Global black hair care is on the rise. In South Africa, the black hair care industry was estimated to be valued at R9.7 billion a year in 2015. Budding entrepreneur Thokozile Mangwiro believes that Africa is producing the most beautiful, natural and organic skin and hair care products. Her brand, Nyla is reaching for a share in that billion rand market by creating products using marula oil, an indigenous oil to southern Africa.


What is the natural  hair scene like in Johannesburg? What sort of events do you have?

The natural hair movement in Johannesburg is absolutely inspiring. There is a lot of consciousness and awareness about the movement from chemically laden products towards greener natural hair care. We are currently in the midst of the South African winter which can be very harsh to the skin and hair. Protective styling is the order of the day. Hair-line friendly plaits and wigs are definitely in.
Naturals here also have “Hair stokvels”, where we get together to share and educate each other about caring for and growing our natural hair. Hair stokvels also have natural hair care product stalls and guest speakers. There are other events like the “For Black Girls Only” event, which does not set out to exclude other races, brings together all African women from all walks of like to celebrate just who we are.

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Why does your brand focus on marula oil?

We believe that marula oil the secret to timeless hair  and skin nourishment. This magical oil is obtained from the core of the marula fruit. Marula oil is indigenous to Southern Africa, yet clientele have never heard of it and it’s rich properties. The Tsonga women of South Africa and Mozambique have used this oil as a moisturiser and a massage oil on babies for years. Marula oil has protected the African skin and hair against harsh and dry, hot and humid weather conditions.  It’s multi-purpose, used for personal care and is safe for both babies and adults.

Marula oil contains properties that create a high performing cosmetic oil that mimics the skin’s outer layer, regenerates the skin cells, thus promoting a youthful looking, well-nourished healthy skin. It’s a light weight oil, meaning it quickly absorbs into the skin and hair, while leaving a non-greasy silky smooth feeling. It is gentle enough to use alone or with any lotions and facial skin creams.

Do you only create hair care products?

We focus solely on natural hair with Nilotiqa Hair Care which is formulated for dry and damaged hair. Nyla Marula Beauty is our luxury natural and organic brand that caters for all types of skin and hair care. Our Marula Evolution Collection showcases pure Marula oil, fused it with various natural botanical and organic ingredients to create the most luxurious products to nourish skin and hair. Because the products are organic and natural, they are suitable for all skin types.

Our product line consists of a deep replenishing co-washing conditioner, deep moisturizing butter, detangling cream and nourishing scalp and hair oil. Our natural products are formulated with high-quality nourishing ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil, castor oil and avocado oil. We avoid artificial sourcing of ingredients and our products do not contain petroleum, lanolin, parabens, phthalates, or artificial colors.

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What tools do you use to grow your business?

Firstly, our business is incubated. This has given the business organizational, financial and operational structure. Secondly, we ensure that we collaborate with cosmetic organisations that have high standards for compliance. This forces us to look into how compliant we are and ensure we distribute high quality products locally and internationally.

Lastly, we purposely use social media to reach out to clients that are not only local, but also international.

What is your favourite style for a bad hair day?

Bad hair days for me means seriously dry hair. I first try to get moisture back in my hair using my Nilotiqua Deep Moisture Butter.  I am lucky enough to have long dreadlocks and so after adding the butter, I can just tie my hair up into a bun.
I am also huge fan of head wraps, known as doek in South Africa. Those can get you by for a week.

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