One of the most interesting frontiers in the field of Cosmetics is Ethnocosmesi, a topic of absolute topicality in the era of globalization and multiethnic society in which we live. The coexistence of different cultures, religions, races and nationalities is placing increasingly specific demands on the market to meet the needs of a very heterogeneous target of customers.
If each geographical area has its own specificities, the same happens with the people who live there and with products related to the care and well-being of people. The cosmetics used by people living in a temperate climate cannot be the same as those living in North Africa or Sub-Saharan Africa, Northern Europe or some tropical island, because each population has its own histophysiological peculiarities.
To be truly effective, cosmetics must therefore be able to respect not only this physiological evidence but also the ethical, religious and cultural component of the various groups to which they belong.
For cosmetic companies, it represents a new challenge to measure and deepen Research and Innovation in a direction that brings man back to the center, responding exactly to the new “customer-centric” vision of Humanistic Cosmetics.
After a careful analysis of the numbers of the multicultural market and in collaboration with the Anthropo-Relational Laboratory, I have opened Research and Development centers in Cameroon, China, the Middle East, the United States and Latin America to study the characteristics of hair and skin of specific ethnic groups, rituals and beauty secrets, tastes related to fragrances and the traditional use of endemic plants. These research poles represent an enormous wealth of feedback and solid support in the constant creation of Beauty products ethically designed and developed in collaboration with local populations.
Scientific research has gone deep into the analysis of dermatological traits of the various ethnic groups that populate the planet, and in the cosmetic field have been identified several characteristics that distinguish these groups. But despite everything, the knowledge and professional techniques to be used to respond to these needs, in the West remain unknown to most people. It is not possible to perform the same treatments, for example, on an Afro hair and an Asian hair because both have a genetic structure that is profoundly different from each other. If these aspects are not taken into account, the damage is insured.
In fact, black people’s hair is typically curly, thin, dehydrated and has a flattened oval cross-section. The sebum – given the structure of the hair – can not slide along the length, leaving it dry, porous and easy to break. The habit of braiding them, ironing them with heat and smoothing chemicals causes an additional fragility by altering their structural components.
There are various types of black hair classified according to the degree of width of the curl in a scheme that assigns a name and a number in order to refer to products and rituals more suitable to treat them specifically. The management of hair worn in a natural way “Hair Natural Afro” depends on many factors such as porosity, dryness, skin sensitivity, tips, hair length or the definition of the curl. In addition to a whole series of applications of suitable products.
This type of hair needs very moisturizing, conditioning, and untangling products that aim to reduce the Shrinkage effect of the lengths, i.e. the ability of the hair to curl when dry. On the most curly also affects the ’80-90% of their real length.
Very different structure of Asian hair known to be straight with a round cross section, a rather large diameter and in women tend to become rough, tangled and knotted. Having high pigmentation, even partial color removal changes the condition of the superficial cuticle making the hair porous and easy to break.
Inclusion is the founding concept of Ethnocosmetics. Inclusiveness is a term that has become part of the cosmetic language to affirm a new way of understanding Beauty and self care, which includes without excluding anyone anymore, using science and knowledge to enhance the authenticity of each person in respect of his taste, his culture, his skin color, his hair type, his habits and his religion.
In this regard, there are more and more requests on the market for Halal certified cosmetic lines to meet the needs of Muslim consumers; considering that today we are talking about a Muslim population of about 1.8 billion in the world.
Halal Cosmetics (lawful) means cosmetics formulated, produced, packaged, stored, distributed in a way that complies with the regulations of a certification body that guarantees Halal status. All products that can be ingested, injected or that enter the body through the mucous membranes or pores of the skin can be certified. The raw materials, packaging and image used for communication are also analyzed for certification purposes. Halal cosmetics is a growing trend in Europe and the rest of the world, with a turnover that has more than tripled in two years. 80% of cosmetics sold in Islamic countries come from Europe, with a clear preference for Italian and French cosmetics.
Today it is necessary to face the problem of the structural and functional diversity of the various types of skin and hair, an issue that will become increasingly topical both for cosmetology and for medical-aesthetic treatments in a multi-ethnic society. The secret is therefore to rely on science and never stop learning: the result on a personal and professional level will be guaranteed.