps, cleansers (foam, oil-based) and other types of cleansers

Creams, lotions, face masks, powders, colours for skin, eyes, lips

Shampoos, lotions, oils, waxing agents, fixatives, bleaches, dyes, dye removers for the hair

Hair removers

Facial scrubs

Facial toners

Body scrubs

Skin bleaching, skin tanning preparations

Toothpaste and oral care products

Antiperspirant, deodorants, and other personal hygiene products

Perfume and other aromatics

How you define cosmetics is important because you learn how to differentiate between a cosmetic and a drug.

When making cosmetics to sell, don’t make products with harmful ingredients, always inform the buyer what you’re using in the manufacturing process.

What’s a Cosmetic Shop Business and How Does It Work?

A cosmetic shop business is a business that sells products that enhance people’s appearance and attractiveness.

Cosmetic products can be anything from makeup to body lotions and hair products.

In a cosmetic shop, business is you will sell your cosmetic products to interested customers and make a profit out of each cosmetic product that you sell.

Depending on your interest, you can choose to niche down to a particular cosmetic area of interest, for example, focus/sell face or general body products.

You can choose to handmade or mass-produce the items you sell in your cosmetic shop.

Is a Cosmetics Shop Business Profitable?

Yes. A cosmetic shop business is a very profitable business venture.

The beauty and cosmetics industry keeps growing substantially and there is a lot of money involved in this business.

If you have a good eye for recognising the best cosmetic products for specific needs, you can start a cosmetic shop business and get your share in this lucrative industry.

A cosmetic shop business has a high return on investments so you can rest assured knowing that you will be bagging lots of cash from this business.

There are successful cosmetic shop business owners who are making a decent living with this business.

You can start a cosmetic shop business as a side job or as a full-time job, depending on your availability.

If you are still thinking about whether or not you should start a cosmetic shop business, this is your cue to start.

How to Start a Successful Cosmetics Shop

Starting a cosmetic shop business is quite simple. I’ll show you how.

But first, you need to make a decision on whether you want to start your cosmetic shop business online or open a storefront.

With that, here are the steps you must follow to start a cosmetic shop business from scratch today.

Do market research

Study your market and do a thorough analysis of your competitors and your target audience. Who are your competitors?

What are they doing?

Are there any potential market gaps?

What can I do to gain a competitive advantage over them?

You need to also know who your customers are and what they need from your cosmetic shop business.

What is the most common problem they are facing in other cosmetic shop businesses?

Understanding customer demographics is important to gain a clear perspective as you start your cosmetic shop business.

Identify your niche

Choose the niche that you want to invest in. It can be a make-up cosmetic shop business or one that deals with hair to body enhancement cosmetics.

It is important to choose a niche so that you may focus more and gain expertise in a particular area in your cosmetic shop business. Select your niche and move on to the third step.

Find a supplier

The next thing you want to do is to find a supplier for your cosmetic shop products.

If you are in Kenya, there are reliable and affordable wholesalers along Dubois Road, Munyu Road and River Road.

You need to find a reliable supplier who will ensure that your cosmetic supplies are always replaced when they are finished. 

Meet legal requirements

Make sure that your cosmetic shop business is at par with the government rules and regulations.

Get the necessary business permits and licences before you start your cosmetic shop business.

You will avoid having your business shut down or paying heavy fines.

You do not want to fall into the government’s hot soup.

Clear all your legal requirements, check the zoning laws and then start your cosmetic shop business. 

Build your business and create a cosmetic shop brand

You need to create a good cosmetic business logo and build your business through that.

You can use content marketing to build your business online and have an active involvement with your online customers. This is a good way to get you going.

Promote your cosmetic shop business

You have to market your cosmetic shop business and put yourself out there if you want to generate leads.

Employ good marketing strategies both online and offline if you want to grow and expand your customer base.

Once you get your first customers, your business will kick-off.

