Retail notes from Hong Kong: [Show Report] Cosmoprof Asia 2019

As you can imagine, this year’s Cosmoprof Asia was massively overshadowed by the political situation in Hong Kong (#StandWithHongKong).

Many international exhibitors had cancelled their appearance at short notice, the majority of attendees from mainland China (one of the biggest visitor demographics for Cosmoprof Asia) also decided to skip the show this year; and so did quite a few international visitors.

I had booked my usual Wan Chai hotel in walking distance of HKCEC and my part of the neighbourhood remained fairly quiet this week so I felt pretty safe throughout my entire stay in Hong Kong. And I did enjoy Cosmoprof Asia 2019 despite everything!

Still, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I arrived at HKCEC on the first morning: the halls were practically deserted (deserted by Cosmoprof Asia standards, at least; see pics above). No lines at the registration desks, no crowds at all; and while there was a very tiny upside to this unprecedented drop in visitor numbers (no queues in the ladies’ restrooms!) I would have traded standing-in-line-for-20-minutes-to-go-to-the-loo for the usual Cosmoprof Asia mayhem in a heartbeat.

Anyway, whilst the lack of visitor numbers might have cast a bit of a pall over the entire trade show (I felt so bad for the smaller brands and first-time exhibitors) it was, as always, an excellently organised show; especially under the incredibly difficult circumstances.

After all, Cosmoprof Asia takes place in two venues in Hong Kong: Cosmopack is out at AsiaWorldExpo near the airport, Cosmoprof at HKCEC in Wan Chai. The political situation escalated dramatically during the weekend before the trade fair was set to start; with violent street battles between demonstrators and Hong Kong police taking place in many parts of the city, including Causeway Bay, Central and Mongkok.

This week the central neighbourhoods of Hong Kong basically turned into battle fields (you can’t call it anything else). Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (Tuesday was the first day of Cosmopack, Wednesday was the opening day of Cosmoprof) most of Hong Kong came to stand-still. Many of the major streets were blocked off, key MRT stations closed, buses and trams diverted, no taxis running; excessive use of tear gas and water cannons by riot police; increasing aggression on the side of the protesters, buses set alight, store fronts being vandalised…

…and then having to ensure that these large-scale events at AWE and HKCEC proceeded without a hitch, putting on extra shuttle busses on the road between the two venues so attendees could travel in comparative safety; organising shuttles to and from major hotels to keep exhibitors and visitors safe on their trip to and from the trade show, monitoring the constantly changing situation 24/7 and taking action immediately whenever the fights moved from one part of the city to the next…the trade show organisers and their local teams did an outstanding job. Thank you for that.

Here are the official figures for Cosmoprof Asia 2019, by the way: The total number of exhibitors across Cosmopack and Cosmoprof reached 2,955 from 48 countries and regions; Cosmopack exhibitors: 934 companies from 23 countries; Cosmoprof: 2,021 from 46 countries.

Exhibition space across both parts of the shows grew 5% to 118,900 sq m (Cosmopack: 45,900 sq m; Cosmoprof: 73,000 sq m) and visitor numbers reached 40,046 from 129 countries/regions (local visitors: 12,739; international: 27,307).

And now, read on for an overview of the show and my favourite brand discoveries at Asia-Pacific’s largest C&T trade fair! I focused on exhibitors from Asia rather than Europe, with a particular emphasis on Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Somehow my Cosmoprof Asia articles always seem to turn out that way : )

Speaking of which: here are the links to my previous five Cosmoprof Asia features: Cosmoprof Asia 2014, Cosmoprof Asia 2015, Cosmoprof Asia 2016, Cosmoprof Asia 2017 and Cosmoprof Asia 2018.

Cosmoprof Asia 2019: Beauty from Korea

Korea was Country of Honour at this year’s Cosmoprof Asia and there were some 600 Korean exhibitors across both sections of the show, with country pavillions in all of the major Cosmoprof/HKCEC halls.

