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The hairdressing, cosmetology, and beauty industry in South Africa is a vibrant and competitive sector that serves a diverse clientele. However, maintaining fair competition within this industry is essential to ensure consumer choice, innovation, and market efficiency. One key piece of legislation that governs competition in South Africa is the Competition Act (Act 89 of 1998). In this article, we explore how the Competition Act applies to the hairdressing, cosmetology, and beauty environment, and its implications for businesses operating in this sector.

Understanding the Competition Act:

The Competition Act aims to promote competition, prevent anti-competitive practices, and protect consumers from unfair business practices. It prohibits activities such as price-fixing, market allocation, and abuse of dominance, which can harm competition and consumer welfare.

In the context of the hairdressing, cosmetology, and beauty industry, the Competition Act may apply in various ways:

Prevention of Price-Fixing: The Act prohibits agreements between competitors to fix prices for hairdressing services, beauty treatments, or cosmetic products. Businesses found engaging in price-fixing may face significant fines and penalties.

Promotion of Consumer Choice: By preventing anti-competitive practices such as market allocation agreements, the Act helps ensure that consumers have access to a diverse range of hairdressing and beauty services, as well as cosmetic products, at competitive prices.

Regulation of Dominant Players: The Act prohibits abuse of dominance by dominant players in the market. This may include large salon chains or beauty product manufacturers engaging in practices that unfairly exclude competitors or harm consumer welfare.

Merger Control: The Act regulates mergers and acquisitions within the industry to prevent the creation or strengthening of monopolies or dominant market positions that could harm competition. Mergers between major salon chains or beauty product manufacturers may be subject to scrutiny by competition authorities.

Why professional products are of better value for your skin and hair:

Considering the Competition Act, businesses must prioritize strategic marketing and education initiatives regarding professional products. This ensures that both they and their clients remain well-informed about the distinct advantages offered by these specialized items. By empowering themselves, staff, and clients with knowledge about professional products, businesses can effectively differentiate between these superior offerings and commercially available alternatives lacking in benefits. This not only protects the integrity of their brand but also fosters a sense of trust and loyalty among clientele. By emphasizing the importance of informed decision-making, businesses not only comply with regulatory requirements but also contribute to a more transparent and competitive marketplace.

Potential consequences of not following the Competition Act in South Africa:

Fines and Penalties: Section 59 of the Competition Act (Act 89 of 1998) empowers the Competition Commission to investigate and prosecute violations of competition law. Businesses found guilty of anti-competitive behavior, such as price-fixing or abuse of dominance, may face significant fines and penalties imposed by the Competition Tribunal.

Damages Claims: Section 65 of the Competition Act allows for civil litigation to recover damages resulting from anti-competitive conduct. Businesses may be liable to pay damages to individuals or other businesses affected by their anti-competitive behavior, resulting in costly litigation and reputational damage.

Criminal Prosecution: Section 73 of the Competition Act provides for criminal sanctions for serious violations of competition law. Individuals involved in anti-competitive practices may face criminal prosecution, leading to fines, imprisonment, or both.

Injunctions and Remedies: Sections 20 and 23 of the Competition Act empower the Competition Tribunal to issue injunctions and other remedies to prevent or address anti-competitive conduct. This includes orders to cease anti-competitive practices, divestiture of assets, or other corrective measures.

Reputational Damage: While not explicitly stated in the Act, negative publicity resulting from investigations or prosecutions under the Competition Act can damage a business's reputation and erode consumer trust. This can have long-term consequences for a business's brand and market standing.

Market Exclusion: While not explicitly stated in the Act, businesses found to be engaging in anti-competitive behavior may face exclusion from certain markets or industries because of regulatory actions or industry sanctions.


The Competition Act is crucial for businesses in the hairdressing, cosmetology, and beauty industry, as it prohibits activities like price-fixing and market allocation that could harm competition and consumer choice. Compliance is essential to avoid severe consequences like fines, damages, and reputational damage. Investing in professional skincare and haircare products offers better value for consumers, with quality ingredients and personalized approaches ensuring optimal skin and hair health benefits.



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