•Some of the products covered in the standards include aftershave, baby oils, body oils, deodorants and antiperspirants.
•Others are glycerine, hair spray, lip balm (lip salve), lip shine (lip gloss), lipstick and shea butter.
Manufacturers of beauty products in Kenya are set to be among the biggest winners this year as the country moves to implement new regional standards.
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has adopted 11 new standards allowing Kenyan cosmetics products to access regional markets.
The new standards will facilitate trade in cosmetic products produced within partner states in the East African Community by use of harmonized standards, according to Kebs.
"They will also ensure the quality, fitness for use and safety of the cosmetics to the consumers by controlling specific crucial parameters such as raw material requirements, and limits for heavy metal and microbiological contaminants,” managing director Bernard Njiraini notes.
Some of the products covered in the standards include aftershave, baby oils, body oils, deodorants and antiperspirants, glycerine, hair spray, lip balm (lip salve), lip shine (lip gloss), lipstick and shea butter.
With a liberalised external trade system, a strong economy, political stability and good infrastructure in place, Kenya is generally perceived as the Eastern and Central Africa's hub for regional trade, investment, infrastructure development and general economic growth.
Data shows that the beauty and personal care industry is one of the fastest growing industries in Kenya having grown by 400 per cent in four years from Sh 26 billion in 2015 to over Sh100 billion in 2019.
Improvement and change in the current lifestyles of individuals have been among the key factors to the major growth of the Kenya beauty and cosmetics industry.
Additionally, consumers have now become more conscious regarding the usage of cosmetics in their daily lives in an effort to step up their style quotient and overall personality.
“Cosmetic products will also be produced, prepared and handled in accordance with international Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) set for the cosmetics industry, thus further assuring consumers of the quality and safety of the product,” Njiraini says.
Traders have been facing challenges while trying to export products which are certified to local standards. With these regional standards in place, this will now be a thing of the past.
It is expected that the standards will be used by stakeholders in the cosmetics industry including manufacturers, importers, traders, testing bodies, research bodies, institutions of higher learning and regulatory bodies.
Moreover, they will boost local businesses and the government agenda of increasing manufacturing of local products for economic growth.
Quality requirements for some of the products include the following:
Hair sprays, air freshener aerosols, deodorants, and antiperspirants: Tests include delivery rate, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), net weight delivery, spray test, valve leakage, stability of smell, non-volatile matter. The standard also has requirements for propellants, flame propagation characteristics, and warnings on the labels, thus addressing the safety of the product. It also has a requirement for pH neat, for consumer safety.
Aftershave: This standard cover aftershave in the form of lotions, creams, balms, and gels. It allows for alcohol as well as non-alcohol-based products. It also allows for innovation of formulations, that provides for the option of alcohol-free products. Quality requirements for alcohol-based products include alcohol content, pH (neat), and thermal stability. Parameters for non-alcohol-based products include rancidity, pH (neat), thermal stability, Peroxide value, and antimicrobial efficacy test.
Lipstick, Lip balm (Lip salve), and Lip shine (lip gloss): Due to the likelihood of ingesting the products, the standards contains microbiological limits to ensure that the products are safe for use by the consumer. Heavy metal contaminants such as lead, mercury and arsenic are also tested. In addition, quality requirements include Peroxide value, rancidity, and stability tests to ensure that the product is stable and safe. The softening character of lipstick is well taken care of by the test on softening point and melting point.
Shea Butter: The standard will ensure the quality, fitness for use and safety of the products to the consumers by controlling specific crucial parameters such as raw material requirements, and limits for heavy metal and microbiological contaminants. Quality requirements for the product include moisture content, free fatty acid, peroxide value, insoluble impurities, unsaponifiable matter, saponification value, acid value, iodine value and melting point.