Retail notes from Hong Kong: [Show Report] Cosmoprof Asia 2015

The last stop on my Asian tour was Hong Kong – and the big event here was, of course, Cosmoprof Asia! Not only is it the most important C&T trade show for the entire Asian region but the fair also celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015. Congratulations!

The official trade show stats for 2015 speak for themselves: there were 2,504 exhibitors from 46 countries which marks an increase of 6% compared to 2014. A total of 63,241 visitors from 119 countries attended the trade show (+ 5.5%) and there was a 7% increase in visitors from outside the Hong Kong area (including me!).

And here are some more facts and figures: there were 22 country and group pavilions (Korea was the biggest exhibitor and Chile attended for the first time), total exhibition space grew 3% to over 84,000 sq m and Italy and the US were the countries of honour because of their continued support of Cosmoprof Asia.

At the official Cosmoprof Asia press conference, organizers UBM and BolognaFiere also announced the following news: because the trade fair has grown so much over the last few years, the 2016 edition will take place in two different venues.

Cosmetics, Salon, Hair, Nails & Accessories will remain in the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre; Packaging, Ingredients, Equipment, Private Label etc. will move to Asiaworld Expo. The 2016 fair dates are 15th to 17th November for Asiaworld Expo and 16th to 18th November for the Convention Centre which means that there is an extra day for visitors who want to take in both parts of the show.

But all of that is still in the future; join me now for a tour around Cosmoprof Asia 2015 featuring, in no particular order, some of my favourite brands and companies from across the world. By the way: this article is even longer than my usual trade show reports – you have been warned!

Cosmoprof intro (2)

Let’s start with South Korea which was represented at Cosmoprof Asia with 212 companies in total.

I have seen the fun and colourful makeup of Korean brand Berrisom in practically all countries I have visited over the past ten years: the company is present in Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Japan. Hong Kong and China are the two biggest Asian markets for Berrisom and of course they are a regular exhibitor at Cosmoprof Asia.

This year they presented a number of very cool new launches, including one of the most unusual products I’ve ever seen: Silver Ash is a hair whitening styling cream which was introduced in Japan earlier this year. It’s a temporary hair colourant in cream form! You massage the whitish cream into your hair and on black Asian hair it turns into a very distinguished looking silver. The product will soon be launched in Korea as well.

Berrisom (4)
Berrisom (1)

Another interesting Berrisom launch is Oops! Lip Tint, a lip tattoo cream range which includes nine colours and was launched in 2014 (it is one of the brand’s Asian bestsellers). Now, I had seen the word “tattoo” on quite a few Korean makeup brands and always assumed it was something like what we in Europe would call a lip stain. But no, in the case of Berrisom’s Lip Tint it is actually a very mild temporary tattoo. The lip cream is applied to the lips. Then you wait five to ten minutes, peel off the cream layer and voilà! – a colour shape that lasts for 24 hours. Berrisom’s new Oops! Dual Tint Brow (which was launched in September 2015) works along the same principle: You apply the colour cream at night time before going to sleep and wake up the next morning with a (hopefully non-smudgy!) brow line which will last for a week. The colour then fades by itself.

I was also impressed by Korean men’s care brand Mdoc. Even in Europe you don’t find that many dedicated men’s beauty brands! The company was founded in 2005 and they were exhibiting at Cosmoprof Asia for the third time. Mdoc has a highly segmented line-up of over 40 products across three main ranges (Whitening, Sebum and Relief), including a pore primer, HD powder, BB creams and a sheet mask, and anti-ageing, whitening and soothing serums, essence and lotions galore. Very impressive!

Mdoc

The brand’s latest launches are a men’s fragrance and the Whitening Tone-Up Cream and its bestsellers in Asia (Mdoc is available in six Asian countries including Hong Kong and Singapore) include the Whitening Skin & Lotion. In its home market, Mdoc is sold in Olive Young drugstores. I’ll definitely check out their products next time I’m in Seoul (which will be in April 2016 for Cosmobeauty trade show, just in case you’re interested!).

