The face shows the results

Beauty able to save the world while Belarusian cosmetics storming the market

Beauty able to save the world while Belarusian cosmetics storming the market


We visited a Minsk perfumery and cosmetics factory, in 6 Volodko Street. Its workshops cover almost 24,000 square metres, employing over 300 staff. Hundreds of different products are made here and all enjoy worldwide demand. The manufacturing process is fascinating. Shampoo, liquid soap and toothpaste bubble in metal vats resembling giant pressure cookers. The products then rest for 3-5 days before they are sent to be packaged, mostly by hand. Finally, the boxes, bottles and tubes are transported to the warehouse to be distributed to the shops. The company has no branded shops of its own as it only entered the Belarusian market seven years ago; up to that point, 99 percent of all its goods were exported.


Customers even more often interested in cosmetic by domestic producers


Raw materials are the key, of course. “These are imported; we use the same raw materials as the big international companies that produce cosmetics, perfumery and pharmaceuticals. We only use Belarusian water and salt,” explains Director Irina Skuratovich, adding: the quality of the produce is examined at all stages — including when buying the raw materials, before and during production. Shampoos and creams are checked even before the packaging stage. A microbiologist takes a product at random to assess the appearance, weight, viscosity and whether it is easily taken out of the packaging. A sample of each batch is kept in the laboratory for three years (during its shelf life period). In addition, before making a product, it is artificially aged by placing it into an oven on a high temperature and creating excessive humidity. This shows how it will react to heat. Ms. Skuratovich explains that a laboratory responsible for clinical tests confirms the product’s quality and efficiency. There are none of this kind in Belarus so the samples are sent to Moscow. Volunteers test a new product for around six months. If the label says that a hand cream removes inflammation and tones the skin, then this must be true.

The sales markets speak for themselves; among them are Russia, the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Moldova, Iran, Slovakia and China. Moreover, even Israel — known for its Dead Sea cosmetics — has also demonstrated interest. The company director believes that Israel would not show interest in poor quality cosmetics. A series of products — under the ‘World of Tanks’ brand name — went on sale on May 9th. As Ms. Skuratovich explains, quality is not the key point here. It’s much more difficult to break the stereotype that Belarusian products should be 2-3 times cheaper than foreign ones. This is impossible if the product is to be of good quality. As sales are the best indicator of popularity, we visited some of their stockists.

Most Belarusian shop counters are filled with the so-called Belarusian ‘caring’ cosmetics. I’m attracted by shelves with the high quality ‘Revivor’ hair balsam; I used to buy this myself for many years. The shop assistant, Olga, confirms that the product sells well even now. Other products of the line — shampoos and hair masks — also enjoy popularity. In addition, buyers like local hand creams and makeup removers but mostly buy foreign decorative cosmetics (mascara, lipstick and foundations). However, a Russian TV host and a famous fashion expert — Evelina Khromchenko — has fallen in love with the Belarusian LUXVISAGE XXL mascara and has posted her preference on social networks.

Quality and demand produce results. An authoritative opinion is given by the cosmetologist, Alla Ilyuk, who has worked in this field for almost two decades. The specialist admits that our ladies are turning to Belarusian cosmetics more often. “On seeing good skin, I always ask women what cosmetics they use. Many say they are made in Belarus,” she says. “This pleases me enormously.” Most reviews refer to the care of young skin. This looks natural anyway owing to youth, mature skin is a different matter and needs much more help.

Unsurprisingly, Belarusian cosmetics are fast becoming an international brand. Our producers rival foreign firms as they use similar ingredients. A cream with extracts of caviar or snail mucin is made in Belarus as well but its foreign counterparts are more expensive. Clients openly admit that they often buy Belarusian cosmetics to take them to Russia, Ukraine or Poland. The mature skin VIP care series enjoys popularity even in America. According to the specialist, her relatives and friends are appreciative of Belarusian produce. Ms. Ilyuk recommends products such as those using tea tree oil which are perfect for problematic skin and just as effective as the foreign brands. The best evidence for a cosmetologist is, of course, to observe changes in the face first hand.


FIGURES


Most Belarusian shop counters are filled with the so-called Belarusian ‘caring’ cosmetics. I’m attracted by shelves with the high quality ‘Revivor’ hair balsam.

By Yelena Misnik
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