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Companies & industry

Potential of the organic and natural cosmetics market in Brazil is still underexploited

Consumers who are more environmentally aware and health conscious are looking for beauty products that are natural and sustainable but the industry faces hurdles.

Sales of organic products within the Brazilian food industry are growing at around 35% a year, according to the Organics Brasil Project, but the cosmetics sector is lagging behind. The latest survey carried out by Euromonitor pointed to a much more modest increase of 7.4% in the production of organic and natural beauty items between 2010 and 2012.

Surya Brasil's Sapien Women range

Surya Brasil’s Sapien Women range

Brazil’s rich biodiversity gives it an enormous potential in this market but the cosmetics industry faces difficulties. One of these is the absence of specific legislation covering the industry. The law that regulates the productive chain and sales of organic products in general has been in force since 2011, but no specific rules have been established for the cosmetic industry to date. Some companies overcome this by obtaining certification from international organizations, such as France-based Ecocert, to prove that their products are genuinely organic or natural. However, not all producers can afford the costs involved in obtaining such certifications.

The lack of specialist suppliers of organic ingredients is also an obstacle, with just over 5,000 suppliers listed in the National Organic Producers Register by 2012 - a relatively small number when it comes to manufacturing on an industrial scale. Another problem the organic beauty industry faces is the consumer’s lack of knowledge and awareness. However, this situation has been changing.

Brazilians are becoming increasingly more interested in cosmetics and personal care products that are free of ingredients that could be harmful to their health as well as the environment. “We have noticed a really big change in the way consumers look for information. This leads them to be more aware of products that combine beauty and health in their purchase decision process,” says Clelia Angelon, founder of Surya Brasil, a Brazil-based company that leads the market in the production of natural, organic and vegan products.

Surya Brasil was founded in 1995, when Angelon was looking for a less aggressive coloring product for her own hair. The brand is committed to environmental and animal protection and has thrived by creating organic products that are not tested on animals or use animal ingredients. Its products are currently sold in over 30 countries.

The company has 150 items in its catalogue, divided into 10 different lines, including Henna hair coloring powder, 100% vegan lip balms, and the Sapien Women range – with bath, body and hair care products. “We have exciting new releases in the pipeline. One of the highlights is an organic nail polish remover from the Exotic Animals range, using nature-friendly solvents and vegetable glycerin. Its oil deeply nourishes the nails and stops them from becoming dry and whitish. The product does not contain acetone and is certified by Ecocert, which guarantees the origin of its organic ingredients,” says Angelon.

VeggieBox with products

VeggieBox with products

Surya Brasil was one of the first Brazilian brands chosen by cousins Mila Amaro and Priscila Melo when they launched the e-commerce e-cosmétique in March of this year, focusing on organic, natural and vegan cosmetics. “We created the website as we have great faith in this kind of product ourselves as consumers,” says Amaro. E-cosmétique’s portfolio includes around 400 products manufactured without synthetic or artificial components and made by companies that are concerned about sustainability. “We want to take care of our body in a healthy way and make a contribution to the well-being of people and the planet,” says Melo.

Another recently created company that is also exploiting this niche is VeggieBox. This subscription service delivers a monthly box of natural cosmetics that are cruelty-free and free of animal ingredients to its clients’ homes. VeggieBox helps customers discover products created in a responsible way by taking great care in their selection. “We rely on the help of bloggers specialized in organic products and check up on all the ingredients to ensure they really are certified,” says co-owner Samyra Cunha.

Renata Martins

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