Residents across the UAE are increasingly making it their mission to shift towards using more 'green beauty' products that are 100 per cent natural, cruelty free, and sourced ethically, experts have said.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, several skincare and beauty experts highlighted how this shift in consumer preferences have made way for a revolution in green beauty technology that is sweeping across the UAE and the Middle East region.
“I believe that consumers are not only becoming much more aware of the green beauty movement, but are starting to have an expectation that all brands provide cruelty-free, sustainable skincare with a high natural origin content as a basic requirement. We couldn’t agree more and do not see space in the market for brands that do not think these values are important to consumers and the planet we live on,” said Aly Rahimtoola, founder of Herbal Essentials.
Similarly, Jack Maclean, international marketing manager at Sukin, observed that over the last five years ‘natural’ has been one of the largest trends in beauty. “Covid-19 in particular has driven many people to consider natural for the first time; with spare time to reflect leading people to think about their impact on the environment and making them more selective in the brands and products that they support.”
Merian Odesho, owner and formulator of Bounce Curl, revealed that the shift towards natural products was not limited to just skincare, but had also evolved to other segments such as haircare.
“When I came into the beauty industry in my early 20s, I immediately recognised the need for formulating products with safer ingredients,” she said. “Most hair brands were still using parabens and harsh sulfates, so I decided to create products using uncompromising ingredients. We also educate our customers that it is possible to get great hair results while using products that are designed with less chemicals. In short, Bounce Curl practices safe, clean beauty.”
Innovation and tech driving goals
Ryan Saddik, GM for the MEA region at Foreo, highlighted the role that technology had played in not only helping to create greener products, but to also build products that lasted longer.
“We believe that sustainability should not be compromised for progression,” he said. “After all, there is no better care for the environment than to create products that last. In addition, we take it so all our products are clean and cruelty-free. Foreo products are designed for durability and longevity – providing hygienic, long-lasting skincare solutions that can replace consumption of disposables, making the beauty brand a conscious, greener solution.”
Towards this end, Foreo is taking steps such as swapping hazardous and toxic components for greener and eco-friendly options, as well as reviving the repair culture. “Making the beauty brand a conscious choice for not only your skin but for the planet. We want to cater to that new society, moving away from hoarding loads of products, and investing in innovation that enhances skin wellbeing, in those precious few essentials that are built to last. We see our devices as a one-time investment; all Foreo products are made of either medical-grade or food-grade silicone of the highest quality, and none require any replacement parts. We simply want to make long-lasting and reusable spa-like facial and beauty treatments, accessible to people from all walks of life,” Saddik said.
Nature has the answers
When it comes to finding inspiration for products, Maclean said that Sukin looked towards nature. When the brand was launched in 2007 in Melbourne he said that there was already a rising trend of people looking for natural alternatives in food and fashion, but there wasn’t anything in Australia to meet this need in beauty.
“We were one of the first to say no to artificial additives and harsh ingredients that can cause harm to ourselves, animals, and the environment we live in; and it is our belief that everything we need to make the products you love can be found in nature. Currently, we have over 100 products in our range, from skincare to haircare and bodycare.”
Similarly, Rahimtoola revealed that Herbal Essentials had turned its sights towards the Himalayas. “Our promise has always been to provide affordable, high-performance skincare that targets modern day skin concerns. We are powered by naturally mineral rich Himalayan Spring Water which is clinically proven to deliver essential nutrients to the skin and support skin cell turnover. We formulate this key ingredient with high concentrations of Ayurvedic inspired botanical actives to tackle specific skin types and concerns naturally.”
Currently, the brand boasts 14 products that are available at Lifestyle stores and online. The brand is also gearing up for more launches this year.
Odesho added that it is also important to educate consumers about the benefits of natural herbs and oils. “From the very beginning, Bounce Curl has been about family and community. We want our customers to be educated with the tools they need to decide which products will work best for them. Everyone’s hair is different, so our blog and videos are designed to give customers the basics of using our products, but also to encourage them to experiment a bit to get the absolute best results for their particular hair and situation.”
“All of our products are vegan and sulphate-free,” she added. “Growing up, I was exposed to many special Middle Eastern ingredients such as Black Seed Oil. This ingredient is what sets our vitamins apart from other formulas.”
The celebrity and influencer formula?
Asked about the role that celebrities, influencers, and social media has played in aiding the green beauty movement, Saddik said that they have definitely given a new perspective on how consumers approach different products. “Consumers have become more curious and aware of various aspects of skincare routines and different skincare products. For Foreo, we see this as an advantage since our focus from day one was the care of the skin, and how no makeup can help build confidence as much as healthy skin can. Having celebrities talk about the importance of good and proper skincare definitely helped raise awareness on what we’ve been preaching all this time.”
“Recently, we have been seeing a rising trend around A-Beauty which really dives into the concept of simplicity and the ‘less is more’ approach,” added Maclean. “A-Beauty is all about simple, naturally beautiful products featuring powerful ingredients that do what they claim to do. We see A-Beauty as the next step in the natural evolution that perfectly ties into current trends of transparency, minimalism, and the expectation of ingredient efficacy.”
Rahimtoola agreed that celebrities and influencers have boosted the skincare market and brought incredible awareness to the importance of a great skincare routine. However, he believes that consumers are starting to realise that skincare isn’t always simple and that what works for their favourite influencer may not work for them and, more importantly, may be unobtainable because of the high price points brands are charging for the affiliated products.
“Consumers are now researching and gaining their own knowledge on skincare claims, ingredients and sustainability practices, and I think this is a really exciting turning point for the industry,” he said.
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