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The Mystique of Mainstream Middle Eastern Beauty

By: Liz Grubow
Posted: November 5, 2010, from the November 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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According to the National Human Resources Development and Employment Authority, the United Arab Emirates has experienced a 30% increase in the retail space devoted to beauty and fragrance products, and projects such as the Beauty and Fragrance Park in Jebel Ali and Beautyland in Dubailand—a hypermarket that includes beauty business offices, spas, a beauty museum, a beauty academy and salons—have increased beauty tourism there. Additionally, Beautyworld Middle East, an international trade show targeting affluent women in the Gulf region, witnessed a rise in exhibitors from the U.S. and Europe during its opening in June 2010—serving as a hot spot for emerging beauty trends and niche and mass products alike.

A Powerful Market

During the next decade, the Middle East will continue to materialize as a powerful market for beauty and retail opportunities, as well as attract new interests to the region. As the market becomes more saturated, retailers and manufacturers will differentiate by developing a greater focus on local cultures and the region’s diversity, offering more niche products and marketing to smaller, targeted segments of the population. Meanwhile, domestic brands will begin to emerge with more success, offering innovations that embrace local culture, religion and traditions, entering the market at the prestige level through salons and spas and at the mass level through global beauty giants by combining localized ingredients to meet unmet needs.

Liz Grubow is vice president and group creative director of LPK Beauty. In her 20-plus-year career, Grubow has helped develop and manage brand identity programs for some of the world’s most successful beauty brands—including Pantene, Olay, MAX Factor International and Cover Girl.