LIMESE (Korea)

Newcomer brand Limese has a rather unusual concept: the company behind the beautifully packaged products you see in the pictures below is a Korean-Indian start-up business. Although Limese’s five products – three ampoules, a face cream and a sheet mask – are also sold online in Korea, Japan and the US; founder Dale Han’s primary focus is the Indian Sub-Continent, with India’s burgeoning millennial population as the key demographic.

Dale originally came to India as an exchange student and in 2016 he decided to launch his own business: a K-beauty platform selling Korean cosmetics to Indian salons, spas and other beauty businesses, as well as end consumers. The official Limese brand website is also the company’s Indian online store: In addition to its own label range Limese Connect also sells other Korean beauty brands (such as A by Bom, Klairs, Vely Vely, Dear Dahlia and Make P:rem) that were especially selected for the skin care issues and skin tones of Indian consumers.

I tried out the ampoules and cream on the back of my hand and as you’d expect from a Korean beauty brand, the textures are very pleasant and hydrating, with super pretty packaging to boot. After I met Limese at the trade fair I googled the brand some more: Limese has some high-profile investors on board including Kakao Ventures, the venture capital investment division of Korea’s telecoms/online giant Kakao. Impressive.


Recently launched functional face care label The Potions is a classic millennial-style beauty brand, offering minimalistic mix-and-match products to personalise and tweak individual skin care routines. The brand’s focus lies on single-ingredient ampoules and essences and the line-up includes some fifteen variants across several colour-coded ranges.

The bottles of the Water Essence line are highlighted with blue foil and offer typically Asian herbal skin care ingredients such as galactomyces ferment filtrate, centella asiatica (cica) and mugwort. The Energizing Ampoule range (silver foil) comprises skin care ingredients for different skin types, such as calamine, Q10, peptides and hyaluronic acid while the Oil Serum line (rose-gold foil) features pure plant oils and plant oils blends (tea tree, camellia seed and jojoba, for example). There is also a black-packaged range of ampoules which offers ingredients like propolis and vitamin blends, several face creams and four toners.

Korean serum brands are a dime a dozen but what I liked about The Potion is the accessible price point – an ampoule retails for around 10 Euro – and the wide availability; I was told that the brand will be sold through Olive Young (the Korean drugstore market leader) across Korea. Next time I’m in Seoul (for Cosmobeauty trade fair in April 2020, hopefully) I’ll definitely check out their products.


This brand-new face care range was launched by company behind The Potions. Unlike its millennial-looking sister brand, House of Dohwa focuses on traditional Korean beauty ingredients blended with nine different types of domestically-grown rice.

House of Dohwa has a bit of a History of Whoo/Sulwhasoo vibe; packaging and positioning are very much that of a stylish and premium Korean life-style brand. The line-up includes four beauty waters”, gentle moisturising toners, two moisturising face cream and two sheet masks as well as four wash-off face masks formulated for different skin concerns. Each product is based on one key ingredient which also appears as a drawing on the packaging. Rather attractive packaging.

MUTO (Korea)

Another new millennial-style serum brand from Korea: Muto was launched earlier this year and offers six beautifully packaged products.

The range include three ampoule-serums each of which are based on a key ingredient: 01 Seed (green packaging) contains a blend of five plant seed oils, 02 Rose is formulated with skin-brightening rose water and 03 Truffle (blue) contains nourishing white truffle extracts.

There are also three matching face mists – Seed and Rose are dual-phase oil mists which you have to shake before use, and Truffle is a gel essence mist which looks quite thick in the bottle but is actually sprayable and transforms into a pleasant watery texture upon contact with the skin.


It took me a while to figure out what Korean beauty brand LalaChuu was all about: the company offers silicone eyebrow stamps that are attached to your face with a stiff plastic head band.

And this is how the LalaChuu Brow Bar works: you select the silicone eyebrow shape that matches your face shape – there are three different varieties (angled, straight and round) to chose from – and “paint” the inside (which has actual eyebrow hair grooves!) with the eyebrow colour of your choice.