Another interesting brand from Korea was Lady & Skin which was launched in 2008. The company has nine product ranges including Hydration 3, Blooming White and Skin Nutritionist, and its latest launch is the Blooming White Oxybright Overnight Mask for dull and tired skin. The Overnight Mask is a sleeping pack formulated with Phyto Eight Complex (eight botanical extracts), tangerine oil and O2 bubbles. The texture is light and it has indeed a slightly foamy feel to it. Lady & Skin products are mostly sold online and in duty-free stores; the brand’s main target demographic are Chinese consumers.

Lady & Skin (2)

I had seen Korean brand Caolion’s pore packs in various Watsons, Olive Youngs, LOHBS and Pandora outlets in Seoul but the company actually has a really large skin and body care range: their line-up includes over 100-sku! Caolion was a first-time Cosmoprof Asia exhibitor; the brand’s star products (especially the famous pore packs) are already available in the US: they are sold in Sephora stores and Caolion has also done some cooperations with fashion brand Urban Outfitters.

I also heard that the Caolion pore packs will be launched in department store chains Macy’s and JC Penney’s within the next 12 months – K-Beauty is really popular in the US. Caolion is also sold in Chinese online store T-Mall (part of the mighty Alibaba group), in various retail chains in Hong Kong and the company will enter the Canadian market soon. An expansion into Europe is also on their agenda!

Caolion

I had a nice chat with the sales lady at the Caolion stand and she showed me the brand’s latest product launch – the duo cleansers Hot Deep Pack Foam and Cool Relax Pack Foam which were launched in August 2015. One of the cleansers is self-heating, the other cools down the skin.

Caolion was launched in 1995 by Jinyoung Joo; the brand claims to be the first hypoallergenic cosmetics brand in Korea – and although they are not natural or organic, they have pretty good ingredients. The portfolio includes various pore care skin ranges, hair care and body washes, a natural skin care range, sheet masks, sleeping packs, serums and lotions….you can see their full line-up on their website.

Korean natural brand Vieco was at the show to introduce three new cosmeceutical product ranges: NewCell DNA Regeneration which includes a toner, an essence and a cream, the Renew range (Aqua Cream, Hydro All-in-One Toner, Perfect Balancing Lotion and Facial Oil) and the Rosetears Whitening range which offers a cream, serum and toner.

Vieco (3)

I like Vieco; the brand is still fairly new on the market – it was launched in 2014 and I had initially come across Vieco at Cosmoprof Asia 2014. On my first trip to Seoul six months later I bought one of their face creams. Vieco is steadily expanding its distribution in Korea and Asia: a few months ago the brand opened a counter in AK Plaza mall in Seoul (which I duly visited!) and the products are also available in outlets of Korean drugstore chain Pandora.

Incidentally, I was also delighted with my visit to AK Plaza because AK Plaza’s Sum:37 counter actually had the famous Rose Cleansing Stick in stock (you can expect an article on the Rose Cleansing Stick and some other interesting Korean cleansers soon!) Sum:37 is high-end Korean beauty brand which specializes in fermented cosmetics and their iconic Rose Cleansing Stick was sold out all over central Seoul!

But to return to Cosmoprof Asia: of course there is no Korean beauty presence without at least a few Jeju brands! One of these was Parajeju, a face and body care brand which was launched in 2009. The brand offers two ranges – Moisture and Seaweed – and the company was at Cosmoprof Asia for the fourth time. Parajeju products are available in Japan and Hong Kong, primarily through online sales.

Parajeju (2)

Blossom Jeju (2)

Blossom Jeju is a high-end beauty brand launched in 2013. In Korea Blossom Jeju products are sold in exclusive distribution – I saw them at the Itaewon Belport store and the brand is also available in several Hyundai department store branches. The US was Blossom Jeju’s first international market and they were at this year’s Cosmoprof Asia to look for a Hong Kong distributor. The brand’s latest launch is a 2-part face mask: the small pouch contains 100% camellia oil; then you apply the sheet mask. There are three mask variants – Marine Collagen, Soy+ and Vitamin+.

And Jejuon was my personal favourite! The brand is manufactured by KBIDI (the Korean Beauty Industry Development Institute) and was a first-time exhibitor at Cosmoprof Asia. Jejuon specializes in sheet masks and skin care formulated with Jeju-grown curcuma (curcuma is currently one of THE trend superfoods in Europe) combined with other regional ingredients, like horse oil. I couldn’t resist and bought a box of Curcuma Jeju Horse Oil Sheet Masks.

