The Middle East consists of countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, Qatar, Oman and Israel, and is home to over 411 million people, with about 50 percent of them Muslims. This makes the Middle East a unique market for beauty, with demands that strike a balance between heritage, religion and performance. Even though sales for color cosmetics have dropped in 2020 due to the pandemic, there is a projected improvement with a forecast of 4.5 percent increase in the next two years.
Muslim women often look out for Halal products—whether it’s something they consume or use. Halal, a term which means “permissible” in Arabic, denotes that a product is manufactured with ingredients that are in accordance to Islamic law. Halal products are free from animals, alcohol and carmine, meaning these products are usually vegan and cruelty-free as well. However, this doesn’t mean that products labelled vegan and cruelty-free can automatically be considered Halal as brands have to undergo a strict Halal certification process to ensure that every step—from production and distribution—complies with the requirements of Islamic law.
Windows To The Soul
In accordance to Islamic law, some Muslim women in the Middle East wear head coverings in varying degrees of modesty ranging from the Hijab, a type of headscarf that covers the hair and neck, to the Niqab which covers the entire face except for the eyes, or in some cases, the Burqa which covers the entire face, leaving only a mesh screen around the eye area to see through. As such, eye makeup is particularly important as they are sometimes the only area of the face that is exposed. Middle Eastern women also tend to have very striking and expressive eyes, which many consider to be their best facial feature, thus making eye makeup like eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara very popular among them.
The preferred eye makeup look consists of dramatic and precise eyeliner, making liquid eyeliners with felt or brush tips their go-to eyeliner format. Mascaras that add volume and length for fluttery peepers are also ideal for playing up the eye makeup. Brown and neutral eyeshadows flatter their darker skin tone, with different textures and finishes like cream, powder, metallic, shimmery and pearly all lending dramatic perfection to the eyes.
All About That Base
The Middle East has a climate that is arid and hot, meaning makeup needs to be able to stay put even when sweating. This places particular importance on the longevity of face makeup. Primers form a smooth base for foundations to go on and while they may have different properties like improving radiance, restoring hydration and color correction, skin mattifying is the preferred benefit to ensure that makeup stays on.
Foundations with medium to high coverage are preferred as Middle Eastern women favor a flawless-looking base. The same goes for concealers as the aim is to create an immaculate and uniform complexion that resembles like a Photoshop-like finish. This also applies to any finishing products like setting powers or setting sprays, where they prolong the wear of the foundation and help skin stay fresh and matte looking.
Skin pigmentation like spots and dark under-eye circles are major concerns for Middle Eastern women. In cases where only the eye area is exposed, it makes it even more pertinent to correct the flaws around the eyes. Those who experience discoloration may opt for red or green color-correcting sticks to neutralize the skin tone first before the application of a high coverage concealer to achieve a uniform skin tone.
Go For Gold
With the darker olive and brown skin tone often spotted on Middle Eastern women, gold tones are especially flattering—bringing out their features and giving them an overall luminosity. Women will open for face highlighters with high-shine pearl pigments that impart a satiny lustre all while making skin appear silky. Pair this with deeper blush and contour colors and the overall visage is chiseled, with a natural flush.
While some Middle Eastern women cover up the lower half of the face, the ones who don’t are beginning to explore the use of lipsticks to express themselves. Hybrid lipsticks like tinted lip balms which offer lip care properties while giving a subtle wash of color on the lips are ideal. Other benefits they may look out for include lip plumpers and lip scrubs, which enhances the lips and keep them smooth. As they tend to go heavier on the eye makeup, lipsticks tend to veer towards nudes and neutrals so that the eyes still stand out.
Find out how Sensient Beauty can formulate products suitable for this growing market. Our high quality ingredients and extensive portfolio combines high-performance ingredients that align with the needs of Middle Eastern women. Contact us to learn more