Retail notes from Hong Kong: [Show Report] Cosmoprof Asia 2016

Well, the 21st edition of Asia’s biggest beauty trade show has come and gone. Cosmoprof Asia 2016 took place from 15th to 18th November 2016.

This year, organisers UBM BolognaFiere had divided the trade show into two sections: Ingredients, Machinery/Equipment, Pack & OEM took place from 15th-17th November at AsiaWorld-Expo; Cosmetics & Toiletries, Salon Beauty, Hair & Nails was at Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from 16th-18th November.

Since my focus is retail cosmetics I spent the entire trade show at HKCEC. And like Cosmoprof Asia 2014 and Cosmoprof Asia 2015, Cosmoprof Asia 2016 turned out to be a fabulous show: I discovered interesting new beauty brands and met up with many familiar faces – it was an exciting (and exhausting!) three days.

Click on the link below for some of my favourite brand discoveries!

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Before we start: here are some facts and figures about Cosmoprof Asia 2016.

This year’s trade show was the biggest Cosmoprof Asia yet, with a total of 2,698 exhibitors from 49 countries. At AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE), there were 732 exhibitors from 19 countries and regions; at HKCEC a total of 1,966 exhibitors from 49 countries. Total exhibition space for both shows: 98,000 sq m (31,400 sq m at AWE, 66,600 sq m at HKCEC) which means an increase of 17% compared to 2015.

The exhibitors included 24 national/group pavilions: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, California, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the UK and the US. And Japan was Cosmoprof Asia’s Country of Honour.

The AsiaWorld-Expo part of Cosmoprof Asia saw the very first edition of Innovation Circle Awards this year: a new award which honours the most innovative packaging, design and formula across six categories based on a specific theme. The inaugural theme of the Innovation Circle Awards was “Legends” and the submission of 24 finalist companies were on show at AWE.

Another new section at AWE was “Spotlights on Ingredients” in Hall 5 which focused on – well – ingredients (plus textures and formulations) and The Lipstick Factory, a special show organised by three Italian exhibitors in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and the Italian Trade Agency. The Lipstick Factory showcased the entire product process that goes into creating a lipstick. I would have loved to have seen this but, sadly, there was no time to go all the way out to AWE.

I did visit all the special sections at HKCEC though: The Extraordinary Gallery up in Hall 3G (vis à vis from the press lounge, very convenient!), Discover Trends (also in Hall 3G: companies/exhibitors from trend categories like organic beauty, men’s cosmetics and baby care), Emerging Beauty up in Hall 5C (newcomer brands and first-time exhibitors) and the Boutique area on the first floor – this is a special store area where visitors can buy travel sized products from exhibiting brands, with all proceeds going to charity.

In addition, there was the usual Cosmoprof Asia conference programme but, again, I didn’t have time to visit any of the lectures – I was much too busy talking to brands and checking out new product launches!

And now, finally, here are some of my favourite brand discoveries at Cosmoprof Asia 2016!

COSMOPROF ASIA 2016: BEAUTY FROM JAPAN

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There were 90 exhibitors from Japan at Cosmoprof Asia 2016, including big companies like D-UP, Do-Best and Nature Lab and smaller, regional beauty brands.

Take Chulala, for example! I had come across Okinawan beauty brand Chulala in Japanese drugstore retailer Ainz & Tulpe’s Shinjuku and Harajuku outlets; both stores have a great selection of regional Japanese cosmetics.  Chulala’s cosmetics are based on local ingredients such as shell ginger, deep sea water and coral water (water that has been purified by corals; said to be especially rich in calcium and magnesium). The brand was launched in 1999 and until recently, the products were primarily sold in Okinawa where they are popular tourist souvenirs.

A few months ago the company relaunched its packaging and product line-up and began to distribute its products nation-wide: they are currently in around 30 Tokyu Hands stores and in 15 Loft department store outlets. Nicely done! Chulala is also expanding into mainland China: the brand has just opened a permanent store in Shanghai’s Reel luxury shopping mall and they are also present in the beauty department of Shanghai’s Isetan department store.

Chulala’s product portfolio includes the anti-ageing Cleansing Lotion face wash which has been formulated with deep sea water and papain enzyme (it is also the brand’s star product), the hydrating Moist Lotion with coral water and deep sea water, a slightly richer face cream (Revital Cream) which includes shell ginger leaf extract, okra fruit extract and aloe vera; a creamy deep cleansing mask with marine silt, a moisturising sheet mask, a herbal face & body soap, a UV milk and a BB Cream with SPF30.

