Beautyworld – Middle East
I just visited Dubai for a holiday and, as a very pleasant surprise, my trip got combined with a ticket to Dubai’s Beautyworld Exhibition at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, UAE. Held from 27-29 May 2014, my access pass was organised for by my friend and fellow makeup artist, Dubai based Eirini Hannah.
The exhibition, the 19th one held, is put together annually by Epoc Messe Frankfurt GmbH, one of the world’s leading trade show organisers. It was huge, with over 1300 exhibitors, covering everything from manufacturing, beauty packaging, well being, spa, fragrances, general beauty products, cosmetics, hair styling and nails. A number of stands were offering treatments at special exhibition rates, or for demo purposes. You could have a manicure, a pedicure, get your teeth whitened and have your hair styled, all as onlookers walked by, watching the talents of the beauticians and specialists conducting their treatments. To be honest, it’s exactly what you would expect to find at this type of event.
Visiting the exhibition, I saw that there are differences in the beauty industry in the Middle East, compared to the UK. I guess I hadn’t given it consideration before, but the number of men in the industry, visiting and working on the stands was far higher than that of similar beauty exhibitions held in the UK. The number of buyers (again mostly male) attending actual booked meetings with exhibitors was very popular too. These could be organised by an online registration and booking system, which I had a look at before attending the exhibition. An appointment was simple to arrange and meant that you could have pre arranged meetings with companies you wanted to see, and not waste precious time during your day.
Being held in the Middle East, not surprisingly, the majority of stands exhibiting were Asian, significantly outnumbering the European and American beauty brands. That wasn’t a bad thing for a UK makeup artist, beauty product reviewer and writer! Not knowing the vast number of companies there meant that I got to try lots of new and unknown brands that I probably wouldn’t have ever discovered. I met some talented and experienced personnel from these companies and I got to try some great products from a completely different market.
Afrina Cosmetics had the biggest range of powder eye shadows and blushers, making up bespoke palettes for you. With superb prices and fabulous pigments, my friend bought a refillable palette of 15 colours – 5 blushers, 5 matte natural shades from beige to brown to black and 5 shimmery eye shadows. A great purchase from a UAE based firm, local and previously unknown to her.
One of the other makeup brands, Paese Cosmetics, had a gorgeous illuminating makeup primer that I fell in love with, as well as a range of long lasting lipsticks and eye shadows and some great foundations, for a variety of skin types. Once I persuaded them to actually allow me to buy some stock from their shelves (because I was visiting Dubai and wouldn’t be able to visit their store), I invested in the primer and one of their shimmery eye shadows too.
‘Not selling’ wasn’t unusual for the stands, many of them were there just for an awareness campaign and weren’t selling anything despite having fully stocked shelves! But more disappointing was that some staff working on their stands didn’t even know the prices for their products, when they were launching and when they would be available to buy in Dubai, or elsewhere in the world for that matter. I won’t name the stands that I encountered this with, but I will say that wasn’t very impressive!
GHD made its debut at Beautyworld this year, with ‘Hair Education’; the creative team presented 9 shows daily on the stand, and just walking past you could get a great feel for their top styling techniques and tips. OPI also had an enormous stand, with nail technicians competing over the three days to win free trips to OPI USA. The Dermalogica stand gave them a presence, and we easily found them, but blink and you’d miss the small St Tropez stand tucked away in one of the more dominated fragrance and perfume halls. They were there with exhibition prices for their products, including their brilliant new tanning product, Luxe Dry Oil. Whilst you may nearly have missed their stand, don’t miss this new product!
It was also great to see some UK cosmetics firms there too. I spent time with the team from Stargazer who were making their usual trip to Beautyworld and had an amazing array of UV ‘glow in the dark’ face and body makeup and hair products. I even got to try out their UV hair chalk too, but I’ll write about that separately. We then had a demo from Chelsea Boutique on their exceptionally easy to use brow shaping kits, and bought some of their stunning real hair lashes – these are well worth investing in, the quality of the lashes is outstanding.
We also went and said hi to the team working the Atelier Paris Makeup Stand, who were happily demo’ing and selling their products. Twenty minutes later, and a hand covered in testers, I had a new waterproof liquid foundation to add to my kit!
Overall it was a really good experience, meeting and seeing other beauty products from across the world. It’s opened my eyes to try new global brands and I’ll be reviewing some of the products I tried and bought during my visit. I’ll post more product reviews online, so please come back and read about them.