Cosmetics and Cosmetic Surgery in Iran
If we rely on news reports, we might assume that Iranian women stay covered up and live in a self-effacing way. But a recent study done by an Iranian think tank and published in a monthly Iranian marketing magazine found that Iranian women are among the world’s top consumers of cosmetics and increasingly enthusiastic consumers of cosmetic surgery.
There is an Iranian tradition called “hijab” that requires that women cover themselves entirely with loose-fitting clothes and keep their hair covered. Also, it is forbidden to wear makeup in Iranian government offices.
But according to one Eldad Pardo, a professor at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, Iranian culture has always had a strong appreciation of beauty.
- “I’m not at all surprised there is this interest in cosmetics in Iran,” he said in an interview. “Iranian culture and particularly Persian culture has always been exceptional in their emphasis of beauty, aesthetics, art, fashion, design and poetry, much more than anywhere else in the Middle East.”
Despite attempts by religious police to enforce hijab, women and girls between about 15 and 45 years of age, along with many Iranian men, are making Iran the second-largest market for cosmetics in the Middle East. Urban centers are filled with women and girls sporting elaborate makeup. Products like anti-wrinkle creams and face masks, as well as good quality shaving creams are apparently easy to bring into the country and are widely used.
Iranians are also leading in rhinoplasty, and this has been in news reports since at least early 2005. In a 2006 report, a university student named only Hussein was scheduled for nose surgery and told a reporter:
- “Now it’s really normal but of course 10 years ago if you were a boy and had a nose job everyone would laugh at you and make fun of you. But now it’s not like that — lots of people are doing it.”
Women are thought to have led the way in rhinoplasty popularity, since when following the strict dress requirements, only their nose was visible. Now many men have cosmetic surgery and in Tehran there are over 3,000 plastic surgeons operating thriving businesses.
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