|A man boils coriander leaves to make coriander soap in Sinh Dược cooperative in Ninh Bình Province. — Photo courtesy of the cooperative
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese, especially those from the north, believe that a bath using coriander leaves can remove misfortune, so many are boiling it to get rid of bad luck before the Tết holiday.
However, Nguyễn Thuỳ Giang, 25, in Hà Nội, eschews the traditional coriander bath used by her mother and instead will order a coriander soap with a package printed with a Year of Tiger design to remove her bad luck.
Giang and lots of digitally-savvy women her age seek care products online.
"I like the smell of coriander when it is boiled but I don't want to clean the scattered boiled leaves after the bath," she said.
Giang has ordered many different organic soaps online, so much that she even gets free shipping to her home.
As online shopping grows in Việt Nam, personal care and cosmetics have been among the most common products purchased, particularly among urban consumers.
Online purchases of personal care products in urban areas of Việt Nam doubled from 2018 to 2020, according to a recent report by Statista.
As more people shop online, brands have been tailoring their customer journey to meet the new demand for online services, with the pandemic causing an even greater surge in e-commerce.
The new shopping habit is predicted to stay even after the pandemic, reinforcing the importance of having an online presence for cosmetics brands in the country.
Sinh Dược, a co-operative in Ninh Bình Province, which produces coriander soap, operates on most popular online channels, such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok or the e-commerce stores of Shopee, Lazada and Tiki.
The revenue of the beauty and personal care market in the country stood at around US$2.1 billion in 2020, according to Statista, with beauty and personal care revenues projected to grow at a 5 per cent compound annual growth rate until 2025.
While foreign brands make up 90 per cent of the cosmetics market in Việt Nam, with Korean brands the most popular, local Vietnamese brands are focusing on affordable, low-end products, and have recognised the long-term trend for organic products.
Sinh Dược also sells other products made from local agricultural produce, including soap from ginger, cucumber and bitter melon.
Together with the cooperative, other producers of organic personal care items see the growing trend of using green products and natural ingredients and have caught up to meet demand, featuring quality products for women who buy the products for their families.
Earlier, Nguyên Xuân Medical Shampoo held an event called “Hẹn với Thanh Xuân” where they offered their customers and their families the chance to have their hair washed with their special products.
Nguyễn Thị Thuỳ Dung, marketing manager of Nguyên Xuân, said: “Having hair washed by our mothers with traditional herbal leaves has always been a beautiful thing in Việt Nam, and we offer that care to our customers and they love it.”
She said Tết holiday was the occasion when sale grew significantly as the fragrance of the shampoo extracted from herbs like lemon and lemongrass that were often used for the festival.
Many of Dung's young customers lost lots of their hair after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, and they are seeking a safe shampoo for treatment. Nguyên Xuân Medical Shampoo is a common choice.
“In the last two years, our sale has grown 200 per cent and it keeps increasing each month. We receive new customers and they tell others to buy the products,” Dung said.
As well as the local Shopee, the shampoo is also sold on Shopee Malaysia where women seem interested in the traditional fragrances of Việt Nam.
The shampoo has become Asia's pioneer for herbal shampoo, receiving a rating of 4.3/5 on Try & Review, Asia's largest reviewing community. Meanwhile 89 per cent of testers said they would recommend the product.
Apart from selling organic products, agricultural experts believe the organic trend will be positive for farming practices and developing new crops.
Đào Thị Nhung, general director of Thanh Mộc Hương Pharmaceutical, which makes personal care products from roses grown in Hoà Bình Province, said: "On our rose farm of more than four hectares, we say no to chemical fertilizers and pesticides. We decided to grow roses by natural methods to best serve our customers.”
Nhung said the roses were grown with micro-fertilisers from soybeans and other organic fertilisers and protected against pests using ginger, garlic, chilli or lime juice.
As long as e-commerce and the trend for organic products continues to grow, the personal care and cosmetics industry are likely to go from strength to strength.— VNS