Then you attach the silicone shapes to the head band and put it on your face so the silicone brows are placed on top of your own brows. Wait until the colour has transferred to the brows and dried a bit, and then take the head band off. The company claims that the results will be long-lasting (for up to 10 days) as well as water-proof, sweat-proof and smudge-proof.

This probably wouldn’t work for the average Caucasian face at (unless you shaved your eyebrows off : )) but many Asian women have thin and slender brows so I guess it would look fine. Seems like a lot of work though when it is so much quicker to pencil in (or use a powder) to fill in and shape your brows.

Anyway, the Brow Bar was launched in May 2019 and LalaChuu’s product range also includes hair cushions – these are temporary creamy hair colour cushion compacts available in three different shades (Natural Black, Dark Brown and Light Brown) and designed to be used on the hair partings and of the little baby hairs around your face.

Another product in LalaChuu’s portfolio is the Tension DX Cushion: a cushion foundation (available in two colours) formulated with active ingredients that, the company claims, are transported deep into the skin to protect the pores from air-borne pollution particles and fine dust.

1 SERUM (Korea)

Here’s some multi-functional face care from Korea: 1 Serum Single Drop Hydration promises to deliver multiple skin care benefits thanks to a shed-load of ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, copper tri-peptides, palmitoyl tri-peptides, collagen, adenosine, galactomyces ferment filtrate, morinda citrifolia fruit extract plus various trade-marked skin care complexes.

The texture of the serum is watery and light – it feels really pleasant on the skin – and the product is claimed to help improve collagen synthesis, increase skin elasticity, improve skin tone and keep the skin hydrated all day long.

The peach-toned colour of the serum comes from the basil seed oil that is included in the formula, by the way; the product does not contain parabens, artificial fragrances or colourants. It’s also cruelty-free and vegan.

The product is kind of a line extension to the 1 Foundation 1 Drop Miracle liquid foundation presented by manufacturer Riju World at last year’s Cosmoprof Asia. While I was at the booth I also tried out the water foundation and was impressed, it does feel feather-light on the skin.

I remember that L’Oréal (or was it Maybelline?) had a liquid water foundation many years ago. I did like that product very much and now I think I probably should have bought a bottle of the 1 Foundation at the Riju World booth…


Over the last year I’ve noticed Korean beauty brand Whalmyung popping up on various Instagram accounts so when I saw the Whalmyung booth in Hall 1 at Cosmoprof Asia 2019, I went over to check out their products in more detail (and to swoon over the packaging of the brand’s newest range, Whalmyung Minimal!)

As you might have guessed from the brand name, this is a clean beauty range offering products with compact ingredients formulations. The line was launched in Korea this October and it’s currently only available in Sephora’s Korean stores. There are six face care products which are formulated around key plant-based ingredient complex Eucalmine: violet-coloured azulene derived from eucalyptus which is claimed to soothe and calm sensitive skin.

The range includes the Eucalming Cleansing Ampoule, a liquid cleanser which turns watery once it has been massaged onto wet skin (packaged in single-use capsules, each paper cup contains 20 capsules; see pic above), the light-weight Eucalming Serum, a solid Cleansing Bar (based on cold-pressed vegetable oils), the Eucalming Capsule Skin (see pics below), a treatment essence formulated with guaiazulene and rose flower water, the Eucalming Cream which has a fresh and light-weight pudding-like texture and the Eucalming Patch, small circular sheet mask patches saturated in essence; they can be placed on individual parts of the face that need soothing.

The packaging is beautiful: the outer packaging is thick cardboard with a plush feel to it and golden, embossed patches; the green and purple shades reflect the colours of the main ingredients azulene and eucalyptus.

Whalmyung itself is a fairly young brand, the company was launched in 2017 but its products are already sold in the US, Singapore and China; with Europe to follow in the near future. If you’re interested: the brand will be exhibiting at Cosmoprof Bologna next March..


Korean beauty brand Dewytree doesn’t need an introduction; they sell in around 30 countries worldwide through a wide range of offline and online retailers, such as Douglas perfumery stores in Germany, Poland, Romania, and Switzerland, in the US through CVS and Kohl’s, in China and Hong Kong in Mannings drugstores (amongst others) and in Boots drugstores in Thailand.