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Nature Lab is also from Japan; the Tokyo-based company is the manufacturer of the Moist Diane range of hair care and styling. Moist Diane has a very wide distribution in Asia; I’ve seen the products in Japan (of course!), Hong Kong, Taipei and Seoul. At Cosmoprof Asia 2016, Nature Lab presented its latest Moist Diane launches which include the Argan repairing hair care range and a new hair-straightening mask, the Gold Extra Moist Hair Mask. Another successful Nature Lab brand is men’s care label Maro. The latest Maro product launches are a range of body and facial cleansing wipes.

I was also interested to see the exhibition stand of Arakaki Tsusho: the company produces cosmetics for a number of high-profile Japanese beauty brands like Kanebo, Shiseido and Kosé but also Creer Beauté, the brand behind the successful Miracle Romance and Sailor Moon colour cosmetics ranges.

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Another cute, regional Japanese brand is InEarth from Hokkaido. I had first met InEarth at CosmeTokyo 2014 and then at the next two Cosmoprof Asia fairs. This year, InEarth was at the show as part of a group exhibition: Sapporo Chamber of Industry & Commerce presented six beauty, supplements and tea brands from Hokkaido. At the show, InEarth presented its latest launch, Deep Moist Oil.

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Another brand that I had met before was Kyoto-based Myyuki. The brand had been an exhibitor at Cosmoprof 2014 (my very first Cosmoprof show) and on that occasion their exhibition booth was mobbed by interested visitors. Myyuki has developed a spectacularly beautiful luxury face cleansing soap – the origami-inspired rice paper packaging is STUNNING – actually, there are two soaps; one is black (with charcoal and 29 plant oils) and one is white (with pearl powder). You “paint” your face with the wet soap (it doesn’t foam up, instead it turns  into a sort of gel texture), hence the brand name Black Paint. This time, the Myyuki booth (up in the Discover Trends section in Hall 3 G) was less crowded so I actually got to try out the black soap cleansing ritual on the back of my hand. It’s impressive how soft my skin felt afterwards.

The brand has also launched a face care range which includes a super soft toning water (which is based on Japanese mineral-enriched water), a two-phase “milky lotion”, the “ostrich balm” which is a firmly-textured moisturiser designed to be mixed with the toner, and finally a hydrating face cream. The crowning glory of the skin care range, however, are two face oils: “Luxurious Oil Gold” and “Luxurious Oil Platinum” (the pic above shows the Gold Oil). Both oils are formulated with German blue camomile extract and contain flakes of gold leaf and platinum foil respectively. I don’t even dare to imagine how expensive these face oils are – the soaps are priced at 700 HKD (a special trade show price!) which equals 85 Euro so the Luxurious Oils must be firmly in the luxe price category (actually, I just checked on blackpaint.jp: the oils retail at 18,360 JPY which equals – wait for it! – 157 Euro).

They are beautiful products though.

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A new Japanese brand which looked interesting was HerbEAU. Manufactured by SSC Co, a company which is based in Nagasaki, HerbEAU was launched three years ago. As the brand name indicates, the products are based on plant oils and herbal extracts. There are two main skin and body care ranges: the Basic line offers a cleansing oil, cleansing foam, lotion and UV cream, the Special Treatment range comprises a body cream, a mist essence, a repairing serum and a moisturiser.

HerbEAU’s latest launches include the Happy Omamori Balm, a multi-purpose moisturiser which is based on ICEA-certified sunflower oil, shea butter, sesame oil and rice wax; it also contains immortelle oil, coffee seed oil, sacha inchi oil and Brazilian pepper seed extract. From what I could see, the INCI of this balm looked pretty organic. And Biwa Perfect All in One Gel Jewel Harvest Moon is an intensive anti-ageing moisturiser formulated with mountain water from Kyushu and loquat extracts from Nagasaki-grown loquat fruit which are harvested during the time of the full moon.

COSMOPROF ASIA 2016: BEAUTY FROM KOREA

Unsurprisingly, Korea was very strongly represented at Cosmoprof Asia.

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Korean beauty brand Holika Holika was a first-time exhibitor at Cosmoprof Asia. At the show, Holika Holika presented some of its new product launches, including the Gudetama beauty range. Gudetama is a Sanrio character (Sanrio is also the creator of Hello Kitty): a depressed looking egg yolk who is, nonetheless, hugely popular in Asia. Gudetama products everywhere! Holika Holika’s Gudetama range was launched June and I was told that it is doing very well indeed. The brand’s best-selling products, by the way, are the Pig Nose Clean Mask and the Aloe Vera Gel. The company also presented its anti-ageing range Enprani and the anti-wrinkle cosmeceutical range Hillda. Both ranges were new to me; I had seen Enprani in stores but didn’t know that the brand belonged to the manufacturer of Holika Holika.

