DUBAI — One of Sephora’s best-selling skin-care lines in the Middle East has landed in the U.S. market with a launch at nordstrom.com this month.
Shiffa, which means healing in Arabic, is the brainchild of Dr. Lamees Hamdan and a cult favorite among skin-care connoisseurs. The line uses natural and organic ingredients based on the principles of dermatology, aiming to give skin the tools it needs to repair itself.
“I’m my best customer,” said the mother of four, whose impetus to create Shiffa came from her own pregnancy when she searched for quality natural products to prevent stretch marks. When she couldn’t find it, she created one.
Hamdan blends the natural world with her medical background. “It’s important to realize that you sometimes do need other things for a product to be effective. I bridge the natural world with allopathic medicine,” she said. “There is a perception that my market is the ‘natural’ person. I get so upset when people think ‘It’s natural and not going to do much.’ Most of my clients aren’t interested in Shiffa because it’s natural or organic. They hear through the grapevine that it gives amazing results. And they are the La Prairie, Sisley, Creme de la Mer customers.”
Among star products is Healing Balm, a blend of 15 healing plants and herbs said to aids in alleviating eczema, psoriasis, rosacea; heal breakouts, burns or wounds; prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, and repair dry or damaged skin. The luxurious rose bliss balm is billed as an antiaging body balm that softens, hydrates, firms and rejuvenates.
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Hamdan divides her time between L.A. and Dubai. Her products are all made in the U.S. because she covets the quality of labs. Yet Shiffa was very much born in the Middle East, where it has been in spas and major retail outlets like Sephora for several years. “The Middle East is the hardest market. If we don’t make it here, you’re not going to make it anywhere,” she said. “Locals are so used to seeing things everywhere in the world. Shiffa competes with every major global brand.”
Despite the crowded landscape, Shiffa has hit on an underserved niche. Hamdan said her average customer is in her mid 30s, but she’s also seeing a large number of twentysomethings investing in the brand.
Hamdan is active on Snapchat and Instagram, sharing tips on health and wellness. Very few of her posts have to do with her own products. But she says it’s a place where she can share and also listen to what customers want.
She has also collaborated with her friend, celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, to create a line of hair supplements for Atkin’s line, Ouai.
Next up for Hamdan is a tool she is developing. Hamdan says retailers aren’t always ready to invest in tools, but her feedback from customers suggests there is high demand. Her jade roller sold out at Nordstrom stores earlier this month. She’s currently developing a new product which she will launch in February, a tool which will sell at a higher price point, close to $1,500. “The client is ready for a tool that’s antiaging and effective. They will spend $,1500 on it. The retailers aren’t always ready because they are looking at what’s less risky,” she said.