Dewytree’s newest product launch presented at this year’s Cosmoprof Asia is interesting: the 100 range (the brand name refers to the fact that each product contains 100% of a single ingredient plant water) offers four sheet masks (Birch, Hibiscus, Quince and Cica) and two Essences (Birch and Cica). The clean beauty/ minimalism trend in action!

The plant waters are manufactured by steam distillation (like classic rose water), I was told, and they include a kind of natural preservative (can’t really comment on whether this is true or not) so there was no need to add any extra ingredients. Hence the 100% claim.

I was very much drawn to the birch water because I’ve seen this as an ingredient in so many Asian beauty products, but never as a pure hydrosol. Didn’t buy it though, because even at a trade show discount it was a little pricy (and my suitcase is already heavy, what with the Isntree and Alteya Organics toners!). The price range for the 100 line will be around 35-40 Euro for the toners and around 3-4 Euro per sheet mask.

OSÈQUE (Korea)

This Korean face care brand was launched in 2016 and their current portfolio comprises eight products: the Silky Bright Enzyme Powder Facial Wash which contains red clay powder, amino acids and papaya enzyme, Dermal Bright Cleansing Water and the foaming Cyber Shine Bubble Mask Cleanser formulated with encapsulated vitamin C and E.

Osèque also offers two sheet masks – one with hydrating mineral water, the other with a red clay layer – a cream mask with an algae-based marine ingredients blend, the Hyaluronic Pure Ampoule for intense hydration and the Hydrating Skin Perfector, an intensive treatment ampoule formulated with hyaluronic acid, peptides and amino acids.

The price range for the products is around 100 HKD (11 Euro). At the moment Osèque is sold in Korea, Hong Kong and China; here in Hong Kong the products are available through Watsons drugstores and I was told that thanks to the cooperation with Watsons, the brand will also be rolled out to Watsons stores across South East Asia.


This was an interesting brand discovery on my last day at the trade show: Phymongshe is a Korean spa brand with the most beautiful packaging – they were up in Hall 3 (Salon Beauty) and the soothing pastel shades and stone-shaped product pack design really stood out amongst all of the salon beauty tech and equipment that were surrounding Phymongshe’s booth.

The brand was launched in 2001 and they were originally a B2B brand only, catering to salons and spas: then launched a retail range in 2018. The brand’s portfolio comprises around 40 sku and the latest launch is the rose-grey packaged Calm Light range which offers two whitening and soothing products, a serum (see pic above) and a cream.


I was intrigued when I saw the AmorePacific Start-Up Brand booth in Hall 1: I knew AmorePacific, of course; the Korean cosmetics manufacturer is the biggest beauty group in Korea and their portfolio includes dozens of internationally famous brands (Sulwhasoo, Innisfree, Iope, Hera, LaNeige, Etude House, to mention just a few). Yet here they were with a booth full of start-up brands!

Initially I thought AmorePacific was presenting the winners of a start-up brand competition or something; like a beauty incubator or start-up brand investment division (jumping on the indie beauty bandwagon as so many international beauty groups are doing at the moment). However, as it turned out, these are actually Amorepacific-owned beauty brands, all of them launched this year (in the case of Soon+, it was a re-launch of one of AmorePacific’s beauty brands from 1988) and all of them featuring a distinct indie/clean beauty vibe.

I was unable to find out what the company’s plans are for these brands – will they be sold in AmorePacific owned multi-brand stores like Aritaum or brand counters in department stores; or positioned as stand-alone independent brands, with pop-up retail spaces and/or online/social media sales? Are they going to be available in, say Chicor perfumeries, or Lalavla drugstores or even in Olive Young stores? No one at the booth was able to answer these questions for me but I’ll be doing some thorough googling later on, and will definitely keep an eye out for these products on my next trip to Seoul.