I was also happy to see an old favourite: Korean skin care manufacturer Chamos. I like Chamos’s Acaci skin care products (one of my very first K-Beauty purchases all those years ago – in a Sasa store in Singapore, to be exact – was the Acaci Trouble Spot Lotion.) Since then, I have seen Chamos at various C&T trade shows, most recently at Cosmoprof Bologna this spring. Amongst Chamos’ new launches is an Acaci Snail Repair gift set and two luscious-looking new honey sheet masks (see pic below). The brand’s products are available in most Asian countries these days and I was told that Chamos has just started to distribute its products in the US. Perhaps Acaci will also be available in Germany one day?

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Another familiar face at the trade show was Korean natural beauty brand Vieco. I had first met Vieco at Cosmoprof Asia 2014 and I like the company’s beauty products. At Cosmoprof 2016, Vieco presented several relaunched  skin care ranges, including the Rosetears Whitening range which was introduced in October 2016. The product range offers a pink-tinted powdery sun cream, a toner, spot serum, skin care cream and face oil all formulated with rose flower and rose stem cell extracts.

In the Korean pavilion I also saw a number of familiar beauty brands, like Hongik Skin (which I had last seen at International Beauty Expo Korea 2015), mask brand SNP, colour cosmetics brand Konad, manufacturer Nexgen Biotech (Nexgen presented its new spider toxin ingredients complex at Cosmobeauty Seoul this May) and skin care brands Thank You Farmer and The Yeon. Mask manufacturer iM1NE also had a booth at the show – I had seen the company’s “I’m Sorry for My Skin” masks this April in Seoul and absolutely loved the pack design!

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And of course there were Jeju brands galore at the trade show! Jeju is an island in South Korea and famous for its natural ingredients and holistic lifestyle.  And no matter what Asian C&T trade show you visit: if there is a Korean exhibitor contingent, there will be brands from Jeju!

At Cosmoprof Asia 2016, some of the exhibitors from Jeju were Gosari.f, [ka:zmetik], Accoje and Jejuwooda – and one of my favourites from last year: Jejuon. Manufactured by Korea Beauty Industry Development Institute, Jejuon’s product portfolio includes a wide range of sheet masks made with various natural ingredients, including horse oil and turmeric. I had bought the horse oil/turmeric mask last year and loved it. You can read more about Jejuon in my Cosmoprof Asia 2015 article. At the show, Jejuon presented its latest product launch: the anti-ageing Haion skin care range which consists of a face cream and an intensive treatment. The brand is also slowly expanding outside of Korea, products are sold in mainland China and Hong Kong and manufacturer KBIDI is also looking to move into the European marketplace.

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I also liked the concept of [ka:zmetik]; the brand was launched in June 2016 and its products are based on fermented Jeju-grown coffee cherries! The range comprises six products: a coffee bean scrub, a coffee lotion, a gel-textured coffee leaf mask, a coffee essence, a coffee cream and a coffee cleansing foam. There is also a special range – Jeju Coffee – which is only sold in Korea while [ka:zmetik] is intended for the export/international market.

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[ka:zmetik] is manufactured by Jeju coffee producer MyBeans which specialises in various ready-to-drink fermented cold brew coffee beverages. MyBeans operates one of the largest coffee plantation in Korea and also runs eight coffee houses. The fermenting agent used in the MyBeans coffee production is called “nuruk”: I had to research this in more detail and it is fascinating: Nuruk is made from ground-up grains, water, fungi, yeast and lactic acid bacteria; it is sold in powder form – apparently you can find it in many Korean supermarkets – and it is a popular ingredient used cooking, especially when making fermented foods.

And now comes one my personal brand highlights of the first exhibition day: I had first come across organic Korean brand Aromatica in Seoul last year, on my first trip to Korea. Since then, I have bought the brand’s products whenever I visit Seoul; currently I am using Aromatica’s Neroli Face Serum which is heavenly! However, I had never seen the entire product portfolio of the brand; most Aromatica stockists in Seoul – like Boon’s, LOHBS and so on – only sell a partial range of products. I had also never seen the brand at any of the Asian C&T shows I’ve attended over the last few years.

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So I was delighted to see Aromatica at Cosmoprof Asia 2016! They were a first-time exhibitor at the show and I had a very nice chat with their overseas sales rep. She told me that Aromatica is currently sold in Korea, the US and Hong Kong and that the brand has also signed with distributors in Spain, France and Belgium. Some of Aromatica’s products are also available at MiiN store in Munich; the first bricks & mortar retailer in Germany to sell Korean cosmetics. It looks like Aromatica is well on its way to a European market presence. Yay!