Jeujon (9)
Jeujon (11)

The brand also has another face mask range which is beautifully packaged – there are eight varieties (camellia, mandarin, ecklonia cava, shiitake, canola honey, malt, snail and hyaluronic acid). The products are available in mainland China through online sales; in Hong Kong Jejuon will soon be distributed in Sasa stores and Wingon department stores. The brand’s face masks are also retailed in Belport’s Myeungdong outlet in Seoul. On my next visit to Seoul I’ll be stocking up on Jejuon Horse Oil masks because they are amazing.

Japan

Now let’s go to Japan! Tunemakers, a first time exhibitor at Cosmoprof Asia, was launched in 2007. The company specializes in single-ingredient serums which can be use on their own or added to creams and face oils to boost a product’s moisturizing/soothing/relaxing/anti-ageing/balancing performance.

Tunemakers (1)

The Tunemakers range offers 24 different serums, including two types of ceramide and two varieties of hyaluronic acid, honey extract, liquorice extract, elastin, retinol, EGF, egg shell membrane, placenta, snail, AHA, amino acid powder and number of vitamin serums. In Japan, Tunemaker products are sold online and in variety shops. I like the concept of individualizing my favourite beauty products with specific active ingredients. Although there are several brands in the US and Asia that offer this type of product, in Europe it is still a bit of a niche market.

An interesting Japanese brand that I previously had only heard about was brush manufacturer Chikuhodo. The Hiroshima-based company was at Cosmoprof Asia for the second time. Chikuhodo was established in 1971 by master brush-maker Tesshyu Takemori in Kumano, a small town near the city of Hiroshima. Kumano is famous for its artisan brush-makers; the town has a long history of crafting calligraphy brushes and it is estimated that Kumano-based brands and craftspeople supply around 80% of all calligraphy brushes, makeup brushes and paint brushes made in Japan.

Chikuhodo is one of the most famous Kumano brush-making companies and today the business is run in the third generation by Takemori’s son Shin. I was told that although the initial stages of the brush production (such as sorting the hair) are done by machines, the actual brushes are assembled and finished by hand.

Chikuhodo
Chikuhodo (1)

Chikuhodo manufactures cosmetics brushes for some of the biggest Asian and international beauty brands such as Shiseido, Kanebo, Suqqu, Haba, RMK and Twany. They also have their own Chikuhodo brush range and amongst their international markets are the US and China, where over the past few years Chikuhodo’s brushes have become very popular.

Another of my favourite Japanese exhibitors was Naturelab from Tokyo: I had noticed their Moist Diane hair care range in practically every Matsumoto Kiyoshi, Sun Drug, Tomod and Cococara during my recent visit to Tokyo. Admittedly it is difficult NOT to notice Moist Diane: the products are brightly packaged and very colourful indeed.

Naturelab (8)
Naturelab (10)

What I didn’t know was that Moist Diane’s manufacturer Naturelab, also has several other beauty brands that I have seen around (such as hair care brands Oilim and Medel) and men’s care brand Maro – check out the pic! Maro is only available in Japan at the moment but I was told that Naturelab is currently preparing the brand for export into other countries. Moist Diane is already available in nine international markets including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and the US. In January Moist Diane will be launched in Korea.

At Cosmoprof Asia Naturelab presented one of its recent launches: the Belluga shampoo and conditioner range. I was also interested to learn that the company is the Japanese distributor for Bxe’s RinRen range of natural body care and shampoos – I had bought RinRen’s amazing Yuzu & Ginger Body Wash at Bxe’s Sincere Garden spa during my October 2014 visit to Tokyo and liked it very much.

Taiwan

And now, a quick plane ride to Taiwan!

Taiwanese boutique mask manufacturer MasKingdom was also at the show. I had come across MasKingdom’s new flagship store during my first visit to Taipei in November 2014 (read my articles about MasKingdom here and here) and then saw the company at Cosmoprof Asia just one month later.