Anyway, here are three of AmorePacific new indie brands. Let’s start with Soon+, a 3-sku face care range stylishly packaged in minimalistic rosy-beige tones. Such soothing colours!

The three products are designed to provide a complete yet compact beauty routine (#skipcare, anyone?), starting with the creamy sulfate-free 5.5 Cleansing Foam which promises to gently cleanse the skin whilst nourishing it with probiotic ingredients.

Next in line would be the 5.5 Balancing Water, a milky white nourishing toner formulated with lactobacillus ferment filtrate and ceramides; followed by the 5.5 Balancing Emulsion, a non-sticky moisturising lotion which contains the same probiotics as the Balancing Water in addition to soothing allantoin. Probiotics are a key ingredient in this new range, as is the pH value of 5.5. All products are free from mineral oil, synthetic fragrances and animal ingredients.


The second brand is Steady:D, a face mask brand which offers five sheet masks and a creamy clay mask. The sheet masks are interesting: each variant features a different mask sheet material.

The blue-packaged Hydrating Wear mask is made from specially processed cotton fabric combined with a cooling gel for extra hydration; the essence in this mask contains mineral-rich sea water. Brightening Wear (pink) is made from silky micro-rayon which has densely structured fibres to boost absorption of the vitamin-infused essence.

Clean Wear (yellow) is a bubble (i.e. foam) sheet mask with lemon extract to revitalise tired skin, Firming Wear (purple) is an Ökotex-certified 5-layer sheet mask saturated in a peptide serum while the Calming Wear mask (green) is actually made from a blend of centella asiatica and cotton fibres, and saturated in a cica-liposome essence. Finally, the creamy Cica Leaf Clay Mask (see pic directly above) is a wash-off mask based on green clay, with 43.5% centella asiatica leaf water and centella asiatica leaf extract.


The third brand was Holitual and the brand name pretty much indicates what the products are all about: holistic/ritual, i.e. an at-home salon brand with a distinct luxury feel to it.

The Holitual range comprises five face care products formulate with a blend of traditional Korean plant extracts and modern functional ingredients. The Radiance Resurfacing Peel comes in a dual-sachet and features two cleansing pads that are designed to be used in order: the first pad is to thoroughly cleanse the skin while the second pad contains peeling ingredients. Active ingredients in this product include gluconolactone, pineapple and papaya fruit extracts, peptides, lacto-bifida ferment complex, resveratrol and Black yeast.

Core Lift Activating Serum is a nourishing anti-ageing serum which contains gold particles, collagen, resveratrol and peptides to moisturise and firm up the skin. Clean Therapy Powder Mask is a kit comprising eight powder capsules and eight bottles of liquid; these are supposed to be blended together and then applied to the skin, to brighten and refine skin texture, purify the skin and soothe irritated patches. The powder part of the mask contains kaolin and apricot seed powder as well as liquorice root powder and artemisia leaf extract.

The Vitamin Anti-Ageing Ampoule Program (see pic above) is a 4-week intensive treatment set which includes eight bottles of serum, four are for morning use, four are supposed to be used at night. The purpose of this set is described as working with the skin’s biorhythm and the day serum contains 10% multi vitamin solution, allantoin and glutathione while the nigh-time serum is formulated with 21% vitamin C and vitamin E.

Finally, the Concentrate Signature Cream is a rich moisturising cream which contains algae water, deep sea mineral water, polypeptides, Black Yeast and Resveratrol.

SIERO (Korea)

Korean makeup brand Siero was launched in 2015 and offers some 130 sku of colour cosmetics. I like the packaging of the brand, simple and clean with bold lettering; it’s really striking.

The makeup portfolio includes face products (liquid foundations, cushions, powders, powder blushers, liquid blushers), eye products (powder shadows, mascaras, eyeliners, brow products), lip products (liquid lipsticks, solid lipsticks, lip glosses, colour-changing lipsticks – the hero product is definitely the Lip Plumper range) – basically they do everything except nail polishes.

I fell in love with one of the quattro eyeshadow palettes (see pic above) and was very kindly given one as a gift (thank you, Siero!); the colours are well-pigmented and I love the combination of autumn-y shimmer/glitter shades.