Keep up with trends and changes in the beauty and cosmetics industry

There are newer cosmetic products that are getting into the market every day.

It is best to invest in these latest trends if you want a successful business. 

Market your cosmetic shop business

You have to promote yourself and your business if you want to achieve success.

You need more clients to know about your business, so you have to channel all your efforts towards marketing.

Have a good pricing model

When you are pricing your cosmetic products, always look at the offerings of your competitors and use that to determine how you are going to price yours.

Remember for a successful business, you have to keep your pricing fair and still profitable. 

Know what your target customers want

Do not invest in cosmetic products that your customers do not want otherwise they will end up sitting idly in your cosmetic shop. Understand customer needs before you get out to buy cosmetic products. 

What Will I Do in a Cosmetics Shop Business?

There are certain things that you will be doing on any typical day in your cosmetic shop business.

It is good to know what you will be handling so that you do not fall short in your business activities.

  • Contacting suppliers for your cosmetic shop products.
  • Conducting market research and being up to date with the current trends.
  • Test new cosmetic products and getting feedback from customers
  • Taking orders and making cosmetic product deliveries to customers.
  • Stocking your shelves and making sure you reorder cosmetic products as needed.
  • Selling cosmetic products to customers.
  • Network within community/industry and market your business.
  • Keeping your cosmetic shop clean and maintained. 
  • Administrative duties.
  • Marketing your business.

What Do I Need to Start a Cosmetic Shop Business?

This is what you need to start a Cosmetic shop business. 

  • Cosmetic shop products inventory e.g body lotions, braids, shampoos, wigs and weaves, makeup etc. 
  • Display cases
  • Rental space
  • Staff (optional)
  • A computer
  • Lighting
  • A business licence
  • A business insurance 
  • A business website

What are the Expenses for Starting a Cosmetic Shop Business?

It is very important that you know the initial startup costs and the ongoing expenses that you will incur when you start a cosmetic shop business. You do not want to end up falling short in your budget.

  1. Cost of inventory
  1. Furniture expenses
  2. Rent.
  1. Salary
  1. Website costs
  1. Electricity and utility bills
  1. Licences and permits
  1. Advertising expenses
  1. Insurance premiums 

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Cosmetic Shop Business?

The amount of money it will cost you to start a cosmetic shop business will depend on the size of your business,  the cosmetic products you are investing in and your business location.

The costs can be high or low depending on your budget.

If you are going for high-quality products in high-end locations, you will spend more money as you start your business.

How Do I Make Money With a Cosmetic Shop Business?

You make money with a cosmetic shop business by earning a profit from the sale of each cosmetic product.

This is the basic dynamic of this business.

You can sell your cosmetic products on a retail or wholesale level.

You can also give routine advice and offer cosmetic consulting services (e.g for makeup) and earn money in this way. You can also get involved in photoshoots with magazines and make money.

How Much Should I Charge My Customers?

The amount of money you charge your customers will depend on the following factors:

Competition. Look at the pricing model of your competitors so that you make sure you are not overpricing or underpricing your cosmetic products. Make your pricing competitive, fair and profitable.

Type of cosmetic product. Different types of cosmetic products will cost a certain amount, depending on the brand. A well-known luxury brand will cost more than regular ones.

Location. When you locate your business in places where there is high end with high financial activities, you may want to charge your customers more.  

How Much Money Can I Make With a Cosmetic Shop Business?

The amount of money you make with a cosmetic shop business will depend on your overall marketing efforts and the sales conversions that you get.

The more cosmetic products you sell in your business the more money you make.

You have to be dedicated and committed and channel all your efforts towards finding customers and promoting your business.

Legal Requirements For Starting a Cosmetic Shop Business 

When you are starting your cosmetic shop business, you have to make sure you are in full compliance with the law so that you will not end up paying heavy fines or get your business shut down.

These are the necessary permits and licences you need to start a cosmetic shop business.

