South African beauty brands that cater to all genders



Published Jun 5, 2024


For a very long time, South Africans have been using international brands on their skin and hair. That’s because we didn’t have enough local brands catering for most common skin and hair concerns.

However, that has changed with many local beauty brands offering products for a wide market. Below are some of our favourites.

Curl Chemistry by Liesl Smerdon

Curl Chemistry is owned by Liesel Smerdon, who launched it in 2016 after struggling to find the right products for her curly hair.

“Despite the wide variety of hair products available, I could not find products that catered for my natural curls when I transitioned to my natural hair. It was then that I decided to make my own curl-activating cream,” said Smerdon.

“I wanted to create quality hair care products that would be safe for kids to use as well. I have since eliminated ingredients like parabens and sulphate by using natural ingredients.”

Smerdon’s first batch of curl-activating creams comprised 120 jars and sold out within a month of release. As the brand grew, she opened an online store, employing 40 sales representatives.

“The feedback I received in 2016 from the first batch of products gave me insights for more product research and development,” Smerdon explained.

“Different people had different natural hair needs because our hair types are so diverse. A ‘one size fits all’ approach does not always get the desired outcome.”

Curl Chemistry. Picture: Supplied.

Masodi Organics

It is one of the most advocated-for beauty brands in South Africa. Owned by Liz Letsoalo, Masodi focuses more on hair and body care.

Letsoalo launched the brand in 2018 after owning a mobile salon with her friends, which didn’t work out. After that failed business attempt, she rose like a phoenix because Masodi, named after her mother, is selling like hotcakes.

“Our biggest priority is for the products to actually deliver on their promise of tackling very targeted skin and hair care issues with clarity, efficacy, gentleness and a delightful experience,” Letsoalo once told IOL.

Masodi caters for men, women and children as their products range from beard oils, hair serums, blemish control products, and more.

Masodi face serum. Picture: Instagram.

Pastry Skincare

In just three years, Mathebe Molise’s brand is already a success. Sold by her beauty company Beauty On TApp, Pastry is a brand that addresses common skincare concerns like dry skin, uneven skin tone, texture issues, etc.

“Our community raised questions on why certain face serum active ingredients can’t be used in body care, and we decided to whisk something up to respond to this need,” Molise explained on her website.

“Pastry products are all locally baked, formulated and manufactured with the consumer in mind. All products are backed by science and have been thoroughly tested.

“Each Pastry product that is released will have a corresponding fragrance-free option as we acknowledge that not everyone has the same taste buds and that some have fragrance-sensitive skin.”

Pastry Skincare also has a shaving range for both men and women. Picture: Instagram.

Afri Pure

Owned by the Great Africa Hair Company, Afri Pure is a proudly South African brand that uses natural ingredients to formulate its products.

While it is known for hair oils, it also has a skincare range of body washes and oils.

"Natural oils have formed part of hair and skincare regimens for centuries. Generation after generation has sworn by the efficacy of these simple, nourishing oils and extracts from plants, fruits, seeds, and other natural sources.

“In modern-day consumers, we see the urge to return to natural products. Striving towards clean living, greater value is found in additive-free, pure and effective products," read the brand's statement.

Afri Pure also caters for curly hair. Picture: Instagram.

Eco Diva Natural Superfood Skincare

The multi-award-winning brand owned by Nicole Sherwin is all about clean, kind and ethical beauty practices. Proudly made in South Africa, all their products are vegan and eco-friendly.

“We are passionate about holistic skincare through plant-based, natural superfood nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and omegas to assist not only in the healing of skin conditions but to also offer a vibrantly healthy glow that we all yearn for. #

“Nature cure is based upon the observation that it is the nature of things to heal themselves.

“We believe the same exists for our skin, and that is why we choose only the highest quality natural ingredients that support skin’s regeneration & self-healing,” said Sherwin.

Eco Diva face products. Picture: Supplied.