On the face care side the line-up comprises the Uni A Day Full Tight line of toner, serum, face cream and eye cream, sleeping cream, sheet masks and the Puri Pair range: a skin-repairing duo of ampoule and cream. There are also two men’s care products, two bubble foam cleansers, a cleansing sherbet and sun protection products.

Siero has a solid distribution in its domestic market: the products are sold in Olive Young drugstores and LOHBs stores, various department stores and, of course, online. The brand is also retailed in four international markets – the US, Canada, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

VYVYD (Korea)

And here’s another great makeup brand from Korea: Vyvyd was launched this year and their colourful pack design and bold, bright colour palette are certainly eye-catching!

The grooves and curves in the outer packaging signify rhythm, sound waves and emotions; their brand models come in all genders and skin colours – Vyvyd is a young, confident and funky brand (in case you hadn’t noticed : )) and there’s a reason why its product portfolio is headlined “Selfie Flash”.

The brand offers a line of 16 matte lip tints which include some bold colour choices (how does dark blue, forest green, purple or bright orange sound?), there are eight lipsticks, two eyeshadow palettes (with more to follow soon, I was told), eight powder blushers and eight powder highlighters (including gold, yellow and violet shades).

Lip colours are very strongly pigmented, the blushers and highlighters have more of a shimmering finish, with washes of colours rather than opaque colours – they’re designed to be layered so you can be a creative as you like.

In Korea, Vyvyd is sold online through its own brand webshop and various online stores including Gmall, and they also sell in mainland China through cross-border e-commerce (Tmall).

TIRTIR (Korea)

Tirtir was launched in 2017 by Korean influencer Lee Bo Hee. She started out with a few skin care products developed for her followers, but soon Tirtir grew into a fully-fledged skin care and makeup brand.

Today the brand’s portfolio includes some 40-odd sku across ten ranges – primarily face care but there’s also a 7-sku range of makeup (cushion foundations, blushers and a concealer) and a 4-sku sun care range. Products are sold in sold in various department stores and duty free stores including the Lotte and Shilla Duty Frees in Seoul, and in Olive Young drugstores across Korea.

The latest additions are the 4-sku Bubble Toner range and the 4-sku One Day One Shot skin care ampoule range (see pic above). As the name indicates, the Bubble Toners dispense an airy foam which turns into a liquid toner. I also liked the brand’s Rosemary Essence which is pure rosemary hydrosol; it smells amazing. And before I forget, if you’re into Korean TV: Tirtir’s brand ambassador is actor Park Seo Jun. I gather he’s pretty famous : )

Cosmoprof Asia 2019: Beauty from Taiwan


Here they are, one of my favourite Taiwanese beauty brands! If you’ve followed my blog over the past few years you’ll know that I’m a Maskingdom fangirl; I first met the brand at Cosmoprof Asia 2014 (my very first trade show) and have been seeing them at various Cosmoprof shows ever since. I also visited their brand flagship in Taipei’s Ximen area a couple of times – unfortunately the store closed down a few years ago – but you can check out my articles here or here if you want more background info on Maskingdom and its brand concept.

Maskingdom always presents at least one product innovation at Cosmoprof Asia and this year there were no less than five; all from the cleansing category. First up is the Popping Black Head mask kit (see pic above), a 3-step skin care routine to battle blackheads in the nasal area! First dab on a serum to soften the sebum, then apply the creamy black mask to the nose (it will harden out and can be pulled off like a nose strip) and follow up with a moisturising serum to soothe the maltreated skin.

Another new product was the foamy O2 Exfoliating Mousse Cleanser to gently yet thoroughly cleanse the face and the Rose Bubble Cleanser for kids (see pic below). The Bubble Cleanser has a really interesting texture; I was told it was developed for kids who don’t like to be washed and start screaming as soon as they see you approaching with soap or body wash.

