This story first appeared in the December 11, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
While Israelis are looking for luxe products in skin care, what sells in Israeli cosmetics exports is anything to do with the Dead Sea, the Israeli lake known for its mineral-rich waters. At least 50 companies make products based on the minerals of the Dead Sea. According to the Israel Export Institute, the local industry exports an annual $165 million of Dead Sea cosmetics and toiletries to world markets. In order to be awarded the Dead Sea label for mineral content, requirements are stringent: Bath salts or mud must contain nearly 100 percent Dead Sea material, while skin products that are for the face or eyes require lower concentrations. Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories is the most well known of the product makers, although there are others, including L’Oréal subsidiary Interbeauty, which manufactures the Natural Sea Beauty line, specializing in spa-oriented cosmetics from the Dead Sea.