We're not making it up: mascara is Mzanzi's most popular cosmetic

An interesting new survey has delved into SA's cosmetic bags

31 July 2020 - 00:00 By Toni Jaye Singer
The average Mzansi woman’s makeup bag contains five lipsticks, three lip liners, three blushes, four mascaras, six eyeshadows, and six fingernail polishes.
The average Mzansi woman’s makeup bag contains five lipsticks, three lip liners, three blushes, four mascaras, six eyeshadows, and six fingernail polishes.
Image: 123RF/Vladimir Gjorgiev

Did you know that the average South African woman spends around R5,468 a year on cosmetics? Or that our country’s most-used makeup product is mascara?

That’s according to a recent report from Picodi, a website that rounds up the latest bargains from various shops and brands.

The report, which is based on a survey of 9,300 people around the globe, is packed with intriguing statistics about the makeup preferences and cosmetic buying behaviour of women aged 18-50. For instance, the average Mzansi woman’s makeup bag apparently contains five lipsticks, three lip liners, three blushes, four mascaras, six eyeshadows and six fingernail polishes.

Wondering why anyone would need more than one mascara? “Some women may need a mascara that lengthens, one that adds volume, one that has a different sized wand to grab on to smaller lashes, or even a coloured mascara for a different look,” explains Sunday Times beauty editor Nokubonga Thusi.

Thusi says it makes sense that women would own multiples, given that most of those surveyed (76%) said price was the main factor they took into account when purchasing cosmetics. Furthermore, 43% said they bought cosmetics when they were discounted as opposed to when they’d run out of something (34%) or simply when they felt like it (23%).

“Buying makeup on buy-one-get-one-free promotions or buying multiple products that one loves when they are discounted makes sense as it is future planning and is kind to the pocket,” she adds.

Here are some other insights the report revealed about South African women:

  • We're all about the eyes: the five most-used makeup products are mascara, foundation, lipstick/lip gloss, eyebrow pencil and eye liner.
  • We like to take our time: only 13% of those surveyed said it took them five minutes or less to do their makeup. The remainder take anywhere from five minutes to half an hour.
  • Most of us wear makeup, but not every day: Only 13% said don't wear makeup at all. Of those who do, the majority (64%) said they only do so "sometimes".
  • We own more cosmetics than we use: On average number, we own 19 cosmetics but we only use seven of these regularly.
  • We spend more on cosmetics than men: They tend to spend an average of about R2,750 per year. 
  • We care about the environment, especially if the price is right: Only 10% said they didn't care about the ecological aspect of cosmetics. The majority (67%) said they buy eco-friendly cosmetics when these are reasonably priced, and the remainder (23%) said they always buy them.