Iranians And Their Love For German Discounter Store Cosmetic Brands

Cien Haarspülung Professional Lidl Iran Export Embargo Paisley economy haircare skincare generic no name photo by Sharareh Shahedali

These tubes you see here are hair conditioners by Cien, a cosmetic line of German supermarket chain Lidl. I don’t know if the conditioner is good, I have never used it and this is not a product review in particular. Though I have to say that I use their anti dandruff shampoo and it really helps with my dry and sensitive scalp, I swear not an easy task with the water quality we have in Cologne.

I did not buy the conditioners for myself but to send them to my family members in Iran on request. It did wonder me why on all the options we have available in Germany exactly this discounter brand got chosen.

Apparently not only Cien but all those discount store brands like Aldi’s Ombia and drugstore chain DM’s Balea etc. are hype stuff in my country of birth. And people don’t go for them because they’re cheap, for Iranians these brands absolutely don’t come cheap! Mark up can be pretty extreme considering the difficulties how these products are brought into the country.

So why is it that people go crazy like if it’s some Chanel about those skincare and cosmetics of brands we consider no-name here in the land of their production?

First of all look at that improved packaging! These seem nothing like the generics they are. On the contrary the packaging is glossy and classy with very appealing color and labeling choices. Next the quality of contents in German brands is usually very high. Everything gets tested and made sure it will cause no harm. Despite still sporting a snobbish attitude I also do use a lot of German generics, too because admittedly they perform good and don’t make me cry about the money I loose on every use. Which lets us get to the next point: marketing. Iranian produced beauty-, skin- and haircare gets a bad rep in Iran itself which I don’t really understand. Of course that new chemical wonder against age with a ton of active substances will be more likely thrown unto the market by a big Western company with billions to back it up but come on your everyday shampoo and lotion? The Middle East is rich in natural resources and remember the Silk Road? Once the flow of oils and perfumes went the other way and these resources haven’t dried up actually. This only shows how people in emerging countries are the next to fall victim to industrialized and globalized companies. Like if the West has something better to offer than they already had? But people want high-end cosmetics and business savvy people will exploit the circumstance that foreign brands don’t have distributors in emerging and developing economies and will market cheap no-name stuff as the new Chanel and will charge over the top for it.


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