When I first moved back, finding cosmetic ingredients was quite diffucult and expensive. It still is sometimes. I would agree though that this need has created a lot of business in the natural skincare business. I started out importing and even though I could afford it, it wasn’t sustainable to my business. My main suppliers were aromantic, lotioncrafter, activeformulas, bulkactives, etc. I did a lot on window shopping at newdirectionsaromantics also. To create a list of sustainable economical suppliers, I had to find them
closer to home.
Being a novice, I started out looking in the regular markets and found shea butter and coconut oils mostly. Due to the language barrier and more improtantly, species barrier, finding other natural products was fruitless. After doing some research and finding some local names for many of the ingredients, I also realised that I had to adjust my list to include more indigenous plants. I was a Formula botanica student at the time and it was quite frustrating not to find chamomile in any form (herb, extract, hydrosol, essential oils) easily. You can find many tools and equipment in these markets especially Lagos Island/Balogun market at the pharmaceutical side.
I started looking online and came across natural nigerian ahia, olori (now beautiphic), tidesmark, soap et al, and other popular marketers. I found some of these to be quite expensive for the quantities offered, although I know the steep exchange rates have a role to play. These high cost prices impacts a lot on the final cost of my product. So in short, I found them still too expensive for my business. There are many other small scale marketers but it takes some effort to fish them out.
3. The chemicals and cosmetic ingredients market
I dreaded going here because I imagined the worst crowd but I’m glad I eventually did. The place was not as bad as I initially thought. Anyways here I was able to pick up some acceptable and manageable packaging materials, emulsifier, oils (cold pressed coconut oil and peppermint essential oil for that matter), amongst other things. There definitely will be a lot of fakes here so you’ll have to be very careful and insist on seeing the data sheet of each ingredient to be sure of what you are getting.
4. Do it yourself
As a pharmacognosist, making standardised extracts, macerate, infusions, tinctures, hydrosols and glycerites is like a hobby to me. I am currently working on distilling and analysing essential oils (using indigenous and non indigenous plants), gaining hydrosols in the end. I would admit that it’s been quite challenging also but it’s worth the stress sometimes.
If there’s a notable supplier I have left out please let me know. Where do you get your cosmetic ingredients?