Botswana’s Blooming Hairdressing Industry: More Than Just Style

If each of the 500,000 females spends approximately $50 on their hair each month, the total monthly consumer spending in the hairdressing sector alone would be a staggering $30 million, writes DOUGLAS RASBASH

Botswana, a land of beauty and diversity, is experiencing a flourishing industry that transcends mere aesthetics. The hairdressing sector has grown into a multi-faceted world where artistry meets companionship, counselling, and economic empowerment.

In Botswana, as in many parts of the world, hairdressing isn’t just about looking good; it’s a transformative experience. It’s a realm where hairdressers are not only artisans but also companions, counsellors and even psychologists for their clients. This unique fusion of skills has turned the act of hairdressing into an art form, a therapy session, and a social event all rolled into one.

For many Batswana women, their relationship with their hairdresser goes beyond the salon chair. It’s a place to share stories, discuss life’s ups and downs, and sometimes even seek advice. Hairdressers often become trusted confidants, offering a listening ear and a friendly presence.  In a world where external appearances often carry profound significance, hairdressers in Botswana also play the role of counsellors.

They help clients navigate style choices that express their individuality while boosting their confidence. The transformation that happens within the salon isn’t just external but is deeply personal too. Hairdressers also double as psychologists of style, understanding that hair is often tied to self-esteem. They assist clients in embracing their natural beauty while exploring exciting new looks. This holistic approach fosters self-assurance and self-love, making the salon a place of empowerment.
Substantial consumer spending

Beyond the personal connections and therapeutic aspects, Botswana’s hairdressing industry is a significant contributor to the economy. Approximately 500,000 females dedicate around four hours each month and invest roughly $50 in their hair. This substantial consumer spending fuels not only the industry but also the market for hairdressing cosmetics and products. With very high unemployment, income from hairdressing often supports an entire family – especially so if it is a single parent family. While about 8 to 10K may be employed another 3 to 5 people may benefit. So between 25 000 and 50 000 gain from hairdressing.

Jobs in this sector have grown exponentially, offering opportunities for many to support themselves and their families. The demand for skilled hairdressers, beauticians, and cosmetics professionals is on the rise, making this industry a vital part of Botswana’s workforce. In response, beauty salons have been popping up across the country, and existing ones are expanding.

Assuming each hairdresser is 70% booked throughout the week, it is evident that the demand for skilled stylists is high. On average, a hairdresser may serve around 70 clients a month, creating steady work for a considerable number of individuals. This, in turn, reduces unemployment rates and provides job opportunities for many in the community. If each of the 500,000 females spends approximately $50 on their hair each month, the total monthly consumer spending in the hairdressing sector alone would be a staggering $30 million.


This figure highlights the economic significance of the industry and its ripple effects on related businesses. The demand for hairdressing cosmetics and products has seen a substantial increase, thanks to the growing hairdressing industry. Local manufacturers and suppliers of beauty products have experienced a surge in demand for their offerings. This, in turn, encourages entrepreneurship and the development of businesses within the cosmetics sector.

As Botswana’s hairdressing industry continues to thrive, the cosmetics and product market associated with it is expected to see consistent growth, contributing to the country’s economic diversification. While hairdressing provides approximately 8,000 direct jobs for hairdressers, the ripple effects extend beyond the salon chairs. The demand for hairdressing services also supports indirect employment in various ways: The cosmetics and hair care product market, which flourishes alongside the hairdressing industry, relies on suppliers and distributors. This sector provides jobs in logistics, sales, and marketing. Many salons employ assistants who help with tasks such as washing hair, preparing clients, and maintaining cleanliness. These roles create additional employment opportunities.

Administrative staff

As the industry grows, the need for training and education in cosmetology and hairstyling increases. This leads to job opportunities in teaching and skills development. Salons require administrative staff for tasks like appointment scheduling, customer service, and inventory management. The success of the hairdressing industry encourages entrepreneurs to open businesses that cater for the needs of both clients and hairdressers. This includes cafes, boutiques, and other establishments that contribute to the local economy.


In total, when considering these indirect jobs, the impact of the hairdressing industry on employment in Botswana is substantial. It not only providing livelihoods for thousands of individuals but also stimulates economic growth in various sectors, fostering a more prosperous community. The hairdressing and nail care industries in Botswana play a pivotal role in supporting many single mothers and sole breadwinners. These industries offer flexible work schedules and employment opportunities that allow women to balance their responsibilities as caregivers with their roles as income providers. Here’s how these industries contribute to the livelihoods of single mothers and sole breadwinners:

Hairdressing and nail care often allow for flexible working hours. This flexibility can be a lifeline for single mothers who need to juggle work with childcare responsibilities. It enables them to earn a living while also being present for their children. For many single mothers and sole breadwinners, working in the beauty industry provides a steady and reliable source of income. This financial stability is crucial for supporting their families and meeting basic needs.


Some women in these industries choose to become entrepreneurs by opening their own salons or nail studios. This not only empowers them as business owners but also creates jobs within the community. The beauty industry offers opportunities for skills development and career advancement. Single mothers and sole breadwinners can undergo training to become skilled professionals, increasing their earning potential over time.

Community hubs

Salons often become community hubs, providing support and camaraderie for single mothers and women who are the sole breadwinners in their families. These spaces offer not just employment but also a sense of belonging and solidarity. In many cases, the income earned in the hairdressing and nail care industries is a significant contribution to the overall family income. It helps cover essential expenses such as housing, food, education, and healthcare. Overall, these industries empower women to support themselves and their families, making a positive impact on gender equality and economic stability in Botswana.


The flexible work options, skills development opportunities, and sense of community provided by the beauty sector are invaluable resources for single mothers and sole breadwinners. Botswana’s hairdressing industry is not just about aesthetics; it’s a catalyst for prosperity. With the employment opportunities it generates, the significant consumer spending it stimulates, and the growth of related businesses, this sector plays a vital role in the nation’s economic development. As hairdressers work diligently six days a week, they are not just crafting styles; they are shaping the future of Botswana’s economy.