At this year’s Cosmoprof Asia MasKingdom introduced a very cool new mask set: the seductive black-and-white Lace Masks for the eyes, lips and chest area. The brand also presented a line extension to its Aboriginal mask series – check out the pic! The 6-sku Biocellulose Mask range was launched in October 2015 and the illustrator is Ele, the same Taiwanese artist who designed the original Aboriginal series.

Maskingdom (2)
Maskingdom (5)

MasKingdom is doing really well, by the way; the masks are now available in the US and Canada; in Malaysia and in China the masks are sold on T-Mall. Oh yes, and MasKingdom will also be attending Cosmoprof Bologna next year – they are currently preparing for their European market entry.

Taiwanese face care brand Dr. Wu was founded in 2003. Today, its products are sold in most high-end beauty stores and perfumeries across various Asian markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and China; the brand’s Western markets include selected retailers in the US, the UK and Canada. It is not surprising that they had a large exhibition stand at Cosmoprof Asia – not only has Dr. Wu built up a solid cosmeceutical reputation but in 2014 the brand was acquired by international luxury group LVMH.

Dr. Wu (2)

Dr. Wu’s portfolio comprises ten ranges which include the best-selling Mandelik Renewal range, the Hyalucomplex Hydrating line, the Vitamin C + Whitening range and the Age Reversal Repairing line; in addition to sun protection products, sub-ranges for problems skin, sensitive skin and normal skin. Dr. Wu also has a 3-sku range of mineral makeup.

Another interesting Taiwanese exhibitor was Annie’s Way. The company’s best-known products include sheet masks (which I saw in pretty much every Watson, Sasa and Cosmed that I visited in Taipei). At the trade show, Annie’s Way presented its latest sheet mask launch (picture below): the Secret Garden Sheet Mask which is available in three variants – Black Rose Devil’s Moisturizing Secret for dry skin, Edelweiss Iris Witch’s Timeless Secret for tired skin and Orchid Angel’s Whitening Secret for dull and rough skin. These three masks are black masks, by the way.

Annie's Way

Although Annie’s Way is most famous for its sheet masks they also offer some more unusual mask varieties. Unlike Europe where the majority of face masks are in cream form, Asians traditionally prefer sheet masks. However, over the last years I have noticed that even the traditional sheet mask manufacturers are increasingly introducing jelly masks, cream masks and mix-your-own powder masks.

My colleague Julia from Beautyjagd (who is always well-informed about Asian beauty trends) says that she keeps coming across “splash masks” which seem to be one of the latest mask trends: face masks that are applied under the shower – apparently you splash them onto your skin for an immediate moisturizing effect. Interesting! Anyway, sheet masks are still the staple mask type in the Asian region but the choice of different mask textures is increasing steadily.

Annies’s Way, for example, offers a line of jelly masks: differently coloured thick gels which are packaged in jars. At the trade show the brand presented a line extension in this range: the Rose Essence Jelly Mask. The company also retails a range of essences, lotions and other skin care products which includes a 3-sku Jelly Spray line (Calendula Softening, Gigawhite Whitening and Willow Herb Balancing) which can be used as a serum or sprayed onto the face as a toning gel spray.

And now we’re taking a quick trip to the Asia-Pacific region: Abeeco comes from New Zealand and the brand’s line-up includes 14 skin care products and ten food supplements. Seven of the face care products are formulated with New Zealand bee venom – an unusual ingredient for a Western cosmetics brand! Bee venom is something you commonly see in Korean brands but not so often outside of Asia. Abeeco’s cosmetics also include New Zealand manuka honey, royal jelly, pollen and other bee-derived ingredients.

DQ&Co’s Love Your Skin is also from New Zealand; they were one of the exhibitors at Spot on Beauty, Cosmoprof Asia’s special showcase for new brands. Love Your Skin’s latest launch is a natural lubricant which is packaged in stylish and subdued matte black – very elegant indeed! The brand also has a home fragrance range.

I was also glad to see Australian brand Canvas at the show again: they were a first time exhibitor last year and had a small stand outside the main hall. At Cosmoprof 2015, the Canvas stand was much bigger and beautifully designed, check out the pic!

