Nigerian Ladies And Dangers Of Spending So Much On Makeup


More and more Nigerian ladies are moving into enhancing their beauty with cosmetic products. Bukola Idowu and Odiri Uchenunu attempt to figure out why the use of makeup is on the rise and how much it costs.

For centuries, women have tried on many beauty enhancing technics to make themselves more attractive, not minding the cost to both their purses and bodies. Traced back to Ancient Greece and Egyptian women, make up has been used to hide pores, enhance the color of the face, smoothen complexion, highlight the eyes, amongst others.

As makeup products advanced from burnt matches, berries, arsenic, lead, mercury, and even leeches to more advanced chemicals, the cost to women’s purses have also been on the rise globally and Nigerian women are not left out of the rising global trend which has become more popularized with the advent of social media.


In recent times, makeup had become an integral part of event planning as more and more makeup artists opened up shops. The amount spent by women for special occasions like weddings, birthdays or even get-together parties have grown over the years from practically nothing to six figures in some cases.

Sample prices taken by LEADERSHIP Weekend revealed that bridal makeup in Nigeria can range from N70,000 to N150,000 depending on the taste, style and status of the bride, while walk-in customers into makeup studios pay around N5,000 to N10,000.

Our correspondents recently went to the streets in Lagos to find out why people wear makeup. The result from the investigation shows that more than 90 per cent of ladies in Lagos wear either heavy or light makeup. Some of them who spoke with LEADERSHIP Weekend simply put it this way: “We cannot avoid using makeup. It enhances our beauty.”

Miss Bimbo Ajayi, a banker, said, “I wear makeup virtually every day because as a banker, I cannot go to the office without it. The day I don’t put on makeup, my colleagues will be asking me if all is well.”

Confidence is everything as Ajayi who expressed her love for makeup said it not only enhances her beauty but also makes her more confident for the day’s job.  “I don’t think I can step out of my house without this make up. I feel I will look ridiculous without it.”

Likewise, for Mrs Abiola Adebayo who doesn’t wear makeup every day, a touch up of beauty products are for those special days that require extra confidence and beauty. “I don’t wear make up everyday but on a good day I do, especially on occasions. I cannot go to a wedding ceremony without wearing makeup. It will make me look odd. So, I do wear makeup to parties”, she enthused.

When asked how much she spends buying her makeup, Adebayo said, “I spend nothing less than N10,000 to buy my makeup kits and that can last me for like two years.  I really don’t go for fake products.  There was a time I was using unknown brands, and I started experiencing pores, blackheads and acnes on my face, then I stopped using unbranded products, I go for the branded ones. Though they are very expensive, but it enhances my beauty, and I no longer experience any thing on my face.”

Adebayo also said initially, her husband would tell her to remove her makeup. So, she decided to go to the school of make up where she was taught how to do a perfect makeup. She said, “Though I spent a lot of money, but it was worth it. I do perfect makeup that you would think that it was a makeup artist that did it for me. I became very perfect, that my husband won’t allow me to go out with him without wearing makeup.”

In the same vein, some makeup artists who spoke with LEADERSHIP Weekend on promoting makeup said it makes people beautiful and confident. They claimed that no money is too big for one to look beautiful, adding that beauty is everything.

According to the  owner of Cream Faces, Mrs Ada Okafor, although the country is experiencing recession, it is not a reason to hold back on looking good. “Everyone wants to look their best and that is not a negotiation. Though there is a lot of negotiation when it comes to the price, but looking good is a good business.”

When asked what her price range is, she said, “For bridal full pack, including engagement party, it is N50, 000 and that depends on the location, while normal party guest makeup ranges from N5,000 to N10,000.” She said the price is expensive because she does not buy cheap makeup kits. She goes for the expensive ones, adding that cheap products are damaging to the skin.

Osas Osakpolor, another makeup artist, said, “I do makeup for people depending on the amount they have. There is makeup for N100,000, some for N70,000 and the cheapest in terms of marriage is N50,000.”

Osakpolor said his prices are expensive because he uses classic products, adding that he can go to the extreme to make sure that his customers look beautiful. He said, “My joy is when I am able to transform you into a beautiful creature. So if I have to charge you N100,000, it is worth it.”

While makeup is useful in transforming women to beauty idols and increase their self confidence, dermatologists say heavy and excessive use of makeup can be detrimental to the skin and general health of the user.

According to Dr Idi Martins, a dermatologist, excessive use of make-up exposes the skin to considerable amounts of germs, harmful toxins, skin irritation, allergies and even skin cancer because of the chemical content.

“The chemicals found in lipsticks, eye pencils, mascara, kajal, among others, could cause serious health problems. I advise that women who apply make-up should clean their faces before going to bed, to remove all traces of chemicals from the skin. It is very imperative to use suitable face washes, cleansers, toners and scrubs to wash off the make-up on the skin daily, especially at night, to avert any skin irritation or disease.”

Also, former director general, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr Paul Orhii, said with the increased use of cosmetics and medical devices, it has become imperative to give these products specific attention owing to their complexity and high potential risks to consumer health and this makes the regulation of these products vital to healthy living.

Orhii said the statutory framework for the regulation of cosmetics and medical devices allows regulators to review and approve these products before they are sold out to the public. “The challenge with cosmetics regulation lies mostly in the continued use of banned and toxic chemicals in these products. The urge to satisfy customers’ ever-increasing demands has driven some cosmetics manufacturers into experimenting with raw materials with little or no safety records”, he added.

Noting that skin bleaching for example is a cosmetic treatment to reduce the prominence of skin discolorations and even out the color of the skin, he said  some people apply skin lightener to their entire body to change their complexion, “but this can be very risky.

“The active ingredient in some skin lighteners is mercury and so bleaching can lead to mercury poisoning. Mercury is a toxic agent that can cause serious psychiatric, neurological, and kidney problems. Pregnant women who use a skin lightener with mercury can pass the mercury to their unborn child. Mercury can accumulate in the body and cause poisoning, which can lead to kidney or liver failure”, Orhii quipped.

He said other chemicals that have been medically proven to be injurious to health such as Hydroquinone above two per cent and topical corticosteroids have also been incorporated into cosmetic products for skin lightening or skin toning.

“This unethical practice of manufacturers coupled with ignorance on the part of consumers has left many skins permanently damaged and only being concealed by clothing, adding that the importance of eradication of the adverse effects of such products (ranging from skin deformation, injury to skin and cancers) cannot be over emphasized,” he added.

He, however, advised that water being a major component in cosmetics production must be adequately treated and de-ionized regardless of the source to remove a wide range of contaminants that could affect the quality, consistency or even safety of the finished products. These contaminants, he pointed out, range from organic or suspended matter in surface water and highly mineralized ground water, adding that adequate water treatment will also help to maximize the shelf-life of products.

Orhii also said regardless of the manufacturing process or channel of distribution, cosmetic products in the market must be safe and of good quality and manufacturers are responsible for the safety of their products and must ensure that they undergo scientific examination before they are sold.