15 Min Read |
Ever wondered how influencers in Dubai manage to look so good? How everything about them seems to be flawlessly on point every time you see one of their selfies online? The simple answer is money. They may look like they are living charmed and pampered fairytale life, not knowing what a day’s work looked like, but it takes a lot of money and hard work to look flawless all the time. Keeping up appearances is an expensive business. The paradox is that once you become successful as an influencer, the more stuff you get offered for free. It’s a phenomenon that used to be exclusive to celebrities, but for influencers on platforms such as Instagram, the freebies are readily handed out to anyone with a sizable following and high engagement rates.
So, what’s in it for the brands?
By ‘gifting’ influencers to promote their products, brands have been largely able to bypass regulation of their ad campaigns. Brand awareness generated by handing out freebies or ‘gifting’, as it’s become known, hasn’t been as heavily regulated as other channels of advertising. In the US, by law brands are required to identify paid partnerships with the appropriate hashtags, however, at present such regulation in the UAE is only coming into effect from June 2018. Although regulation of advertising exists in the UAE, the rules regarding posts about samples, collaborations and gifts are a little fuzzier. If you see posts on Instagram by an account with a large following that’s singing the praises of a certain product or service boasting just how magical it is, there is a strong chance that the service or product was complimentary – especially if there is a link included in the post.
Now you know the backstory, we’ll tell you just how much it costs to keep the high-maintained aesthetic and become the in-demand influencer that you’ve always wanted to be. Bear in mind that once you start into the botox, bi-weekly personal training sessions and hair appointments, the costs start to add up.
If you think that the life of an influencer is a pretty easy gig, think again. It’s a full-time job making sure you wake up every morning perfectly toned, hairless and spot free. We’ve put together a list of the most common perks that are available to high-caliber influencers in Dubai along with what it could cost to maintain the 24/7 Instagram-ready aesthetic. Prepare to have your mind blown.
Unless you were really lucky and born with sublimely radiant, bright, perfectly balanced clear and healthy skin, be prepared for facials to become a major part of your beauty regime.
You can expect to pay from between AED 600-800 for a facial from a top-quality salon or spa in Dubai which offers everything from light refreshing micro-session treatments to deep cleanses. The price-tag may seem steep but start considering facials as a new form of currency. Top beauticians are often chosen, by the public, based on their former clients. By treating influencers to complimentary services they are ensuring that their work is visible on the Instagram-sphere in a positive light to tempt new customers through the door. Gone are the days when the likes of Huda Kattan and Fouz Alfahad were the only faces used to promote skin care treatments. While you’ll never see an official announcement of a beautician or facial specialist offering their services in return for a shout-out, the number of salons and spa’s in Dubai which are gifting facials is ever on the rise.
We’ve handpicked some of the best treatments on offer from the top-rated bespoke beauticians in Dubai:
Obagi’s Deep Cleansing Facial – 90 minutes AED 750
The ultimate restorative treatment banishing everything from lumps to bumps, blemishes to congestion through a toning and cleansing routine. After the cleanse the pores will be opened by steaming, then exfoliated to remove the dirt & grime before a thin needle is used to unclog your pores. (It’s all pain free!) The session will be completed by energising and oxygenating the skin with a high frequency energy disinfecting light.
Viceroy Dubai’s Anti-Ageing Treatment – 60 minutes AED 750
This anti-aging treatment is probably the finest taste of luxury your skin will ever receive, the transformation is completed with a 24-karat gold face mask that firms, lifts and boost the skin. You’ll also receive a massage whilst the face mask is doing its magic and taking years off you just one hour!
Nova by Aesthetics TLC Treatment – 45 minutes AED 850
If you want to combat the easily reversible damage of pollution and UV exposure, Nova by Aesthetics ‘Hydra MD Facial’ is the ultimate solution. The non-invasive 6 step treatment cleanses, exfoliates and extracts chemicals via dermabrasion and chemical peels which offer hydrating and antioxidant protection. With such a high level of air pollution and UV exposure in Dubai this treatment has become more of a necessity than a luxury for those looking to achieve radiantly healthy skin unhindered by enlarged pores and fine lines.
Sisters Beauty Organic Facial – 90 minutes AED 650
Sisters Beauty is infamous for its organic range of highly efficient products which are 100% safe and naturally beneficial for your skin. This deeply relaxing treatment consists of four luxurious masks that are applied by using an intensive massage technique.
Skin care specialists recommend routine professional facials every three to four weeks; the amount of time it takes your skin to move through the full cycle of cell growth.
Estimated annual cost: AED 9000
Botox & Fillers
Not every influencer likes to broadcast that they undergo Botox treatments, but Botox injections are among the most popular cosmetic treatments in Dubai amongst influencers and of course the cosmetic industry are keen to cash in on the phenomenon. Many cosmetic specialists exchange free cosmetic services in return for social media promotion.
The cost and frequency of treatment is highly dependent on the characteristics and age of your skin. Usually, repeat treatments every three to five months are recommended. The cost for Botox in Dubai varies from anywhere between AED 930 to AED 1900, the most prestigious clinics include The Private Clinic, Premium Cosmetic Centre and Biolite Aesthetic Centre.
