The Middle Eastern beauty industry is truly unique, from traditional techniques used to protect the skin from the intense climate to expressing a woman’s personality through make up trends and cosmetics. Make-up step-by-step to skincare regimes; the modern Arabian woman has developed a sense of confidence and power.
For thousands of years beauty has been a traditional industry in the Middle East and Africa. The first archaeological evidence of the application of cosmetics was found in Ancient Egypt around 4,000 BC. A traditional Pakistani wedding ritual is to use turmeric to clear and brighten the skin and the use of kohl and henna has its roots in North Africa. Even the latest trend in skin freezing, Cryo, was founded after discovering the age-old practice of Cryotherapy. The concept dates as far back as 2500 BC, when ancient Egyptians used this form of localized cold therapy to alleviate pain and inflammation.
Throughout the years, the religious heritage of the covered culture has given women the opportunity to express themselves through their hair, make-up and cosmetic choices. In the UAE, it is factors like tax free disposable income, high presence of global cosmetic brands and the expanding retail landscape that’s driving the growth in the beauty and personal care market.
Skin care remains the key revenue driver in beauty, demand and innovation are driven by multiple factors. On one hand, technology gives rise to devices and diagnostic tools, changing the consumer beauty experience, while on the other, niche brands revive categories such as face masks and facial moisturisers marking a new turning point for the market.
From the change in society the recent trends show that consumers are conscious of what they are putting on their faces, as a result of which more skincare and cosmetic brands are introducing sustainable, non-animal tested, natural products to their ranges. With many ingredients being shown to be harmful, consumers are becoming more aware of the brands that they want to invest in regardless of what it does to their appearance. Elemis, the British skincare brand, uses natural ingredients that are led by science and is a brand which is popular throughout the UAE in salons and spas. Swiss skincare brand Chlorys use the ancient alpine rose as a main ingredient which has been used in skincare for over hundreds of years and is a natural anti-aging remedy.
Dependent on market studies beauty brands alter their ranges depending on the sales and trends of the previous years. The beauty industry is one that is less likely to be affected by economic growth, especially in the UAE, as women will never jeopardise their appearance, and beauty products will continue to be an affordable luxury.
The local UAE culture favours a paler skin over that of a darker skin, whereas the western and expat population are the opposite, so the market caters for both. The trends in the region link back to the roots and culture of the Middle East, a full coverage foundation, defined eye make-up, strong lip colours and prominent lip and eye features. Enhancing the eyelashes, eyebrows and lips can create a more powerful look and this can be through the use of cosmetics, implants or surgery. The presence of new cosmetics clinics and strong social media influence, means the cosmetic surgery option is one that is more socially accepted across the youth of the UAE. Various local social media influencers such as Mona Kattan and Jessica Kahawaty both use cosmetics to enhance their natural features and create their desired persona on their platforms. The use of false eyelashes, hair extensions and lip fillers are popular with a large majority of women in the UAE.
Continuing to discover and enhance beauty trends, the Middle East has a glamourous and groomed beauty presence. With the confidence to enhance the appearance through the use of technology, partnered with the emerging push in society for the use of organic and health conscious ingredients, the UAE beauty industry is set to develop faster than many other areas of the modern world.