In Sub-Saharan Africa, women are initiated to beauty rituals very young. But social and family status, as well as professional activity, influence access to rituals and products.
Moisturising is at the core of these rituals. African women moisturise their face, body and hair from a tender age. In addition to physical necessity, the objective is to keep skin young looking, to enhance the body and also to avoid scars and patches. Ideal skin is firm and moist. It is important to note that products are selected according to season: a lighter cream in the hot season and a thicker, more nourishing cream during the rainy, cooler season.
Women use few products during the day and save their beauty rituals for the evening. Perspiration due to daytime heat, along with dust and pollution explain this choice, as they tend to block skin pores and diminish products' desired effects.
In the daytime, consumers prefer a simple purifying cleanser. Some women use a day cream to protect their skin from exposure to sun rays. Paradoxically, women do wear make-up but more for beauty than for treatment. Make-up basics include powders, beauty pencils and gloss. They are particularly appreciated if they are long-lasting and don’t run or smudge.
At night, a richer soothing cream is used on the face. For the body, African women alternate between enriched lotions (for dry and sensitive skin), creams (which could contain a variety of 4 organic oils, for example) and body oil.