Cost hurdles remain for organic cosmetics in Middle East despite ‘high level’ of awareness: Study

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Irrespective of education or age, cost continues to impede use of organic cosmetics amongst women in Saudi Arabia (Getty Images)
Irrespective of education or age, cost continues to impede use of organic cosmetics amongst women in Saudi Arabia (Getty Images)

Related tags Middle east Saudi arabia Organic cosmetics Organic cosmetic ingredients Consumers

Female consumers in Saudi Arabia are highly aware of organic cosmetics and the environmental implications of these products, but price remains a factor impeding use among many, a study finds.

Writing in Cosmetic Dermatology​, researchers from Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal University conducted an online survey amongst 413 adult women in Saudi, aged 18-50 years, to investigate attitudes, awareness and practices related to organic cosmetics. The research – designed by two dermatologists – aimed to plug a gap in the literature around demand and awareness of organic cosmetics in the region and shed light on any implications for the derma category.

“Most studies related to attitudes/purchasing intentions toward cosmetics have been done in the context of marketing or business studies. However, considering the increasing demand of organic cosmetics, dermatologists also need to be aware of the options available for patients who would prefer such products and of the importance of environmental sustainability while prescribing cosmetic and self-care products,”​ the researchers wrote.

Majority of ME consumers aware of organic cosmetics

Findings showed a “high level of awareness”​ of organic cosmetics across all age groups, with 81.8% agreeing or strongly agreeing that cosmetics with organic ingredients were better for the environment and 56.4% noting they would prefer to use cosmetics with organic ingredients.

However, whilst 67.3% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that ingredients in cosmetics needed to be environmentally friendly, only 46.7% regularly checked ingredient details before use. Moreover, just 48.1% of respondents were willing to pay extra for organic cosmetics – a factor that varied little according to age or education.

“Although organic cosmetics were preferred by the majority, cost appeared to be a factor impeding actual use,”​ the researchers wrote.

More potential amongst younger consumers?

Whilst the cost of organic cosmetics remained an impeding factor for Middle Eastern female consumers, irrespective of age or education, findings did show younger respondents were “more likely to prefer organic” ​overall. And this, the researchers said, presented certain opportunities.

“It is possible that younger minds are more impressionable and more likely to practice healthy and environment-friendly behaviours in the selection of products they use. Increasing awareness and knowledge about the benefits of organic cosmetics in young age groups could go a long way in consolidating this behaviour pattern as they grow older as well,”​ they wrote.

Increasing this awareness, however, had to be combined with industry efforts to produce quality cosmetics that were cost effective and easily available, they said. Standardisation of terms and quality standards would also continue to be “essential”​  for organic cosmetics worldwide, they added.


Source: Cosmetic Dermatology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.111/jocd.13909
Title: “Attitudes toward organic cosmetics: A cross-sectional population-based survey from the Middle East”
Authors: F. Kaliyadan, M. Al Dhafiri and M. Aatif 

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