The brand was founded in 2002 (which must make it one of the first organic beauty brands in Korea) and the product line-up includes the 4-sku Rose Absolute skin care range (serum, fluid, cream and eye cream – the Rose Absolute First Serum is Aromatica’s best-seller in Korea), the 4-sku Tea Tree line (toner, emulsion, cleanser and spot treatment), the 4-sku Argan line (serum, eye cream, face scrub and pure argan face oil), the 4-sku Sea Daffodil range (toner, gel cream, cleansing foam and sheet mask) and the 2-sku Calendula line (cream and sheet mask).

In addition, the brand offers three sun care products, a range of daily face care products – various cleansers, an aloe vera gel, a rose gel and an aloe cream – and hair care: Rosemary (scalp-strengthening: shampoo, conditioner and strengthening scalp treatment), Argan (moisturing care: shampoo, conditioner, hair mask and hair serum), Tea Tree (purifying hair care: shampoo, conditioner and tonic) and Ginseng (volume-enhancing: shampoo and conditioner). There are also three aroma massage oils. And there are some exciting new product launches ahead in early 2017, like new sheet masks in the rose and tea tree ranges. I can’t wait! Hopefully they’ll be in-store the next time I visit Seoul.

COSMOPROF ASIA 2016: BEAUTY FROM TAIWAN

One of my favourite Taiwanese brands was also at Cosmoprof Asia 2016: Maskingdom! I have written several times about this luxury sheet mask manufacturer, you can read about my visits to Maskingdom’s flagship in Taipei here and here. In brief, Maskingdom is a very Taiwanese brand: the products are formulated with locally sourced ingredients, the packaging is designed by Taiwanese artists and several of their face mask ranges are dedicated to different Taiwanese Aboriginal tribes. I had last met the brand at Cosmoprof Bologna 2016 and was very glad to see their eye-catching exhibition stand at Cosmoprof Asia 2016: big, beautifully decorated and right in the middle of the exhibition hall.

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Maskingdom is going from strength to strength at the moment: the company received the coveted Red Dot Design Award 2016 for one of its Aboriginal design face masks and was also awarded two design prizes at Cosmoprof Bologna this spring. In addition, the brand has just found distributors in Italy and the UK and is also expanding into Singapore and Malaysia. And in early 2017, there will be three new skin and body care ranges to match selected Maskingdom’s Aboriginal sheet masks. Each range comprises a skin care spray, a body lotion, hand cream, roll-on essential oil, lip balm, body oil, massage candle and aroma oil.

The products within the moisturising and brightening Wealth range are scented with a warm, woodsy fragrance of sunflowers, Taiwanese lily and oolong tea rounded off by soft tones of quinoa and orange peel. Wisdom is composed of fresh and marine-inspired notes of bergamot, sea breeze and wet wood accented by oak moss and light florals. And Love’s fragrance contains white jasmine, honeysuckle, green notes, musk and aromatic hinoki. This was my favourite fragrance! (I simply love hinoki).

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A charming Taiwanese-Australian beauty brand (the brand is from Australia, the products are manufactured in Taiwan) is Snow Fox which had its exhibition booth in Hall 5 (Emerging Beauty) – super stylish white-and-silver packaging and three COSMOS-certified face care products: a gentle cleansing foam with peppermint oil, a detoxing sheet mask and a hydrating moisturising lotion made with ginseng extract.

Prices are at the lower end of the luxury scale: 35 USD (33 Euro) for the cleanser, 55 USD (51 Euro) for the moisturiser and 8 USD (7.50 Euro) per sheet mask. By the time you are reading this, Snow Fox will have been officially launched in Hong Kong (its first market). The next country will be Australia, followed by the US – and eventually, Europe.

COSMOPROF ASIA 2016: ASIA-PACIFIC

There a number of organic brands from Australia at the trade show – like Kosmea. The brand was founded around 20 years ago and they are a long-time Cosmoprof Asia exhibitor. In 2013, Kosmea expanded into Japan; their products are also available in Hong Kong. The brand’s signature Rosehip Oil range is also Kosmea’s best-seller: the line includes pure rosehip oil, the multipurpose moisturiser Rescue Balm and the Rescue Body Lotion.

In addition, there is an everyday skin care range packaged in blue which offers a facial wash gel, face scrub, cream wash, cleansing wipes, a toner spray, serum, eye cream, a lotion with SPF30, an oil serum and a moisturising cream. Finally, there is the (light pink) rose range with lip balm, body lotion, body oil, body mist, creamy body wash and a hand cream. All products are certified by the ACO (Australian Certified Organic), by the way.

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Australian organic beauty brand Organic Island was founded in 2006 and they were a first-time exhibitor at Cosmoprof Asia. Organic Island’s product line-up includes five skin and body care products and a baby care range. All products are certified by the German BDIH and the Australian ACO and the formulae are based on aloe vera leaf extract – completely water-free! They have really high-quality INCIs; you can check them out on the company’s website. Prices are around 30 Euro for the skin care products.

