Dubai: As one of the fastest growing beauty and personal care markets in the region, the UAE offers a lot of choice to consumers to shop from their favourite brands. There are several luxury and high-end options as well as mid-range and affordable brands to shop from.
In fact, the sheer choice can sometimes make the selection process quite daunting. Hence, creating a monthly budget for personal care and grooming is a good starting point to purchase the right product mix while keeping expenses under check.
For instance, researching for mostly herbal and non-animal tested personal care products across a mix of online platforms and pharmacies, coupled with special bundle offers, helped in keeping my monthly personal care expenses to under Dh250 for a household of two, excluding cosmetics and perfumes.
That said, the monthly spend on personal care varies widely based on usage, choice of products and brands. A 50 ml bottle of day cream, alone, from a luxury brand can cost approximately Dh700.
Take the example of Ras Al Khaimah-based communications specialist Afsaneh Baher who spends a “reasonable” amount on personal care products and facial treatments, in the range of Dh1,000 to Dh2,000 per month.
“Having experimented with various products from beauty shops, pharmacies, clinics and spas, I have now found a selection of face creams, masks and sunscreens within my budget,” said Afsaneh Baher.
Whereas Dubai-based airline industry professional Kristyna H. spends around Dh300 per month on personal care products and cosmetics. “Every six months, I buy a basic face cream from the hypermarket at Dh50. A make-up removal cream for Dh40 that also lasts for six months. My annual cosmetics spend is approximately Dh600. And I spend a total of Dh225 on haircare every month – including shampoo, conditioner and hair colour.”
Meanwhile, a UAE-based brand that specialises in luxury grooming products for men, The Grooming Lab sees its customers spend an average of Dh900 per quarter on skincare and haircare products, including face wash, face mask, moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner and hair styling products.
“Throw in some shaving products (Dh650) like brush, razor and soap and grooming products (Dh250) such as beard balm and oil and it adds another Dh900 to the quarterly personal care outlay,” said Zein Arbeed, founder and managing partner, The Grooming Lab.
A monthly budget bodes well
Be it online or a specialty store, supermarket or a mall-based kiosk and even in pharmacies, people can often get confused while selecting that right skincare or haircare option, owing to the wide range of products. But having an idea of product efficacy, tracking consumption patterns and a rough monthly budget helps in selecting the right product in the right quantity.
“Even though I am not very well planned about my monthly personal care consumption and spending, I try to maintain a rough math. Overall, I spend approximately Dh125 per month on personal care items,” shared Dubai-based veterinary nurse Robert Enriquez Pascual. “I try to bulk purchase items like soap, shampoo, body lotion, hand cream, toothpaste, toothbrush, disposable razor, deodorant from the hypermarkets, availing various deals. But then there are certain items, in my case a papaya face soap (Dh7.50), which I buy from a specific supermarket.”
As one of the fastest growing beauty markets in the region that boasts a decently strong purchasing power, a vast array of personal care products and brands are available in the UAE in different price ranges. While an average monthly budget for personal care depends on usage, choice of products and brands, refer to the table below for the cost of commercial, non-specialty products:
Add to the above certain extra costs for women’s hygiene products such as sanitary napkins. Depending on the brand, a pack of 30 costs anywhere between Dh12 and Dh15. For men, extra expenses include shaving gel (starting at Dh12/150 ml) and razor (Dh30/pack of 6). Of course, with the addition of more items – such as hair removal cream and wax strips, styling gel, aftershave lotion, face mask, lip balm and more – the monthly personal care expenses will rise for men, too.
Fragrance is yet another item that can easily add a few hundred dirhams to the monthly personal care expenses. “For almost 20 years, I have been using a particular Issey Miyake fragrance. A 100 ml bottle costs roughly Dh250 and lasts me for two to three months,” shared Rishi Talwalker, director at a Dubai-based PR firm. “That aside, every six months, I spend around Dh120 on hair wax and mousse.”
