Beauty, a National Obsession

October 2014
Beauty plays a key part in Brazil, which is a real human lab country in regards of the diversity of its populations and tastes.

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A customer with a hairdresser in a Walter's Coiffeur L'Oréal Professionnel salon, in Brazil, in October 2011.

beauty in bresil - 976X549 - 2

A customer with a hairdresser in a Walter's Coiffeur L'Oréal Professionnel salon, in Brazil, in October 2011.

Beauty holds a preponderant place in Brazil.

Brazil's Métis society is one of the richest in the world and as such represents a human-scale laboratory to study beauty-related questions: tastes, habits, daily routines ... In terms of existing hair-types - based on curve diameter, curl (wavy to tight), number of curls, and other measures - Brazilians cover the global spectrum. This is also true for skin tones - from light to dark.

As such, glorifying the body is an essential value in Brazilian culture, and consequently Brazilians take special care to stay fit and look beautiful every day.

Body Culture

Celebrating the body and its vitality is fundamental to Brazilian culture. Beach sports, but also a variety of academies, or fitness and weight-training centres, are ubiquitous in Brazil. Brazilian beach culture, a true social scene, takes cultivating and valorising the body beyond pure aesthetics and extends it into a way of life.

Weekly manicures, three or four monthly visits to beauty salons, and countless hours of care at home are typical: Brazilian women are expected to be "divina" from 12 to 90 years old.

Brazilians' ideal body is the corpo de violão - or guitar-shaped body - in reference to the instrument's curves. Although a sculpted body rid of fat is supreme, a rounded bottom is often appreciated. The wish for breasts that are in harmony with this desired silhouette sometimes motivates women to undergo plastic surgery.

Tanning is elevated to an art. A natural looking tan is aimed for and is achieved by regular exfoliation and applying a variety of moisturising creams: 96% of Brazilian women use moisturising products and consider them to be essential to their beauty routine(1).

In the Samba's homeland, the body is valued as an absolute capital. Time and money is invested to resemble beauty icons such as Camila Pitanga, Taís Araújo or Isabeli Fontana.

The Brazilian Art of Beauty also contributes to the country's cultural reach and influences care rituals around the world: hair straightening, massages...

Hair, an Asset for Seduction

Brazil is one of the most important global market for hair-care products. Brazilian women do not hesitate to invest considerably in their hair and go regularly to hair salons. On average, they spend between 20 to 35 minutes daily(2) on hair-care and use five products(3). Brazilian women's particular attention to hair is not trivial: hair is considered to be an essential element in the construction of self-esteem and contributes towards feeling good, attractive and admired.

Modifying one's hair is a Brazilian beauty trend. 58% of women admit, according to an IBOPE study, that they have already altered their hair: coloured - blond is the current obsession - straightened, and always long and silky. Figures reveal that the number of Brazilian women with straight hair reached 54% this year compared to 42% in 2010(4).

The 5 products most used in hair care rituals include perfumed pre-shampoo - applied before shampooing to ease styling and protect hair from aggressive elements such as hard water - and masks, for intense moisturising to discipline rebel hair. Brazilian women are also very open to novelty and do not hesitate to buy and to test new products that they discover.

Some of these innovations are exported, such as Brazilian hair straightening. This Keratin-based procedure, developed in Brazil in 1999, straightens hair without damaging it and makes it shiny and soft. Although Keratin's straightening effect fades over a few months and the procedure must be renewed, the results are such that the procedure has become a phenomenon in hair salons around the world.

The Amazon - an Extraordinary Source of Beauty Ingredients

In their quest for beauty, Brazilian women exemplify the dichotomy between sophistication and nature. For if a large number of plastic surgery clinics exist, Brazil also holds one of the richest biodiversity reservoirs on the planet, and a trove of treasures used for beauty and health: the Amazon.

This forest is made up of over 75,000 varieties of trees and 150,000 categories of plants. The ingredients that are extracted from the Brazilian flora are used in ancestral rituals by local tribes and are also often used daily by Brazil's overall population.

Two examples, among the other plants known for their beauty virtues, include the acai berry that is used in cosmetics as an active revitalizing and antioxidant ingredient, and pracaxi oil, used in shampoos such as in the Fructis range.

A plethora of Amazonian plants that have proven qualities are used in star products developed by leading cosmetics brands both for national and international markets. Murumuru butter is one such ingredient. It is extracted from a seed and is appreciated for its lauric acid as well as its smooth texture. This is one of the essential active ingredients in L'Oréal's Absolute Control line of hair products sold in Brazilian hair salons, and around the world.

(1) Brazilian Association of the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Industry (Abihpec), 2013
(2) L’Oréal Brazil
(3) L’Oréal Brazil
(4) L’Oréal Brazil
(5) L’Oréal Brazil