Canvas (1)

There were also a number of European beauty companies that were familiar to me – like organic skin care brand Alteya Organics from Bulgaria (a popular brand in Asia), soap manufacturer Olivos from Turkey (I had met them at International Beauty Expo trade show in Seoul just three weeks earlier) and colour cosmetics brand Flormar from Turkey.

And now we are approaching the European continent, starting with Germany!

Despite its comparatively small size (46 exhibitors in total) Cosmoprof Asia’s German pavilion was impressive. Exhibitors included the biggest names in salon skin and body care, such as Marbert, Rosa Graf, Klapp, Jean d’Arcel, Charlotte Meentzen, Janssen and CNC; there was Kryolan (a professional makeup brand from Berlin!), Schwan-Stabilo (one of the biggest manufacturers in cosmetics pencils, liners and sticks), personal care manufacturer Mann & Schröder and Artdeco’s ICB Cosmetics. Made me proud to see so many excellent German brands!

Jean d’Arcel is a returning exhibitor at Cosmoprof Asia, the company has been active in Asia for at least 20 years and Jean d’Arcel products are available in most Asian markets, including Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Vietnam. Malaysia is their biggest market at the moment and the company is also planning to expand into Japan soon. I was told that one of their best-selling ranges across the Asian region is the ArcelMed dermocosmetic range which was launched in 2007.

Klapp Cosmetics is another German salon heavyweight: the company entered the Korean market around 25 years ago and its products are distributed in China, Malaysia, Singapore and India. At the trade show, Klapp showcased its recently launched Kiwicha range – it is Klapp’s first certified organic skin and body care range and was introduced in autumn 2015. The company’s bestsellers in Asia include the Caviar Serum skin care range and the GK Cuvée range which is based on champagne grape extract.

Klapp (2)
Yverum

German organic beauty brand Yverum was also at Cosmoprof Asia. The brand was launched in 2012 and received a Best New Product Award at this year’s Vivaness trade show (Vivaness is the biggest organic beauty trade show in Europe). Yverum was a first-time exhibitor at Cosmoprof: they were looking for Asian distributors, especially for Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The brand specializes in hyaluronic acid product and its most recent launch is an Eye & Lip Serum which was introduced earlier this month.

Herbacin, another long-time Cosmoprof Asia exhibitor, is a classic mass market body care manufacturer. In Germany Herbacin is best-known for its range of hand care products, especially the Chamomile Hand Cream. It is an enormously popular range in Asia, too; I’ve seen Herbacin products in practically all East Asian countries I visited so far; every Watsons, Mannings, Sasa, Cosmed etc. seems to carry at least some of the Herbacin hand creams.

Herbacin

I was told that Herbacin is distributed in 45 international markets; six of these are in Asia, including Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and China – and one of their most recent market entries was Thailand. I almost didn’t need to ask what their most popular product was: the Chamomile Cream, of course. In Japan Herbacin has been available since 2003, Korea joined the line-up six years ago and China followed in 2012.

I also had an interesting chat with the people at ICB’s stand who were there for the fourth or fifth time. ICB is a division of the German Artdeco group; they manufacture a range of retail beauty brands. At Cosmoprof Asia ICB presented its three main colour cosmetics labels: BeYu, Makeup Factory and Anny. In Germany BeYu and Anny are exclusively retailed by perfumery chain Douglas, Makeup Factory, on the other hand, is only available in outlets of the drugstore chain Müller.

ICB

In the Asian markets, things look different: Makeup Factory, for example, is positioned as a high-end brand and sold in department stores; with prices just a little lower than Chanel or Bobbi Brown, it is very much a premium brand in both price tag and retail environment. BeYu is growing quite nicely in Thailand and nail polish brand Anny (one of my personal favourites: excellent quality and I like the simple square polish bottles!) is especially popular in the Philippines.

I was told that the eye products are amongst BeYu’s and Makeup Factory’s bestsellers in Asia, as are the compact powder foundations. ICB produces a number of light foundation shades specifically for their Asian consumers and the brand distributors for the respective countries tend to make their individual selections as regards colours and shades.

France

Just a short hop across the border and we are in France! The French pavilion included a total of 108 exhibitors. Amongst these were major salon brands like Ingrid Millet, Académie and Laboratoires Filorga. One of the key exhibitors in the French pavilion was, of course, Cosmetic Valley with a number of individual companies.