The range comprises a day cream, night cream and eye cream plus a hand cream and the best-selling paw-paw lip salve. And the baby range offers a gentle body wash/shampoo, a nappy rash cream and a light moisturising milk. Organic Island also sells the cutest range of lip balms which are packaged in – get this – sea shells! Real sea shells which are equipped with metal clips: one side includes the lip balm, the other offers a tiny mirror. Clip the whole thing shut and you have a nice little lip balm compact. A very cool product idea! Besides Australia, Organic Island’s products are currently available in Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden and they are looking to expand into Asia. Good luck to them!

Thailand is traditionally well-represented at Cosmoprof Asia and this year, there were some 50 companies at the show. Many of these were spa brands. I already knew Znya Organics, a lovely little spa brand which I had first met in late 2014 at CosmeTokyo trade show. This February, Znya attended Vivaness 2016 trade show and I was happy to see the brand again at Cosmoprof Asia. I like Znya’s products, especially the powder washes and bar soaps.

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Another spa brand (and a first-time exhibitor at Cosmoprof Asia) was Ryn from the island of Phuket. Ryn was founded in 2015; the brand operates its own spa in Phuket and many of its products are manufactured with Thai ingredients. The line-up includes 24 sku of spa-oriented body care products – such as body washes, lotions and oils – and four new hand creams.

The different product ranges are named after European holiday destinations – like “Woodland of the Versailles” (body scrub, body wash and body lotion) which is scented with notes of cedarwood, rose, ylang-ylang and frankincense; or “Madrid Mercado” (wash, scrub, lotion) which is formulated with an invigorating fragrance of ginger, grapefruit, lavender, sandalwood and nutmeg. The brand also offers Asian-themed ranges like “Tropically Mae Ping” (body scrub, body wash, body lotion, hand wash, hand cream, body oil) which is scented with cool citrus notes, or the more voluptuous floral “Bali Lush” (body scrub, body wash, body lotion, hand wash, hand cream and body oil).

COSMOPROF ASIA 2016: RETURN TO KOREA

I was excited to see Korean beauty brand Blithe at the show: they are the manufacturer of the famous Patting Water Packs and Pressed Serums. I had read about Blithe’s products on various K-beauty blogs and online stores and now I finally got to try out the Patting Waters! This is a concentrated liquid mask which you dilute with water; there are three variants – Energy Yellow Citrus & Honey, Soothing & Healing Green Tea and Rejuvenating Purple Berry. You dilute one capful in a bowl of water and pat the liquid onto your face for about 15 seconds. The masks have a light fragrance and feel very pleasant on the skin – I tried them out on my hands.

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Ditto for the Pressed Serums (light gel creams) which are available in the following variants: Tundra Chaga Mushroom for nutrition and firmness, Crystal Iceplant for hydration and Velvet Yam for extra-rich moisturisation. Again, great textures and lovely fragrances. The product line-up also includes three treatment essences – the Vital Treatments – which are gel-liquidy lotions: 5 Energy Roots (moisturising), 8 Nourishing Beans (elasticity & firmness) and 9 Essential Seeds (brightening). The correct treatment order would be the following: Patting Water Pack first, then the Vital Treatment and finally the Pressed Serum. Oh yes, and there are also two sheet masks, the brightening Sea Cucumber and the moisturising Abalone.

Blithe’s most popular Pressed Serum is the Tundra Changa variant while the best-selling Patting Water is the green tea version. In early 2017 there will be several new launches, including a small hand cream range, a cleansing water and a BB sun cream. I was also told that Blithe is currently developing a men’s skin care range!

As far as geographical distribution is concerned, the brand’s products are available in the US and Hong Kong, as well as various South East Asian countries (including Thailand and Indonesia as the first two regional markets) – oh yes, and there is a good chance that some of Blithe’s products might be available in Europe soon, the brand is currently in talks with US perfumery chain Sephora’s European division….!

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An interesting Korean beauty brand hitherto unfamiliar to me was Ettang, see pic above. Ettang was launched in 2012, they were a second-time exhibitor in Cosmoprof Asia and have already managed to establish a considerable international presence: their products are available in outlets of the Sasa perfumery chain in Malaysia and Taiwan, in retail chain Sally Beauty in Mexico, in fashion retail chain Urban Outfitters in the US and – most recently – in US perfumery chain Sephora’s European outlets. I was told that Sephora stores in Poland, France and Italy already carry Ettang cosmetics. The brand’s portfolio includes modelling masks, sheet masks and various skin care ranges.

COSMOPROF ASIA 2016: MALE BEAUTY

Men’s cosmetics have been a definite  growth sector in the Asian C&T market over the last few years.

