In this edition of Qatar 365, we explore the booming beauty care business, meeting the entrepreneurs and social media influencers, and also how it is breaking down social barriers.
Skincare, fragrance, makeup, and haircare are expected to hit more than 500 billion euros in revenue by the end of this year and it's on a rapidly increasing trajectory in Qatar.
Fashion trends may come and go but a flawless complexion is always in season. The beauty industry has seen dramatic growth in recent years. Factors like the pandemic, working from home, and social media, have led to more people investing in the way they look, making this a multi-billion-euro global industry.
Entrepreneur Shaikha Al Mudahka, CEO of Malathii Skincare, has always been passionate about skincare. The mum of three launched her own line in search of an effortless routine.
"What got me into skincare was, I wanted simplicity. I am keen to have the perfect, nice, very simple routine. So, I started my skincare with my first three serums. I am very proud of the name Malathii. It means ‘sanctuary’ in Arabic and it is meant for all girls to have a sanctuary of skincare products." Explains Shaikha.
Sheikha is an avid scuba diver. So, the range she developed is also environmentally friendly. She attributes her success to her loyal customers.
"Word of mouth was a huge factor for us, and our niche market. It’s very hard to cater to all skin types, however, we focus on simplicity, and you will find whatever you need in our range of skincare products." Says Sheikha.
Qatar's beauty industry is booming, and experts predict exponential growth for the future. Luxury brands like these are always popular. However, the demand for natural organic products is also on the rise.
Beauty with a conscience and empowering female farmers
Atlaad is the brainchild of co-founders Amna al Muhannadi and Rawan al Fares.
This dynamic duo found a gap in the market and created natural cruelty-free products with an emphasis on healing.
"The name of Atlaad in the Arabic dictionary also means glory, heritage, and authenticity. The reason why I decided to start Atlaad, is the love and passion for not only beauty but wellness and health." Explains Amna, co-founder of Atlaad.
With organic skincare products redefining the beauty industry, Amna and Rawan have made it their objective to be more than just another natural brand.
As well as educating their customers and promoting sustainable beauty practices, a core part of their business model is giving back, by empowering female farmers in developing countries.
"We do believe that supporting women in other countries is a main value of our brand. Because we are women, and being a woman, and having your own business is not easy. So, what we do at Atlaad is support women by buying our raw materials in countries like Africa, India, and the Middle East. And I encourage anyone when you want to source raw materials, please look to these women who are in need of these kinds of businesses in order to support their families and you support actually the community by doing this.” Says Rawan, co-founder of Atlaad.
From luxury products to ‘beauty with a conscience’, these entrepreneurs in Qatar are proving that ethical skincare matters, as more and more people are prioritising a regular skincare routine.
Social media influencers
In this social media age, there’s no denying that mastering the art of online marketing is the key to success for brands. People are looking for products that work well, social media has become a powerful tool - more engagement, more followers, more business.
One of Qatar’s most-followed influencers, Haneen Alsaify, went from blogging about beauty and fashion to launching her own brand, which is rapidly growing into a business empire.
She explained to Euronews that coming from a chemical engineering background, helped her pursue a beauty business.
"It's somehow the same because in chemical engineering we study the process of everything. So, anything you have in mind, you want to turn it into a product. This is chemical engineering, and this is what I'm doing in the beauty industry because I believe that when I started first, I wanted the girls to feel beautiful, to try new products, to try new things, to give them new, let's say, inventions in the beauty sector."
Her 'By Haneen' range of eyelashes has become a staple in every Qatari woman’s beauty box and Haneen explains what’s different about them and what made her make them.
"The main thing or the game changer about these lashes is that they are magnetic lashes. So, they are not the normal lashes that people use, and they stick them with glue. So, when you stick them with glue, many of them, get damaged easily. So, it's like a one-time use. So, the whole concept was changed thanks to the magnets, of course, because when we use the magnet, it's a small magnet strip. And let's say, [this is] the revolution that's happened in the lashes industry."
Beauty and skincare brands from the Middle East are becoming increasingly popular internationally. Entrepreneurs and influencers like Haneen how become crucially important when it comes to reaching a target market and also when marketing a brand.
"My set of goals was initially, before I become an entrepreneur, it was that I want to deliver to the people that [the] Muslim woman can be still modest and successful and she can do whatever people said she cannot do. Then, my career changed to be an entrepreneur and a businesswoman. And of course, this platform helped me a lot in my businesses. But I'm not saying it's the only thing because, you know, business and entrepreneurship anyway, it means so much work. So, even if I rely on my social media platforms, it won't be that successful if I don't have the other part supporting it."
Haneen has said that she wanted to inspire every girl to be beautiful and elegant from the inside out. So Euronews asked her exactly what beauty means to her and how difficult it is to remain 'real' in the social media age.
"I used to make sure that the Haneen behind the camera is the same person as in front of the camera, which is… sometimes really hard. I keep reminding myself that I do have a message to deliver. And this message will influence many teenagers and young women. I use my platform always to spread a good message. For example, I encourage women to be educated, to read more books, and to do good things for themselves. The true beauty to me, I believe, first of all, is to be your own self, because if we all want to look like someone or to be someone else, or to be in a shape or a specific character, this is not beauty. This is just like we are copying each other. I see the beauty in everything. I mean the differences between us, this is the beauty and this is the real beauty." Explains Haneen.
The multi-billion euro industry of male beauty products
Gone are the days when men’s skincare routine would consist of just soap, water, and a bottle of 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner. Male beauty products are now part of a multi-billion euro industry. In fact, statistics expect the male grooming market to exceed 100 billion euros in the next five years.
Abdulla Al Abdulla is not only passionate about the beauty industry - he’s a part of it. The entrepreneur and social media influencer launched his own unisex luxury skincare line two years ago. He believes skincare basics should be high-quality, but also reasonable in price.
"My initial goal was to simplify skincare for the everyday person. So, we started with a facial cleanser and a moisturiser. So, there are, for me, two essential products that everybody should be using. Here in the Middle East, we don’t have any skincare brands led by a man. Everything is very female-oriented, very geared towards that, so I wanted to kind of create genderless products." Explains Abdulla.
When it comes to self-care, he believes more men in the region are being more open-minded about using skincare products.
"I think everybody should have access to skincare, I think it’s something that is super essential. Just like water, you’re hydrating from within but with skincare, you’re hydrating the exterior." Says Abdulla.
There was once a stigma attached to manicures, pedicures, and facials which were seen as only for women, but that’s now changing, slowly but surely.
"Self-care makes me feel good about myself. Taking that 10-15 minutes to get ready in the morning, doing my skincare routine, you know, taking time to get a facial or going to the spa or, you know, laying by the beach. It makes me feel really good about myself. So, it’s kind of like a moment of pause, especially when the days are so hectic and it’s really important to kind of have that moment of peace in your day." Explains Abdulla.
From skincare to makeup, to men’s grooming, it’s clear the beauty industry in Qatar is thriving and more than keeping up with global trends.