Beauty in the Middle East

Beauty in the Middle East – Trends affecting brand development – By Ana Filipa Calado

Based on the article by Stephane Le Moullec published on COSSMA Magazine – 9 / 2015

Despite adverse political and economic factors within the region, the Middle East is becoming an influential region for global trends in beauty and personal care. Brands have started to focus on this consistently growing market. To succeed in this region and create innovative products that meet consumers’ needs it is important that brands take in consideration five societal facts and trends:


The Middle East has a very young population, with high percentages under the age of 25. These younger generations are the trend setters, with girls looking for exciting new products that enable them to express their personalities, despite cultural contingencies.

Digital Media

In the Middle East social media has a particularly relevant role, allowing women to express themselves in new ways and reveal personality facets that they are unable to show in their daily life. These online platforms are used to share the latest trends, tips and products, as communities where people learn from and inspire one other.

Plastic Surgery

Despite the region´s religious restrictions and conservatism, this is becoming an increasing trend amongst men and women. Influenced by Westernised celebrities and the desire to feel more attractive, plastic surgery is becoming increasingly more accessible, affordable and accepted in the Middle East. With a different approach form Europeans, who would only use it as a last resource, Middle Eastern consumers are less health active and use plastic surgery when results could be achieved through lifestyle changes.


New generations, influenced by western models are changing their habits and male personal care – once seen as unnecessary vanity and lack of masculinity – is a growing trend in the Middle East. Eastern men are embracing new grooming rituals to improve their appearance, look younger and build confidence. Successful career men have adopted male personal care as an essential part of their routine and the growing number of male-only spas in the Middle East reflects this trend.

Shopping habits

In the Levant region virtual shopping has grown, enabling consumers to shop globally and buy almost any beauty product without exposing themselves. Middle Eastern women can easily buy westernised products and access information to make informed decisions without facing cultural taboos or judgements.

By contrast, in the Gulf stationary retail is huge. The retail industry in the region has changed over the last two decades, with traditional family-owned shopping outlets being replaced by hypermarkets, chains and gigantic shopping malls that attract millions of visitors. This market will continue to grow during the next decade, offering multiple beauty and retail opportunities and attracting new interests to the region. Malls and retails outlets are a place where women can have a shopping experience and find, inspiration, information and connect with products and brands.

The Middle East is a diverse and fast-paced region with a lot of potential for beauty brands. Embracing its cultural differences and adapting to them is the key to success.