Korean beauty brand Swagger, up in the Discover Trends section in Hall 3G, is one such men’s brand. It was launched in 2011 and the range includes four Fragrance Shower Gels (the packaging looks like an EDT or aftershave flacon – nice!), three deodorant body sprays, two different types of hair waxes (one for a soft look, the other for firm hold and matte effect), a hair pomade and a hair spray, a shampoo and on the face care side a jar of pre-saturated cleansing pads (brilliant idea for this particular demographic!), a moisturising crean, an all-in-one toner/lotion/essence, a facial scrub and two sheet masks: a vitamin E hydrogel mask and a tea tree mask for pore care. There is also a BB cream and an eyebrow pen. Impressive!

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And there was another interesting men’s brand at the trade show, up in Hall 5 (Emerging Beauty). Bulk Homme is from Japan, the brand was launched in 2013 and the line-up includes six products: a face wash, a toner, a lotion, a sunscreen and a sheet mask, and a body wash.

The products are made with typically Japanese ingredients, like apple extract, yuzu fruit extract, tea leaf extract and mineral-rich onsen (Japanese hot spring) water. Except for the sun screen (which is packaged in a tube) and the sheet mask (which comes in, well, typical square sheet mask packaging), the products are contained in squeeze pouches equipped with a screw top. Really unusual product design! And perfect for the brand’s urban male demographic.

Bulk Homme is currently sold primarily online; the brand is listed as one of the top men’s care brands on amazon.co.jp. However, I was told that the products are also available in Loft and Tokyu Hands department stores across Japan.

COSMOPROF ASIA 2016: MORE ORGANICS FROM KOREA

Another of my personal highlights at Cosmoprof Asia 2016 was the presence of organic beauty brand Whamisa. I first met Whamisa at CosmeTokyo trade show 2014 in Tokyo; the brand profile I wrote afterwards continues to be one of the most popular articles on this blog. Every time I am in Seoul I stock up on my favourite Whamisa products – I love the Original Deep Rich Toner and the Rich Lotion. Whamisa’s distribution in Korea (and internationally) has been a little patchy so far; the brand is stocked by two of the big organic supermarket chains in Korea but each store carries a different product selection.

In Germany their famous face masks are sold by Berlin-based online store Savue Beauty; and Miin store in Munich apparently also sells some Whamisa products (at least I’ve read this online; no idea how valid the info is!). And occasionally you can find Whamisa products on Amazon or Ebay. Usually from private sellers.

However, hopefully this will change soon! I was really excited to read that Whamisa’s manufacturer ENS Korea would be at the show – and they were, together with Korean beauty company Jallon which has taken over the marketing and promotion of Whamisa. Jallon is an organic beauty and nutritional supplements manufacturer; they also own two new and very interesting looking BDIH-certified beauty brands: anti-ageing skin care range Jath and children’s care range Nature Belle. Like Whamisa, Jath and Nature Belle are manufactured by ENS Korea.

And Whamisa was there with its entire product portfolio plus a recently launched 3-sku men’s care range. The toner was the first product in the new range – it was launched in late 2015 – and the All-in-One Moisturiser, from early 2016, is the latest men’s care product. See pic below.

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Since I am already pretty familiar with Whamisa’s portfolio I was more interested in Jath and Nature Belle. Let’s start with the 5-sku Jath range: the products are based on aloe vera and Irish Moss extracts and the range includes a cell-boosting elixir, an anti-oxidant face lifting gel, an antioxidant recovery serum, an anti-wrinkle eye cream and a hydrating cream. In all Jath products the organic percentage is more than 95% and in classic Whamisa tradition, the products are formulated without any water. I love it!

Children’s range Nature Belle offers a hair & body cleanser, a body lotion, an intensive multi-balm moisturiser, a talc-free powder lotion which is really most ingenious; once you apply it to the skin it turns powdery! Finally, there is a sun protection cream with mineral filters (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide). I will be publishing a more detailed article on Jath and Nature Belle soon (with lots of pics and the complete INCIs); watch this space!

Cosmoprof Asia 2016: Miniso and Natoha

And now for something a little different: I was surprised to see an exhibition booth of Japanese-Chinese retailer Miniso at the show. My colleague Julia from Beautyjagd blog had just been to Shanghai and wrote about Miniso in one of her articles; so I was familiar with the Miniso logo and concept. However, it was still interesting – and a little surprising – to see the company at Cosmoprof Asia.