Estimated annual cost: AED 6000
For influencers serious about their aesthetic, lip fillers and injections are an increasingly common practice. Kaya Skin Clinic in Dubai is seeing an increased influx of customers following the demand for the painless procedure that takes no longer than 20 minutes. The cost is highly dependent on the amount of filler used to create the desired result, however the cost tends to average at AED 2250. The treatment can last anywhere between six months to a year to attain the youthful glow of your lips that creates a glow of radiance. Where selfies are concerned, the lips are one of the most important facial features, which is why influencers insist on receiving the best quality cosmetic care. Those looking for a 5-star treatment often turn to the deft hands of Dr. Allen Rezai, a world renowned cosmetic surgeon working from the Elite Plastic & Cosmetic surgery in Dubai.
Estimated annual cost: AED 4,500
The day after having lip fillers! I get heaps of females shocked because of how natural my lips always are! Right now they are swollen because it’s the recovery phase but after about 5-7 days they will be set into place. I go to @dr.allenrezai at The Elite Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery Group in Healthcare City. I’ve been seeing this man for 2.5years for cosmetic treatment including a rhinoplasty and otoplasty as he is all about natural beauty. Not only that, he is one of the most genuine and down to earth people I’ve ever met, he’s very honest and will tell you what you need but never sell you pointless cosmetic treatment for money. He genuinely values his clients and that’s what’s made me stay loyal. Another thing I will add is that his nurses and receptionist are the happiest bunch of ladies, they listen to you and actually connect with the client which is quite difficult to find in Dubai. Such an amazing team. Oh and he is also based in the UK too! This isn’t a sponsored post either, it’s just credit owed where credit is due. Thanks again @dr.allenrezai ????
Coolsculpting offers the same benefits as liposuction without any downtime needed afterwards. Coolsculpting uses cryolipolysis, a medical treatment which eliminates fat cells by cooling. The pain-free procedure has become increasingly popular amongst influencers in Dubai that are looking for a solution for their ‘problem areas’. To achieve the desired results takes, on average, around 5 or 6 sessions. Of course, you won’t see too many influencers admitting that they’ve taken the easy way out with the coolsculpting procedure. More and more spas are getting thirsty for business and are tapping into the influencers reach and offering discounts to showcase the results.
The Eternel Clinic in Dubai offers free consultations to help you get the perfect swimsuit figure. Research by Dr Sawwaf’s of the Icon Clinic in Abu Dhabi claims that Coolsculpting is the most effective long-term method as fat will not return to the treated areas.
Estimated annual cost: AED 13,125
Many Instagram influencers who started out promoting the wares of other lash-extension brands have gone on to start their own lines after gaining a momentous following. A great set of lashes invokes great envy, especially on the Insta-sphere. Samira Olfat started off as a beauty blogger in Dubai, now she’s claimed the title of CEO and Chief Trainer of the MAX FACTOR Makeup Academy. She has even been drafted in to work on TV shows that are airing on MBC, Dubai TV, LBC & Dubai One. Other Dubai influencers are following in Samira’s footsteps, and taking advantage of the free perks on offer for promoting lashes in their best light. Until you can get your lashes as a luxury freebie you can expect to pay AED 80 -150 for a set. Even just casual wearers of false lashes can pay between AED 300 – 1000 annually if the lashes are replaced as advised every 6 weeks. Other lashes may be cheaper, but they’ll only last for a couple of uses. If you wish to opt for salon quality lashes in Dubai there’s no better option than Tips & Toes who offer Russian lashes, the painless process results in long, silken lashes that last for up to 2 weeks.
Estimated annual cost for salon lashes: AED 8,400
Estimated annual cost for false lashes: AED 300 – 1000
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Laser Hair Removal
Hair removal products may seem like they’re an impossible sell on Instagram, yet spas across Dubai have been eager to use Instagram to create heavy flows of traffic thanks to their influencer partnerships. Influencers have proven to create a great deal of exposure for spas and beauty salons who now no longer depend on traditional advertising.
Salons opt to work with the beauty influencers in Dubai in exchange for free or low-cost services. For influencers not quite on that perk level you can expect to pay around AED 800 for your average underarm and bikini waxes in the Dubai salons. Silkor, Eternel Med Spa and Kaya Skin Clinic are the most popular salons all offering pain-free, long-lasting solutions. To tackle regrowth, touch up treatments are recommended every 6 months.
Estimated annual cost for treatment: AED 1600
Many salons and hair extension manufacturers have started working in partnership with high-profile influencers in Dubai. Although many won’t admit it, this perk is often commonplace. Julie Powell has radicalized hair extensions as a 5-star treatment package; offering the ultimate VIP treatment from her flagship store in the heart of Jumeirah, Dubai. In large salons expect to pay around AED 4000 for a full set of extensions which will have to be followed up with maintenance appointments. If maintained correctly, your hair extensions can last up to 6 months. However, clip-ins are far less expensive. A set will cost you around AED 375.
