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Lack of knowledge on benefits and higher prices are just two of the barriers for the use of ethical cosmetics in Brazil

A study by REDS on the consumption of vegan, organic and natural beauty products reveals that 59% of the people are unaware of the benefits and 45% think the products are too expensive.

The market for vegan cosmetics is growing all around the world. In Brazil, it is believed that seven million people are vegans, meaning they do not use any product of animal origin or any products that have been tested on animals. The market for organic and natural beauty products is also promising. A recent study by global media platform Teads reveals that 62% of Brazilian women think that cosmetics should only be manufactured with natural or organic ingredients.

Ethical cosmetics face challenges in Brazil

Ethical cosmetics face challenges in Brazil

Although there is a growing interest in so-called ethical cosmetics, a study by Research Designed for Strategy (REDS) reveals that the sector still faces challenges in Brazil. A poll which interviewed women between 18 and 56 years old, who live in 6 of the country’s state capitals, shows that 66% of them do not use beauty products from this category.

"It is a market that arrived in Brazil very recently. Up until not so long ago, only small players were working on it. Visibility and access to these products was restricted to the people who would treat this use as a ’cause’. It was more than just a consumption decision", says Karina Milaré, partner and director at REDS.

According to the study, one of the barriers facing the sector is that 59% of Brazilian women do not know the benefits of vegan, organic or natural cosmetics. "Communication must focus on ’causes’, such as the fact that they respect animal lives and are less harmful to the environment. This is still important today, to foster awareness in consumers. However, from now on it is necessary to evolve to begin communicating and discussing the concrete effects of these products", says Milaré.

According to her, consumers who are looking for performance in their cosmetics products might not feel the attraction of the ethical appeal of natural cosmetics. "It is necessary to show that they have just as many benefits as the products they currently use", says REDS’ director.

Another reason that the women interviewed mention for not buying ethical cosmetics is the price. According to 45% of them, they are too expensive. "Even though Brazilians are willing to pay more for the correct products, the people’s financial situation hasn’t improved in the last few years. On the contrary", says Milaré.

According to Márcio Accordi, director of natural cosmetics brand Biozenthi, people are interested in using these products, but they cannot pay more for them. "A large part of the population is willing to help to change the world, but they cannot use vegan, organic or natural beauty products because they don’t have the resources. Financially, this can harm their budgets. Therefore, they end up choosing simple cosmetics, that they already know or are used to", he says.
Still, Accordi believes that the increased demand for ethical products is here to stay. "It is ongoing and it is increasing every year. We are making cosmetics production increasingly more plant based. As the industry is able to offer environmentally friendly products, that are higher quality and with better prices, this sector will reach this sector of the consumer market that wants to buy, but is not yet doing so", says the Biozenthi director.

Milaré notes that large beauty companies have only very recently started working with ethical cosmetics. "It has been a little less than three years since these brands have begun to work to make their formulas vegan or organic. I strongly believe that the actions of the industry will determine the future of the sector and the speed of its growth", she says.

Renata Martins

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