Shortage of glycerin, a key ingredient used in many beauty products could push up prices in Kenya five-fold,  according to a major industry player.

L’Oreal East Africa says the situation is occasioned by global supply chain disruption arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia Ukraine crisis. 

The beauty and cosmetics company's East Africa managing director Serge Sacre, said this has seen the commodity’s price triple in the past months.

“I believe that we will be seeing an increase in costs of beauty products as a result of global price increase of the raw material," said Sacre.

He said apart from the price of the key raw material, fuel and logistics have also played a factor in the price increase.

Glycerin is a key component in beauty products, pharmaceuticals, personal care, and cosmetics.

According to the 2020 data by FDA’s Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP), glycerin is the third most frequently used ingredient in cosmetics after water and fragrance.

It is used in more than 23,366 products, which include bath soaps, detergents, hair dyes, skincare products and baby products.

Russia is among the top suppliers of the commodity globally, accounting for almost 40 per cent. The current sanctions against the country have affected supplies

The hurdles notwithstanding, L’Oréal projects that Kenya’s beauty market currently valued at $200 million (Sh23 billion) has the potential to grow five-fold over the next eight years to a billion-dollar industry.

This is driven by the growing middle-class population that is increasingly spending on grooming. 

“The market is still small when you compare to the market’s 50 million population, but has been booming with double-digit growth over the last decade,” said Sacre.

A study by  global audience insights, data and analytics firm Nielsen, body lotions account for 50 per cent of the market.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has altered the beauty industry with its market value in 2020 estimated at around four million metric tons. 

The sector was highly impacted by Covid-19, with sales, purchases, and usage dropping except for the demand for glycerin whose demand was pushed up by usage in hand sanitisers, soaps, hand wash, and detergents.

According to the Mordor Intelligence report, the market is projected to register a growth rate of over six per cent during the 2021-2026 period

Sacre spoke at the unveiling of actress Catherine Kamau as the brand ambassador by Nice & Lovely.

L’Oréal bought Nice and Lovely in 2014.

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