“Middle Eastern women are seen as some of the most beautiful women in the world” – Beauty Editor at Fashion Magazine

Based on Butterfly’s recent research into beauty in the Middle-East region, we wanted to share with you the 10 most interesting facts that we uncovered.

1. MORNING RITUAL

Saudi women on average spend 2-3 hours getting ready per day (YouGov), compared to UK women, who take only take between 20-45 minutes.

2. TOP BRANDS

Saudi Women spend up to $2 billion on cosmetics; Maxfactor is the top ranked makeup brand amongst women, whilst Chanel dominates fragrance and L’Oreal is the highest ranked for skincare.

3. RECESSION PROOF

Despite the recession, women throughout the Middle Eastern region are making significantly fewer adjustments in their beauty consumption habits compared to the rest of the world. The UAE’s beauty and personal care market was valued at $1.1bn this year, says Epoc Messe Frankfurt, while the premium cosmetics market was valued at $570.8m in 2012, and predicted to rise to $684m by 2016, according to Euromonitor figures.

4. FIRST MALE SPA

Traditionally men in the Middle East have had negative attitudes towards the male beauty sector, which has previously been associated with unnecessary vanity and a lack of masculinity. However, as attitudes have evolved and the influence of the expat community has grown, a well-groomed appearance has now become an essential part of the modern Arabian man’s image – with particular emphasis on career success and social standing. This new demand has lead to Dubai’s first male-only urban spa. http://www.nstyleintl.com/uml/menu.html

5. KEEPING YOUR MAN

“I have noticed that Arab women spend a lot of time and effort in taking care of themselves, so as to look good for their husband.“ – Beauty Blogger Saudi. “‘Keeping their men interested is the key motivation for women in Saudi to stay attractive” – Butterfly’s research on beauty rituals, Jeddah.

6. HALAL

Halal cosmetics have been available in Malaysia for about 30 years but they have seen especially strong growth in recent years and now make up 10-20% of the total market. Demand for halal cosmetics worldwide is on the rise, driven not only by more affluent Muslim consumers but also growing interest in high quality, safe products. Estimates for the global halal market range from US$547bn, according to the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority, to US$2.1 trillion.

7. PLASTIC SURGERY IN GAZA

Gaza, home to 1.8 million people, has an unemployment rate of 45 percent and a per capita income of just $950 a year. It is therefore surprising to see a high demand for cosmetic surgery (by women and men), but the all the numbers are on the up, from clinic openings to consumer enquiries. As a known Gazan practician said: “women are all the same everywhere” (Reuters)

8. IRANIAN WOMEN’S SPENDING POWER

Iran has a large youth population, most of whom still live with their parents. They do not have to care too much about expenses” and therefore can spend a lot on beauty products. According to recent research by TMBA, an Iranian market research company, Iranian women 15-45 spend $7 each month on cosmetics, which is 10% of the average monthly salary.

9. SECRET SOCIAL MEDIA

Many Saudi girls are said to have several different Facebook accounts, each with different “personalities” that are used for different social networking groups. The different accounts allow girls to embrace different beauty looks, express different sides of their personality and embody characters that they cannot portray in real life.

10. WESTERN AROGANCE

Many brands still fail to fully understand and emotionally connect with their consumers. This very simple and basic insight says it all: “ Lebanese women like to see a mix of Westernised and Middle Eastern models in beauty advertisements, but we connect more to commercials that speak our language rather than subtitles.” (Beauty Expert, Lebanon)