Tip #1: To optimise your personal care expenses, try to compare prices on platforms such as Pricena to find the most attractive deals from a wide range of stores and online marketplaces. From time to time, online platforms like Amazon.ae and noon.com also offer discounts on brands and products, proving to be cost effective options.
However, there is no one size fits all approach towards budgeting for personal care costs. Dubai resident Amit Gomes said, “While I look for deals and try to make price comparisons, I don’t follow it as a rule, because I purchase personal care products twice a year, spending approximately Dh400 annually on deodorant, moisturiser, sunscreen, hair wax and shaving accessories.”
Factor in grooming
Who doesn’t like a good pampering spa session or a relaxing head massage? But how often should we go for these salon-based services? There is no right or wrong answer because it all depends on our individual requirements.
Let’s start with men’s grooming, a market segment that has grown over the years due to an increased awareness and desire among men to maintain a preferred physical appearance.
For example, Talwalker visits the salon once a month and spends Dh300 on basic grooming, including haircut and ear and nose grooming, and an express facial. “After trying several salons in almost every price range, I finally found Chaps & Co. The stylist is aware of my grooming requirements and makes qualified suggestions too. The salon offers value for money through impeccable customer service and attractive promotions. In April, aligned with the school spring break, Chaps & Co. offered a ‘Dad and Lad Haircut’ promotion for Dh180, which would otherwise cost Dh205. My son and I availed the promotion, which was a fun experience.”
On the other hand, Pascual goes to a barbershop in Al Rigga every three months for a haircut and shave, spending Dh50.
While Gomes has stopped going to the salon altogether, post-COVID. “Earlier, I used to go to the salon every month spending a total of Dh100 on haircut, shave and face scrub. Since the lockdown, my wife and I have created a do-it-yourself (DIY) skin and haircare regime at home. I have also invested in a multi-grooming kit for beard and hair trimming.”
DIY is a great idea but may not be suitable for everyone. For instance, Georgia Ferrari-Stanford who teaches at the Gems Founders School prefers to trust a specialist. “In fact, I rarely experiment with salons, preferring to stick to one.” She visits the salon every two weeks to do nails and eyebrows. “Each time, I spend Dh200 in total. But I save on haircuts, which I need every six months.” In addition, she spends Dh180 twice a month to get her eyelash extensions put in.
Meanwhile, Kristyna spends Dh350 per month on nail care alone.
So, grooming expenses tend to widely vary between individuals, based on their needs. The good news is that there are several options for grooming in the UAE, and sky is the limit. You can opt for a super luxurious facial and spa experience in a five-star hotel using specialised products for your specific needs that might cost a few thousands of dirhams. But you could also select a mid-range option that promises efficacy and great service. At the other end of the spectrum are pocket-friendly salons that offer a decent experience as well. To get an idea of basic salon-based grooming costs, refer to the table below.
Having lived in the UAE for many years, Baher shared that her salon visits tend to increase during summer. “Due to exposure to sun and heat, I end up spending more on facial treatments during summer ranging anywhere between Dh1,000 and Dh1,500 a month.”
Tip #2: Most salons in the UAE offer monthly/annual promotions. Try to look out for these promotions to make your grooming sessions cost effective. I remember availing a promotion on Moroccan bath and facial for Dh250, which would otherwise cost Dh400.
Another thing to consider are the home salon services. In addition to numerous salons across the UAE offering different price structures, a legion of pocket-friendly home salon services has emerged.
For instance, home services platform Urban Company offers salon services at home. There are many options to choose from, with a monthly grooming package for women, including nail care, waxing, threading and a facial priced at Dh300. There is a similar package for men priced at Dh250, including haircut, shave, nail care, massage and facial. Compared to the basic, mid-range service options in salons, the Urban Company home salon service offers a saving of at least Dh250 for women and Dh140 for men.
A similar home salon service is offered by HomeCuts where a men’s grooming package is priced at Dh280, including haircare, shave and nail care. There is nailcare for women and haircut for children, all-inclusive at Dh215.