There were also a number of the French mass market brands present at Cosmoprof Asia – like Le Petit Olivier. Now, this is probably one of the most popular beauty ranges in France. In Asia, the company’s business is also going well; Le Petit Olivier is currently distributed in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Macau. Taiwan is the brand’s biggest market: Le Petit Olivier was launched in Taiwan ten years ago (retailers include the Carrefour supermarkets and drugstore chain Watsons) while Hong Kong was added in early 2015 and Macau is Le Petit Olivier’s most recent international market. The lady at the stand told me that the bar soaps are amongst Le Petit Olivier bestsellers in the Asian markets.

Le Petit Olivier

Bee beauty brand Abellie was at Cosmoprof Asia for the fourth time. Manufactured by apiculturists Famille Mary, Abellie is formulated with various bee-derived ingredients such as honey, propolis, royal jelly and pollen. Famille Mary was established in 1921 and it is still a family-owned company. Its headquarters are in Anjou province and the company owns more than 1000 beehives in the Loire valley. In France Abellie’s products are available in 28 stores that are operated under the Famille Mary store name – the Famille Mary outlets also sell honey, food supplements and other bee products.

Abellie (2)

Abellie is sold in a total of 15 countries worldwide, including Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan; Taiwan is their biggest market. Internationally the Crème Nutrition Intense is one of their bestsellers, while in Asia the Crème Jade (a soft moisturizer formulated with royal jelly and chamomile extract) is the brand’s most popular product. The Abellie products are retailed at prices ranging from 25 to 50 Euro; they are certified by Cosmebio and Ecocert and the range includes 14 skin care products, two shampoos, a shower gel, deodorant, bar soaps, hand and foot creams, two body lotions, a dry body oil and an aloe vera gel.

In the French country pavilion I also came across Argandia, a charming French organic beauty brand whose products are based on argan oil. Certified by Cosmebio and Ecocert, the products also carry Ecocert’s fair trade certifications: Argandia sources its argan oil and prickly pear oil from local women’s cooperatives in Morocco. The brand’s argan oil line-up includes a number of different sub-ranges: the Elixirs Précieux comprises different argan-based face oils including a pure argan oil, a protective face oil formulated with rosewood and rose geranium essential oils, a regenerating argan oil with carrot and petit grain essential oils and a balancing oil with primrose and macadamia oil that is blended with chamomile, patchouli and lavender essential oils. Sounds delicious!

Argandia

Then there is the Rêve d’Argan face care range which includes cleansing milk, cleansing foam, cleansing oil and eye makeup remover, three hydrosols (cornflower, orange blossom and rose), an eye cream, an orange blossom moisturizer for normal and combination skin, a rose moisturizer for dry and sensitive skin types, two matching BB creams, two face scrubs and two masks. There is also a body care range which includes body scrubs, lotions and shower gels, hand cream, foot cream, liquid soaps and so on; in total there are some 15 body care products.

Argandia’s second range is based on a more unusual ingredient: prickly pear oil (opuntia ficus indica) which is difficult to manufacture and is therefore rather expensive. However, it is considered one of the effective anti-ageing oils on the market due to very high levels of fatty acids, vitamin E and Delta 7 Stigmasterol (a phytosterol). The brand’s Prickly Pear oil range (or rather: Figue de Barbarie which is the more euphonious French name for prickly pear!) offers the pure oil in two sizes (15 ml and 30 ml) as well as a prickly pear oil blended with anti-ageing essential oils including rosewood, geranium and carrot. The range also offers two anti-ageing creams, a BB cream, a face serum, an eye and lip intensive treatment and a hand cream.

The distributor of Argandia also presented two other French brands: essential oil brand Finessence (also certified organic) and non-certified home fragrance range Plantes & Parfums Provence. I thought Finessence was particularly interesting; they have some 65 essential oils which are divided into categories according to their use: Relaxation (including lavender, chamomile, orange, sandalwood and frankincense), Breathing (spruce, rosemary, thyme, mint, majoram and eucalyptus) Silhouette (cedarwood, grapefruit, clary sage, vetiver), Immune Defenses (clove bud, oregano, cinnamon, palmarosa, tea tree), Digest (basil, pepper, lemongrass, nana mint, verbena), Muscle & Joints (juniper, winter green, helichryse, lemon eucalyptus) and Skin Care (rose geranium, spike lavender, patchouli, carrot seed, ylang ylang, rose). And all in certified organic quality! Very impressive. Finessence also offers a range of blended oils for massage, aroma diffuser oils and so on but their main focus lies on single pure essential oils.

