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Markets & trends

Beauty market keeps up with the empowerment of black women in Brazil

Although black beauty products are still considered a niche category, consumers are finding more options than ever before.

Jomar Beltrame, VP at Sistema Embelleze

Jomar Beltrame, VP at Sistema Embelleze

Women worldwide are united by the endless pursuit of beauty standards set by the fashion and beauty industries. But in a mixed-raced country such as Brazil, European-centric standards appear to be especially out of touch with reality.

According to the Brazilian Statistics and Geography Institute (IBGE), over half (53,6%) of the country’s population define themselves as black or mixed race. Nevertheless, black women are still largely absent from media imagery and mainstream lifestyle platforms, and products for black skin and afro-textured hair are fairly limited. The result is a market consisting of 104 million potential customers being relegated to niche status.

In recent years, however, more and more Brazilian women are going natural and reclaiming their racial identity by embracing their hair’s curls and wearing makeup products that accentuate, rather than attenuate, darker shades of skin. The exaltation of black beauty is otherwise echoed in recent episodes such as Sabrina de Paiva’s victory in the 2016 Miss São Paulo beauty contest and Vogue’s praising of black actress Thaís Araújo as “Brazil’s most stylish TV star”. The magazine’s August issue highlighted not only her looks, but also her activism against racism and prejudice.

The celebration of naturally-textured, kinky hair and the search for products that enhance its beauty is a trend that is gaining strength in Brazil, according to Sistema Embelleze’s VP Jomar Beltrame. In 2014, the brand debuted an exclusive curly hair care line that quickly took off and unfolded into 60 different items, including shampoos, conditioners, hair masks and styling products.

Some three years ago, we identified a growing demand for products for ethnic hair, which walked hand-in-hand with the empowerment of curly-haired women in Brazil. We realized it was time to invest in a new segment, so we launched the Meus Cachos (My Curls) hair care range,” says Beltrame. The newly launched line Rituais Meus Cachos (My Curls Rituals) within this range has products made of vegetable oils and active ingredients that help texturize and moisturize hair, while also reducing frizz.

Beltrame believes this trend is not just a fad. “We are continuously running focus groups and tests not only to keep up with this growing demand but also to remain ahead in product innovation,” he says.

The development of beauty products targeted at the black population in Brazil is as recent as the 1990s, as Amanda Braga, author of ‘The History of Black Beauty in Brazil’, points out. In the makeup market, this movement is even more subtle, with a limited product offer and little advertising. Quem Disse, Berenice? is one of the few brands to feature black women in a handful of ad campaigns and to invest in a more diverse color palette that caters to different skin tones. The brand offers over 100 lipstick colors, 70 eye shadows and 50 nail polishes. Foundations, concealers and powders are some of the products created exclusively for darker skin.

We conducted a thorough research on the different skin tones of Brazilian women and came up with a scale of 18 different shades, which allow our customers to find the one that best matches their skin. A total of 250 women from 50 different ancestries and 48 skin tones were involved in the study,” says Marcella Nogueira, makeup and fragrance manager at Quem Disse, Berenice?.

Granado’s Phebo brand, well known for its soaps, also offers concealers, powder blushes and foundations for darker skin tones in its makeup line, released in 2012. The products are paraben-free and were developed to suit black skin’s natural oiliness.

Amanda Veloso

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© 2016 - Brazil Beauty News - www.brazilbeautynews.com

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