  • Business licence
  • Business insurance 
  • Occupancy permit 
  • Food and Drugs Certification

Best Location For a Cosmetic Shop Business 

When you want to open a storefront cosmetic shop business, you have to understand what makes a location a great location.

Location will either make or break your business.

There are certain things you need to consider when you are setting up your cosmetic shop business in a given location. Here they are:

  1. Foot traffic. Start your physical cosmetic shop business in places that have high foot traffic so that you will increase the chances of people walking by into your cosmetic shop to buy your products.
  1. Accessibility. You can start your cosmetic shop business in places that are visible and accessible by the main road or highways.
  1. Location type.  Start your cosmetic shop  business in high end places where people are ready and willing to buy your cosmetic products  for a profit. Zoning should be your big concern for your cosmetic shop business.
  1. Local laws. Make sure that the place you choose to build your physical cosmetic shop business is free from all government zoning laws so that you do not risk having your business shut down.
  1. Competition. When you are looking at the competition, you do not want to start your business in places that are already crowded with other cosmetic shop businesses. If you do, make your business unique and outstanding. 
  1. Parking access. Good parking access is recommended for a cosmetic shop business so that customers can park their cars as they walk into your shop.
  1. Lighting. Starting your cosmetic shop business in places that have good lighting so that you can minimise criminal activities and make your customers feel secure.

The best places to start your cosmetic shop business are in malls, plazas or kiosks.

What Skills Do I Need to Start a Cosmetic Shop Business?

There are some skills and qualities that you need to have to start a cosmetic shop business.

Successful cosmetic shop business owners usually have these traits and skills.

  1. Marketing skills. Since you are starting your own cosmetic shop business, you should be ready to sell your products. This implies having good marketing strategies and skills so that you can win customers over in this highly competitive field.
  1. Attention to detail. You need to be very keen when you are handling your cosmetic products. You need to check the ingredients used and also keep a close eye on what cosmetic products sell more than the other.
  1. Customer service skills. Having good customer service skills ensures that you listen to your customer’s needs. This will propel you to give them quality products and service for the best customer experience.
  1. Organisation skills. You need to be organised when you start a cosmetic shop business. You will need to take inventory, place orders, make deliveries and respond to customer enquiries. 

Who are the Target Customers in a Cosmetic Shop and How To Attract Them

Your customers are people who want to use your cosmetic products.

They can be men or women of any age.

Narrow your target customer to a specific market.

Don’t get too specific that your customer is too narrow also don’t get too broad you don’t know who your ideal customer is.

Your audience can be makeup artists, actors or actresses.

Survey customers

Examine the prospective customers that you have and prepare survey questions for them.

Ask customers what they want.

A good survey helps you understand what customers want or are looking for in their cosmetic products.

Don’t forget cosmetics how they love the packaging, marketing message.

This will allow you to generate new leads.

Ask for referrals

Have a referral program, whereby if a customer is satisfied with the cosmetic products available in your business, they can recommend someone else to seek your services. 

Make your referral offer attractive, like for example getting 50 per cent off the next order for every new customer.

Customers don’t refer crap to their friends, ensure before you ask for referrals, your cosmetics products are one of a kind and cannot compete with those in the market.

Use social media

Leverage the connections you have on social media and use that to talk about your cosmetic shop business on Facebook and Instagram, share relevant content and create promotions and advertisements to create more sales and leads. 

Business cards

Have a business card with good branding, business details and contact information. 

Word of mouth

Bring quality cosmetic products for people and build your brand through that.

It is easier to get more clients this way.

When people can acknowledge how great your services are, they will most definitely tell people who you are and how they can get in touch with you for your services.

Ask for referrals and testimonials to get more clients. 

Create a website

Your website should have good images of your cosmetic products.

Use the power of SEO/SEM marketing by designing and posting a blog within your website.

In your blog, talk about how to apply makeup, how to care for teen skin, how to wash 4c/4d hair and maintenance.

Let what you talk about match what you sell and more.