I also liked another small French organic brand, Marilou Bio. The brand was founded in 2009 and its portfolio is small but covers all the essentials: day cream, night cream, anti-wrinkle cream and eye cream, foaming face wash, cleansing milk, face scrub and cleansing mask, four different lip balms and a multi-purpose cream that can be used on face or body. There is also a 4-sku argan oil face care range. The products are attractively packaged; Marilou Bio is already sold in Japan, Korea and China (China is the company’s biggest market) and they were at Cosmoprof Asia to look for distributors for Taiwan and Hong Kong. In France Marilou Bio is sold online and in parapharmacies.

Marilou Bio

I also had an interesting chat with Swiss brand Swissline. Swiss cosmetics, especially skin care, are very popular in Asia. You can visit any perfumery or well-stocked drugstore in any Asian country and find a selection of Swiss beauty brands – or at least, these are beauty brands with the word “Swiss” (or a large red-and-white cross!) as part of their brand logo. Many of these labels are indeed produced in Switzerland but very often they are brands developed exclusively for the Asian markets, like La Colline and Suisse Programme, Sur Pur or Methode Swiss.

However, Swissline is a genuine and very well-known Swiss salon brand that is actually available in Europe and Switzerland – unlike other Swiss brands that are popular in Asia! Swissline has been distributed in Hong Kong for 25 years; the company’s other Asian markets include Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and China; I was told that they are also interested in Japan and Korea. And the Cellshock range is their bestselling range in Asia. Interestingly enough it was Swissline’s first visit to Cosmoprof Asia.

Swissline

Italian company Bema Cosmetics offers a number of beauty brands that are manufactured for specific retail channels. Naturys, for example, is Bema’s salon brand, Bema bio is an organic range, BioEco Natura is available in supermarkets, and BioEc is sold in pharmacies. At Cosmoprof Asia Bema showed their latest launch from summer 2015: Bema White, a skin-brightening face care range. The company is already quite active in Asia; its cosmetics are available in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan and Malaysia although the product line-up differs according to distributor and country. However, Hong Kong is Bema’s most important market and their big bestseller is the Breast Enhancing Kit.

Fellow Italian exhibitor L’Erbolario was at Cosmoprof Asia for the second time. L’Erbolario is one of the best-known Italian brands internationally and in Asia especially they are HUGE: the Asian markets account for 51% of the company’s total international exports. The company’s most important Asian markets are Taiwan and Korea, but L’Erbolario is also present in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Amongst its Asian consumers, the brand’s face care products are the most popular category – skin care accounts for 45% of L’Erbolario’s entire Asian product sales. And one of the brand’s bestsellers in the Asian region is the serum in the anti-ageing range Formula Anti-Tempo.

L'Erbolario (4)

At Cosmoprof Asia L’Erbolario presented several new launches, like the certified organic skin care range Goji (face and body care) which was launched in May 2015; the packaging is partially made from sugarcane fibres. There are also two new product lines for this Christmas season: bath & body care ranges Frescaessenza and Indian Jasmine.

Russian organic brand Natura Siberica always has one of the largest exhibition stands, no matter what trade show they visit! And their presence at Cosmoprof Asia 2015 was no exception. I’m already familiar with most of Natura Siberica’s product portfolio but I was interested in the company’s two new regional collections. Natura Siberica loves Estonia offers two face and body care ranges formulated with, respectively, calendula extract harvested in Estonia (orange packaging) and Estonian cornflower and Northern cloudberry (blue packaging). What a charming idea!

Natura Siberica (6)

A brand that completely bowled me over (such an unusual concept!) was Alfresco from the UK. Alfresco was founded in 1996 and they do an insect-repellent skin care range which is based on essential oils and does not include Deet or similar chemical ingredients. The brand uses a blend of 22 essential oils to drive mosquitos and bugs away! At the same time you are enveloped in a lovely spicy floriental fragrance.