Estimated annual cost for salon installed hair extensions: AED 10,000
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Surprisingly, spray tans are still a thing. It’s not as though influencers don’t get enough sun living in Dubai but those who feel inclined often head to the salon to gain that extra glow that gets them noticed, whilst helping the salons to get noticed too. If you can bear the burden of having that sun-kissed look, you can expect to pay between AED 150 and 250 for a session from top-rated salons and service providers such as Pastels Salon, Dollhouse Salon and Blow Out & Go. Depending on your skin, you may have to return every week to retain a healthy glow.
Estimated annual cost: AED 10,400
With the effects of microblading on your eyebrows lasting anywhere up to 3 years, it’s no wonder that microblading has recently soared in popularity amongst the influencers in Dubai. A few years ago, to say tattooing your face was frowned upon is a pretty big understatement. This relatively new procedure is regularly gifted to influencers in exchange for coverage to further boost popularity.
Estimated annual cost: AED 2500
Professional Teeth Whitening/Veneers
Cosmetic dentists are also keen to find out what benefits influencers can provide in exchange for promotion. The compensation rates are based on the influencer’s current aesthetic along with the size of their following, as it’s pretty rare for services to be given away entirely for free. Some of the treatments that are offered at special rates vary from simple procedures, such as teeth whitening, to extensive treatments such as porcelain veneers. Considering the rates of Dubai’s top dentist, this isn’t a perk to be sniffed at. Euromed offer veneers from AED 48,000 for the full set. Whitening is thankfully a little less expensive at AED 2000 a session which with could last a year.
Estimated annual cost: AED 2000 – Whitening, up to AED 48,000 – Veneers
Free personal training sessions are also up for grabs on a one-off basis with the aim of filling classes with the influencer’s friends and followers. Dubai influencer Diego Carrette prides himself on being a motivational and inspirational figure who specializes in transformations and nutritional mapping; he’s got one the most loyal followings on Instagram and his intensive packages are some of the most popular in Dubai. Personal training packages can start at around AED 250 per session, however many personal trainers offer monthly packages. Personal trainer Andreia Brazier is another very popular name in the booming personal training industry offering guides and 12-week programs which promise drastic transformations. Monthly training packages will usually set you back AED 3,750.
Estimated annual cost: AED 26,250
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For beauty influencers in Dubai it’s not all about aesthetic. Clean living is also a massive part of keeping up appearances. Clean eating programs often offer influencers their expensive health-focused meals in exchange for a couple of Instagram stories. The plans usually consist of three meals a day, 5 days a week. One of the biggest names in Dubai for healthy-living subscriptions is LoveFood; offering high quality organic meat, dairy and fresh produce, and Eat Well offering their meal plans from their in-house medical center at Dubai Herbal Treatment Centre. Slightly more expensive plans are offered by juice cleansing specialists such as Detox Delight. The daily price is anything from AED 160 a day to AED 300, with 21-day plans.
Estimated annual cost: AED 20,000
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For Time-Precious Influencers
If you don’t quite have the time to spend 5 hours in a hair salon getting extensions or spending 3 hours in a beauty spa getting the full works, there are still plenty of treatments and perks that time-precious influencers in Dubai can take advantage of. Blow Out & Go offer some amazing services that can guarantee glowing results immediately and from the comfort of your own home! They carry out hairstyling and make-up services at the same standard you’d expect in a salon, just without the inconvenience of having to leave your house. Their blow-out service is hugely popular with influencers getting ready for an important shoot as well as for people looking for the 5-star treatment before heading to an important event. A blow-dry will set you back on average AED 330.
Estimated annual cost: AED 8000
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Licencing & Legal
Influencers should be aware of new legislation affecting those with an Instagram feed filled with promotions. The rules were introduced on February 28th, 2018 from the National Media Council and require social media influencers who promote brands to secure a media licence. The new laws come into full effect from June 2018, failing to comply with the new legislation may result in a penalty and the potential closure of the influencer’s account.
The cost of the license is 15,000 AED and is valid for 12 months.
Based on the estimated annual totals listed above, we’ve calculated the cost for an average non-influencer to be: AED 174,375. Well, you didn’t think that looking constantly photo ready would be cheap, did you? Maintaining a flawless aesthetic is quite literally a full-time job; ensuring the influencer’s accounts reflect more of a fantasy than reality.
Top Dubai influencers such as Huda Kattan with 24.9 million followers and Joelle Mardinian with her 7.5 million followers have gone above and beyond with their beauty and personal care routines to achieve their top influencer status. It’s probably fair to say that even though the prospect of gaining an aesthetic like Dubai influencers might look appealing, the cost of maintaining it isn’t as pretty.
So Are Influencers Worth All The Gifting By Brands?
Millennial social media users are only too willing to be influenced with what they see on Instagram. 71% of social media users in Dubai aged 18 – 40 claimed that they looked to influencers for advice and recommendations before making a purchase on everything from make-up to food, so it should come as no surprise that brands across Dubai are keen to get influencers on their side.