Miniso was founded by Japanese designer Miyake Junya and Chinese entrepreneur Ye Guofu in 2013. Taking inspiration from Japanese retailers like Daiso, Uniqlo and Muji, the Miniso stores sells stylishly designed beauty, fashion and accessories, household goods, interior design, gadgets and electronics, stationery, foods and drinks at a fixed price of 10 RMB per item (=1.30 Euro) – it’s the Daiso principle at work! And Miniso is enormously popular, the company works on a kind of franchise system and is expanding fast; there are currently some 1400 stores internationally and around 1200 of these are located in mainland China. I have also seen a Miniso somewhere in Tokyo (can’t remember where) and on the Miniso website the company states that they have outlets in 29 other countries.

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There was another non-beauty company that I really liked: Natoha is a tea brand from Okinawa, Japan’s most Southern island. The brand was launched earlier this year and their three teas are all made with regional ingredients: the main ingredient is black carrot (one of the oldest carrot species in existence) which is grown right there in Okinawa. Black carrots are said to contain a lot of anti-oxidants and polyphenols (much more so than “ordinary” orange carrots) so they are considered a very healthy vegetable. In each Natoha tea variant, the carrot is combined with other ingredients: Love contains hibiscus and shell ginger, Relax contains lemongrass and aloe and Cleanse has green tea and turmeric. I tried all three teas and my favourite, I think, was Relax. Although Love also tasted really good. Anyway, since its brand launch Natoha has come in for quite a bit of press attention – mostly from the Japanese women’s, lifestyle and fashion media – and the company’s teas are sold in, for example, organic perfumery Beauty Library in Omotesando, Tokyo.

COSMOPROF ASIA 2016: EUROPE

And now we come to the European beauty brands!

All of the major European countries were well-represented at Cosmoprof Asia 2016. The German pavilion featured some of the country’s biggest cosmeceutical and salon beauty brands (including Klapp, mbr and Jean d’Arcel), plus several mid-sized salon companies like Rosa Graf and Charlotte Meentzen and manufacturers/distributors such as Mann & Schröder, Straub and Maxim. In addition, the German contingent included mass market consumer brands like Herbacin and Glysomed which are very popular in Asia. I had spoken to several of these brands last year – you can read about it in my Cosmoprof Asia 2015 show review – so this year I focused on smaller and organic beauty brands.

And several of my European favourites were at the trade show!

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Dabba is an organic beauty brand from Latvia. The company was founded a few years ago and they are doing very well in Northern and Western Europe. I see them each year at organic Vivaness trade show in Nuremberg but it is always fun to meet a well-known brand in an unfamiliar setting! Dabba’s first products – and its bestsellers in Europe – are their hydrosols and herb waters. Last year the brand branched out into hair care (the first product was a salt water styling spray), and this October, Dabba introduced a whole range of new skin and body care products. The new face care launches include two facial elixirs based on raspberry oil and rosehip oil respectively; there is also a strengthening hair oil based on pine needle extract. Dabba was at the trade show to look for Asian distributors – I was told that their ideal first market would be Hong Kong, followed by Japan and Korea.

I had first met French beauty brand Avril at Cosmoprof Bologa this March. Avril is a young, attractive organic beauty brand – the packaging is colourful and bright (yet still stylish) and the prices are very affordable. The brand has a large range of colour cosmetics and several skin and body care ranges. Their Asian presence is already pretty impressive, considering that they were launched only five years ago: Avril is available in Japan (where their products are retailed in Loft department stores) and in Taiwan where the brand is sold in independent organic stores.

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Spanish organic beauty company Naobay was also an exhibitor at Vivaness trade show last year. Naobay is already present in Japan – the brand’s beautiful wooden-packaged products are available in outlets of the ultra-stylish design department store chain Loft – and they are now focusing on further expansion in Asia. At Cosmoprof Asia, Naobay presented its latest product launch: the 7-sku Origins range. The brand’s best-sellers in Japan, by the way, are the Renewal Antioxidant Cream, the Oxygenating Cream and the Oxygenating Foam Cleanser.

And Nohèm is an organic French spa beauty brand which was founded in 2010. In France the products are distributed in spas, salons and beauty institutes. Nohèm’s products are certified by Cosmebio and Ecocert and the brand’s portfolio is inspired by different geographic beauty traditions. Sens de l’Asie, for example, is an Asia-inspired skin care line with seven products: a face wash gel, a fresh toning mist, a milky facial scrub, a cream face mask, an eye cream, an intensive serum and a moisturising cream.

The second range is Lumière Boreale, a brightening anti-ageing range which comprises an eye and lip treatment, a lifting and firming serum and an anti-ageing face cream. On the body care side, Esprits d’Afrique is a firming and hydrating product range which includes a milky body scrub, a firming body cream and a face & body oil. Nohèm was a second-time exhibitor at Cosmoprof Asia; the brand is already available in Taiwan and Malaysia and also wants to expand into Japan.