The more keywords you use within the cosmetic industry, the more you people find your cosmetic shop organically and the more you sell. Make your blog content valuable to customers.

Go to the press. TV commercials are a good way to advertise your cosmetic business and make yourself known. 

List your business on Google My Business.


Connect with other cosmetic shop business owners, industry experts and participate in local and community events and meet new people.

You will get more clients and leads in this way.

Advantages of Starting a Cosmetic Shop Business 

These are some of the benefits of starting a cosmetic shop business.

  1. Loyal customers. When customers get the right cosmetic products that worked magic on them from your business, they’re more likely to come back to your cosmetic shop business.
  1. High profit. A cosmetic shop business has very high profit margins and you will get high returns on investment. You can make a lot of money with this business.
  1. Work from home. If you love working from home, you can set up your cosmetic shop online, have a website and do your business virtually. 
  1. Many selling channels. You can choose to sell your cosmetic products online or own a physical location for your cosmetic shop business. You can also choose to be a retailer or wholesaler in your cosmetic shop business. 
  1. Numerous product suppliers. There are many people who are supplying cosmetic products, some with discounts. Find the right supplier for your cosmetic business.

Disadvantages of Starting a Cosmetic Shop Business 

These are the problems and challenges you will face when you start a cosmetic shop business. 

  1. High competition. There is very high competition in this business. Channel all your efforts towards gaining competitive advantage and marketing your business.
  1. Emergence of fake or low quality products.  There are low quality and fake cosmetic products in the industry today. Without expertise, you may invest in fake cosmetic products without even knowing it.
  1. Storage and handling of different products. Handle your cosmetic products with care to avoid any damage to merchandise.
  1. High risk.  Like I said, cosmetic shop businesses face high competition and 9 out of 10 cosmetic businesses fail. Do thorough research and have a good business strategy before you get into this business.

Mistakes New Cosmetics Shop Make Leading to Failure

Studies show that 9 out of 10 cosmetic shop businesses tend to fail.

There are some mistakes that most cosmetic shop business owners have made that resulted in their automatic cosmetic business failure.

It is important that you know what these mistakes are so that you can avoid them or correct them sooner.

  1. Poor pricing. Poor pricing involves overcharging your customers, in that you are unfair or you overprice your cosmetic products. Remember good pricing keeps your customers coming back.
  1. Failure to niche down. If you do not niche down, you may end up with a variety of cosmetic products, some which you do not know their purpose. Niching down helps build trust. 
  1. Not having a marketing strategy. Failure to have a marketing strategy will keep you from tapping both online and offline customers that you have for your cosmetic shop business.This means less sales  which in turn may lead to business failure. 
  1. Failure to keep up with competition. Always look at what your competition is doing if you want to keep afloat in this highly competitive industry. You do not want to be on the losing end with your competitors. 
  1. Not identifying your target market. It is important to know who your target customers are so that you can know how to best serve them. If you do not define your target audience, you will not cater to their needs as expected. 
  1. Not thinking about branding. It is good to put in some work towards the branding of your cosmetic products so that you can create an image that your customers can identify with and influence more buyers.

How to Sell Daily as a Cosmetic Shop Owner

As you start your cosmetic shop business, you have to know how to sell your cosmetic products.

Competition in the cosmetics industry is high so your marketing strategy is on standing out.

Regardless of whether you are selling in an e-commerce store or a physical location, I will give you some tips on how to sell your cosmetic products.

How to Sell Your Cosmetic Shop Products 

Here is how you can successfully sell cosmetic products for your cosmetic shop business.

