The top question I get asked is “where can I get legit makeup/makeup I can trust/original makeup in Nairobi?” and let’s face it, the way we’re set up here . . . it’s a very valid concern. So much counterfeit all around us from the CBD to some pharmacies and top retailers that it’s hard to know who to trust and how to distinguish the wannabees from the real deal. And when it comes to beauty products, fake it till you make it is not how you wanna play. The harmful effects of low grade counterfeits are not pretty and well, that’s just counterproductive because makeup is supposed to be pretty. So where can we actually find good and legit beauty products?
- MAC – They are an American brand with a major cult following and legacy that finally set up in Kenya a couple of years ago. MAC sells their own brand of makeup and skincare from foundation to face oils. You can sample all the products in-store and even get a professional makeup artist consultation and makeover to the value of some purchase). Their price range is moderate to high depending on your pockets. You can find MAC stores at The Junction Mall, The Village Market, Garden City Mall, The Karen Hub etc.
- Yves Rocher – They are a French cosmetics brand that believes in the power of plant-based products and they carry their own of makeup, skincare and body-care products. Their price range is fair for the quality and quantity of their products and they can be found at The Westgate Mall and at The Junction Mall.
- Madora – They are a French outlet that sells their won brand and designer brands of makeup, skincare and fragrances. Madora stocks products from beauty giants like Chanel, Guerlain, Dior, YSL, Estée Lauder, Clinique, Elizabeth Arden, Lancôme, Hugo Boss, Gucci etc. They are definitely high end when it comes to pricing. They offer consultations and makeovers via their in-store and occasional brand makeup artists. Madora outlets can be found at The Westgate Mall, The Karen Hub and Two Rivers Mall.
- Lintons – They have been around for a long time and were the first to authentically bring high end designer brand cosmetics into the Kenyan market under license. They stock labels like Lancôme, Estée Lauder, Clinique, Black Up, Revlon, Nimue, The Body Shop, Black Opal and Iman among others. They also recently started stocking Shea Moisture products. Their price range is across the board depending on the brand you are interested in and they have outlets all over from The junction Mall to the CBD at Hilton Hotel and Mama Ngina Street. They too have consultation services available as well as makeup artists to help with makeovers on request.
- Suzie Beauty – This was our first fully fledged Kenyan owned cosmetics company founded by makeup artist Suzie Wokabi. They sell their own brand of beauty products and have a presence in major malls such as Yaya Center, The Junction via kiosks and have their own store at Two Rivers mall. Their price range is fair.
- Pauline Cosmetics – They’re a few years old and fully Kenyan owned by founder and cosmetics enthusiast Nelly Tuikong Park. They sell makeup catered especially to women of colour and they are available via their site and at various distributors countrywide which you can find here. Their price range is very fair and affordable.
- Black Up – They are a French cosmetics company that has been specifically developed for women of colour. They have a presence in Kenya via distributors like Lintons and Madora and have their own store at the Two Rivers mall. Their prices fall on the higher end.
- Flormar – Originally established in Italy and then taken over in Turkey, they offer affordable cosmetics ranging from makeup to nail care and can be found at kiosks in various malls in Kenya. They are very affordable.
- Maybelline – They are an iconic American beauty brand that officially set up in Kenya very recently. They are considered a drugstore type of brand and they can be found at their Yaya Center kiosk with additional counters in various supermarkets and at Green House on Ngong’ Road. Their prices are affordable.
- Oriflame – They are a Swedish cosmetics and fragrance line that has been present in Kenya for many years. They sell their own brand of products and are situated in Westlands and at The 680 Hotel in the CBD with very fair prices.
- Nouba – they are an Italian brand that has had a presence in Kenya for a while via various retailers and now have their own store at the Two Rivers mall. Their prices are fair to a little expensive depending on the products.
- 3ina – (pronounce Meena) is the newest brand in town with their flagship store at the Two Rivers mall where they sell their own brand of cosmetics at a fair price.
- Huddah – this line was founded and is owned by Kenyan personality Huddah. They are available online and their prices are affordable.
- Goodlife & Mimosa – These are pharmacies that acts as a distributors for many different drugstore cosmetic and skincare brands like Neutrogena, Dr. Organics, Simple, Vichy, La Roche Posay, Makeup Academy (MUA), Sleek, Revlon, L. A. Girls etc. Their prices range from affordable to a little pricey depending on the brand. Goodlife is located at The Junction Mall and Mimosa is located at The Westgate Mall.
- Super Cosmetics – They are a chain of beauty stores that stock all manner of beauty, skincare, hair-care and bodycare products from various brands from Manetabolism, Cantu, Organix, Shea Moisture, Neutrogena, Garnier, Sleek, Revlon, etc to more indie or lesser known brands. Their prices are across the board dependent on the brands.
For places like Super cosmetics, it is important to know exactly what you are looking for and how to tell the difference between a knock off and an original because they do stock some imitation or counterfeit products such as Huda Beauty and MAC. But most of the brands they stock are legit. Just be keen. A lot of Instagram stores also sell different bands and may or may not have a mix of original and imitation/counterfeit so again, it’s up to you to do your research and be thorough when making purchases. There are Instagram/online shops that stock and bring in legitimate brands on pre-order like Asmini Beauty, Makeup Bliss Nairobi, I Hana Collection, Cocoon Beauty, Sugar Punch Kenya and Beauty Bar. You can also use Mall For Africa to order cosmetics from Sephora, MAC etc. I hope this info will be of help when shopping for makeup/skincare/haircare. Have a grand weekend.