The Alfresco range includes the Luxury Anti-Bug Bite Moisturizer which can be used on hand, body, face or wherever, and the Acqua d’Alfresco, a body fragrance. Both products are available in pocket sizes, too. At the trade show Alfresco showed their latest product launches: a creamy body wash, a shampoo and a conditioner. All three products are scented with the same essential oil blend. Alfresco was at Cosmoprof Asia for the second time; their products are especially popular in Hong Kong which is also their biggest market. However, Alfresco is also present in China. In both markets the products are mostly sold online. And the body moisturizer is their star product.

Alfresco (3)

A brand I wasn’t familiar with was Palladio, a colour cosmetics label from the US with a massive product range – check out their display case in the picture below! This is their full range; in the international markets Palladio sells a slightly more abbreviated line-up which, however, is still very comprehensive. Palladio has just started to expand into Europe, by the way, the brand is about to be launched in Spain and the UK will follow soon.

I was intrigued to find out that Palladio is also in negotiations with some German retailers for a possible German market entry – my guess would be that one of these retailers is perfumery chain Douglas. Douglas has been sold twice since 2014; the current owner is an investment fund based in Luxemburg who keeps affirming that Douglas will continue to build on its European market leadership. Adding a new (and perhaps exclusive?) colour cosmetics brand would certainly help with this goal – and I think Palladio would be a really good fit for Douglas’ current line-up of beauty brands.

Palladio (3)

Palladio is also forging ahead into Asia: its products are already available in China, Vietnam and Thailand, with Japan and Malaysia to follow soon. Palladio’s big sellers in Asia are the compact powders and the liquid eyeliners and I was told that China was their biggest market; they are sold in outlets of the Sephora chain, in department stores and online through T-Mall.

Party on!

Since this year was Cosmoprof Asia’s big anniversary, organizers UBM and BolognaFiere pulled out all the stops: the Red Party on the first evening of the show honoured Cosmoprof Asia’s long-standing supporting companies and exhibitors with trophies, a beautiful multi-tiered birthday cake was ceremoniously cut and there was even a small fashion show.

Party!
Centdegres

The organisers also came up with the perfect anniversary gift for the trade show visitors: a special fragrance developed by one of Cosmoprof Asia’s brand partners, French retail and brand design agency Centdegres.

Centdegres was founded in 1988 and they have a spectacular product portfolio: the agency designed stores for premium fragrance brand Diptyque and salon brand Carita, they are responsible for the fabulous Skinfood concept store on Seoul’s uber-trendy Garosu-gil street – I walked past the store several times while I was in Garosu-gil and it is great: a café on the second floor and a rooftop terrace! The building is painted bright yellow!

Centdegres also created the packaging of Chinese beauty brand Herborist and oversaw Givenchy’s iconic colour cosmetics packaging relaunch from 2004/2005. They do the packaging design for Italian beauty brand Kiko Milano (I love Kiko! Cool products, great packaging and very innovative limited editions) and came up with a new look for traditional French cognac brand Martell. Other beauty brands they have worked on include Maysu (a brand from China), Cartier (fragrance brand from France) and Yves Rocher (French mass market cosmetics) and there are scores of other impressive design projects they have completed over the past 25 years.

Like the #FragrancePerformance range which Centdegres created especially for Cosmoprof Asia’s 20th anniversary. The four unisex fragrances were developed in cooperation with fragrances and ingredients manufacturer Firmenich; next to Centdegres’ official exhibition stand was a special Moodboard area where visitors could answer questions and find out which fragrance type they were. I attended the official press conference and the Red Party and somehow I ended up with three of the four fragrances – and yes, they smell great!

Cosmoprof Asia 2015 was an action-packed and exhausting three days but I enjoyed it tremendously. Can’t wait until next year’s show!

Cosmoprof intro (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under Asia, cosmeticsbusiness.com, Events, Industry News, Retail, Show Reports, Trade Shows, Travel

5 responses to “Retail notes from Hong Kong: [Show Report] Cosmoprof Asia 2015

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