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Siin was the only Austrian company at the show and they were a first-time exhibitor at Cosmoprof Asia. Siin is the manufacturer behind charming organic skin care range Sisi & Joe. I had first read about Sisi & Joe on Beautyjagd blog this summer so I knew the brand already. And now I finally got to see the products in real life, so to speak! The brand name refers to the love story between Empress Elisabeth of Austria (also called Sisi or sometimes Sissi) and Emperor Franz Joseph (the “Joe” of the brand name) back in the 19th century.

In the 20th century, the life and death of Sisi (who was assassinated in Switzerland) was dramatised many times on stage; there are operettas, songs, novels and short stories galore about Sisi. In the 1950s, a fictional version of Sisi’s life story was made into three enormously successful movies starring German actress Romy Schneider. We’re talking about the most romantic kind of costume drama here ; )

Anyway, so yes, the brand name Sisi & Joe reflects the Elisabeth/Joseph love story. The actual beauty brand was launched in the first half of 2016 and the key ingredient is anti-oxidant edelweiss extract. The packaging is pretty and playful; prices range from 8 Euro for the cleansing gel to 15 Euro for the serum and the line-up includes the afore-mentioned cleansing gel, a day cream, the serum and an eye gel. On the body care side there is a bath & shower gel, a body scrub and a body lotion. Hey Joe is the brand’s 4-sku men’s line; the range comprises a shower gel, shaving gel, night cream and eye gel. All products are vegan and certified by NaTrue.

Siin also manufactures another range and this one was entirely new to me: Edition Edelweiss was launched a couple of years ago. It is a premium skin and body care range (with a price point of 50-70 euro) which contains a much higher percentage of edelweiss extract than Sisi & Joe products. The packaging design is very stylish – clean white with silver and grey accents – and the range includes Milky Cleanser (a velvety soft cleansing milk formulated with Alpine water), the toner Spring Tonic (contains rose oil and allantoin), three Intensive Serums for ages 25+ (with wheatgerm oil and coenzyme Q10), 35+ (vitamin E, shea butter and jojoba oil) and 50+ (vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid), anIntensive Eye Cream (with algae extract and horse chestnut), the Day Cream SPF15 (vitamin A, jojoba oil, hyaluronic acid and aloe vera) and a Night Cream with rose water, olive leaf extract and amino amber extract. There is also a sheet mask formulated with marine collagen, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and camomile.

Both brands have just started distribution in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore. Oh yes, and Edition Edelweiss is also available as an in-flight amenity in the business class of Austrian Airlines!

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On the very last day of the trade show I happened to walk past the exhibition of booth of German C&T manufacturer Kneipp and saw some of their international beauty products on the shelves. Kneipp is a very well-known brand in Germany and internationally: it was founded in 1891 by Bavarian priest Sebastian Kneipp, who was also one of the originators of hydrotherapy. The company specialises in bath care (additives, shower gels, bath salts etc.), body care and skin care, and is currently present in 25 countries worldwide.

In Asia, Kneipp is HUGE – and in several Asian countries, most notably Japan, Kneipp sells country-specific products that are not available in Europe. I always enjoy spotting these special editions when I am travelling in Japan, Korea or Taiwan. And now I finally had the chance to find out about these special product launches! Kneipp is retailed in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China (where Kneipp products are primarily sold in spas). Japan was the brand’s first Asian market, the products have been available there since 1985. In 2008 Kneipp established a Japanese subsidiary.

There around ten products that are available exclusively in Asia. These include a Rose version of the brand’s famous body care oil Bio-Oil; a grapefruit-scented hand cream that was launched especially for the Japanese market, and the Gute Nacht (Good Night) bath and body care range (which in Asia is actually sold under the German range name!) – Gute Nacht includes a hand cream, bath salts and body lotion and I was told that it is Kneipp’s absolute bestseller in Japan, especially the bath salts. And there is another bath and body care range range that Kneipp introduced specifically for the Japanese market: “Maiblume Magnolie” (Mayflower Magnolia) – and this range turned out to be so popular in Japan that the products are now introduced into the German market. A nice example of reverse brand development!

Strangely enough (considering how strong Kneipp’s presence is in the Asian region), the brand was actually a first-time exhibitor at the trade show. I was also interested to hear that the company’s new regional focus is South East Asia, especially the bigger markets like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

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Anyway, this is a brief round-up of the most interesting beauty brands and companies that I talked to over the three days of the trade show – believe me, I could have written a lot more about Cosmoprof Asia 2016. And I am already looking forward to next year’s trade show which will take place from 14th- 17th November 2017. I hope you enjoyed the article!

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7 Comments

Filed under Asia, Brand Profiles, cosmeticsbusiness.com, Exhibitions, Industry News, Retail, Trade Shows, Travel, Trends

7 responses to “Retail notes from Hong Kong: [Show Report] Cosmoprof Asia 2016

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