A movement towards consuming more naturally grown foods is gradually reinventing the way Saudi Arabians approach health and well-being, and along with that is increasing awareness of, and demand for, high-quality natural skin products.
Sarah Al-Wassia is one of a handful of entrepreneurs redefining the Kingdom’s beauty market, by going towards a more natural handmade route when it comes to daily skin and hair care.
As a wife, mother, and entrepreneur, Al-Wassia started out in 2014 with the goal of creating a range of natural, handmade, beauty products, officially launching her brand, Nanu Body, in 2015. Nanu is available across around Jeddah (check out @nanubody on Instagram).
“Skincare is my passion! I always had an interest in creating something related to it and the transition from being a graphic designer to creating natural body products was a big decision,” Al-Wassia explained in a recent Arab News article.
“Besides being interested in nature and natural products, health and nutrition have always been a major part of my life… I wanted to take it further by focusing on what I apply on my skin. Hence, the idea of creating my very own natural handmade body products came and Nanu Body was launched.”
Currently pursuing a master’s degree in nutrition and herbal medicine, Al-Wassia’s advice to people transitioning to natural products is to actively seek knowledge about what natural alternatives are available, and to make sure that you expose your body to natural ingredients that have been well-researched and that you are well-informed about.
“I am 100% natural and this motivates me more to create natural products that are chemical free. Besides, I am obsessed with quality so I can make the best, most effective skincare,” she continued.
Today, the region is witnessing a major growth in its beauty industry, with cities such as Dubai competing with the world’s beauty capital South Korea (with a beauty industry said to be worth over $13 billion last year). In fact, according to Quartzy, the average employed woman in Saudi Arabia is reported to spend up to 80 percent of her earnings on beauty products each month.
In addition, Allure reported in 2016 that Saudi women are major players when it comes to self-care, with spending on cosmetics nearly doubling over the last 10 years across the Kingdom, “from $280 million in 2005 to $535 million in 2015, according to data compiled and analyzed by Euromonitor, a London-based market-research firm.”
So, in a regional market with high demand and awareness for what the best the beauty industry has to offer, it comes as no surprise that people are opting for more nature-centric brands such as Al-Wassia’a Nanu Body and Dubai’s Shiffa, founded in 2002 by Dr. Lamees Hamdan who was inspired to create a safe, natural, and high-end skincare line to prevent stretch marks while she was pregnant.