  1. Offer samples with orders. You can give samples to your customers to try out your products before they buy from you. Thus is a good way to build customer loyalty and trust and you will find yourself selling more cosmetic products this way
  1. Give a guarantee. Customers are more likely to buy from a cosmetic business that gives them assurity of achieving their desired outcomes. You will sell more this way. However, it is good to remember that a guarantee is legally binding.
  1. Make sure your products are safe. By safe I mean that you check all the ingredients that you are using. There should be no cases of severe allergies. You should also run your business with the local authority to approve your cosmetic business.
  1. Ask for customer reviews. Your customers will entice more people to buy your products depending on their experience with your cosmetic products. Ask for positive customer reviews if you want to sell more. Also remember to keep it real. No one will buy products that have zero negative reviews.
  1. Create a unique cosmetic brand. Have a cosmetic brand that you identify with. Create a good business logo and offer packaging according to how you want to position your business. You will find that you will more if customers can easily relate to your cosmetic products.

FAQs on Starting a Billion-Dollar Cosmetics Business in 5 Years

  1. What are the tips for succeeding as a cosmetic shop owner?

Know the guidelines provided to sell cosmetics

Decide on the location for your cosmetics business

Choose a niche, for example, makeup, lip care product, organic makeup

Sell online from a website


Have a logo -let your logo tell the story

Keep packaging in mind

Test your product

Get opinions on your products and improve.

2. Is it profitable to sell cosmetics?

Yes, it’s profitable to sell cosmetics.

3. Can you legally sell homemade cosmetics?

Yes, you can legally manufacture cosmetics from home and sell them.

Manufacture products in an environment that won’t cause them to get censored.

4. Do all ingredients have to be listed in cosmetics?

Yes, list all the ingredients in your cosmetics on your packaging.

5. What are the legal requirements for labelling?

Name and description

List your ingredients

Date of manufacture and expiry

Nutrition information

Country of origin

6. How do you design beauty products that customers love?

Identify ingredients you use

Identify the features

Identify the benefits

Know your customers

Know the problems and identify solutions.

7. Difference between makeup and cosmetics

Makeup = cosmetics such as lipstick or powder applied to the face used to enhance or alter the appearance

Cosmetics = A preparation applied to the body especially the face but not limited to the face to improve appearance.

Related Resources on Starting a Billion-Dollar Cosmetics Empire

A Complete Guide to Packaging in Kenya

Beauty Products to Sell Online in Kenya

How to Start a Natural Skincare Business in Kenya

How to Start a Makeup Business in Kenya

How to Start a Bathbomb Business in Kenya

How to Start a Soap Empire in Kenya

How to Start a Beauty Salon Business in Kenya

How to Start a Massage Parlour Business in Kenya

Start an Essentials Oils Business in Kenya

How to Start a Successful Online Magazine in Kenya

Cosmetics Business Plan in Kenya PDF

Unique Cosmetic Shop Business Ideas to Make More Money

There is stiff competition in the cosmetic industry.

You want to come up with a unique business idea in the cosmetic line if you want to distinguish yourself from your competitors and undercut them in a heartbeat.

I will give you some best cosmetic shop business ideas that you can try today.

Here are some unique cosmetic shop business ideas that you should think about starting today.

  • Start a cosmetic consulting business
  • Start a cosmetic store business 
  • Start a beauty salon
  • Start an organic spa business
  • Start a cosmetic blog
  • Start an essential oils business 
  • Start a cosmetic magazine
  • Start a cosmetic clinic business
  • Start a cosmetic creams and body lotions production business.
  • Start a makeup business
  • Host a makeup clinic.

The cosmetic industry keeps on thriving by the latest market trends and will keep growing.

Do you want to start a cosmetics shop and are confused about how to make money in the cosmetics industry?

This guide will help you know how to start a cosmetics shop business as a beginner whether you want to manufacture at home or buy from a supplier.

If manufacturing your cosmetics at home, ensure to get your licenses and business permits.

Always list all your ingredients in your packaging.

A friend of mine started a cosmetics business called Carbie Beauty, her products are amazing, check out her Instagram page @CarbieBeauty

How is your cosmetics business going?

Are you stuck in developing your cosmetics business and need some help in how to move forward?

Share with us your experience running a cosmetics shop.




Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published.


Online Businesses / Online Work in Kenya