The Bubble Cleanser makes the bathroom experience fun: press the dispenser and pink strings of surprisingly firm and flexible foam come shooting out; the baby can play with the foamstrings and mold them into shapes and once you add water, the pink foam turns into a bubbly cleanser and can be rinsed off.

Finally, there are the Stick Clay Masks (pic above): four twist-up stick masks for different skin concerns – the Anastatica Tightening Mask, Charcoal Deep Cleanse Mask, Pearl & Paeonia Whitening Mask and the Rose Moisturising Mask. The Rose Stick Mask won a Cosmoprof Asia award this year, and deservedly so; the texture is super creamy and feels very pleasant on the skin.


Another great brand from Taiwan: Organic beauty company Inna Organic presented several new products at Cosmoprof Asia.

First, there are two serums – Frankincense Revitalizing and Myrrh Hydrating Serum – to match the respective sheet mask variants, and the company also branched out into hair care with two new shampoos, Lemon-Scented Tea Tree and Cedarwood. There’s also a new shower gel, Sweet Orange.

Oh, and Inna Organic will be exhibiting at organic trade show Vivaness in Nuremberg (Germany) next February, if you’re interested in finding out more about the brand.

Cosmoprof Asia 2019: Beauty from Japan

BIEST (Japan)

I always enjoy seeing Japanese salon brand BiEst at trade shows – we usually meet at Cosmetoko and Cosmoprof Asia – and this time, the Osaka-based company presented its brand-new anti-ageing skin care range, Adult Pretty.

The Adult Pretty Fig range includes five products – a self-heating cleansing gel, a moisturising face cream, an essence, a lotion and a pull-off face mask – formulated with fermented plant extracts including fermented royal jelly, fermented Bulgarian rose honey, fermented grape juice and fermented fig extract derived from a special fig variant (the Masui Dauphine) that is grown in Japan.

The products also contain various organic plant extracts including artemisia leaf, rosemary, melissa and chamomile plus moisturisers such as ceramides, squalane, hyaluronic acid and collagen. Free from preservatives, ethanol, mineral oils, synthetic colourants, silicone and synthetic fragrance.

The face mask is particularly interesting, it consists of a powder capsule and a liquidy gel which are mixed together and then applied to the skin like a rubber mask. The gel contains, or rather, it generates a high percentage of CO2 which in turn is transported into the skin and then changes into oxygen, stimulating turnover of skin calls to boost levels of hyaluronic acid, amino acid and ceramide. After 15-20 minutes the face mask has hardened out and can be gently pulled off the face.

I also liked the self-heating face cleanser Fig Hot Cleansing which, true to its name, warms up once you massage it into the skin to help open up pores and soften the skin.


Now this is an interesting brand: newcomer Shojin Cosme offers 17 vegan and halal certified makeup products. As you might know, Japan is not the most vegan country in the world so the choice of vegan beauty (and food) brands isn’t particularly wide.

I was intrigued by the halal certification (which is even more unusual for a Japanese beauty brand!) but the brand’s founder told me that she is looking at the opportunities of the global halal beauty market. Considering how popular J-beauty is internationally, adding a halal certification to the brand seems like an excellent idea.

Shojin Cosme’s product range comprises five lipsticks and five lipglosses (both have a semi-translucent shiny finish), a clear lipbalm, three powder blushes and three powder eyeshadows. With a price range of 1500-2000 Yen, the brand is positioned in the upper mass market category – these are the prices you’d expect to pay for most Japanese drugstore makeup brands.

All products are formulated with rice bran oil, yuzu peel oil, sesame seed oil and tea seed oil – all classic ingredients in Japanese cooking, by the way – and the formulae have a distinct clean beauty slant.

Because the brand is still so new they only sell on so far but, judging by the reactions to my Shojin Cosme Instagram post, it is already generating a lot of interest amongst vegan consumers in Japan. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the brand will be able to widen its distribution soon!


I always enjoy visiting the Cosmoprof Asia booth of Japanese personal care manufacturer Naturelab; the company always has a shed-load of new products to present and this year there were some really interesting new launches.

Naturelab is the company behind the international bestselling Diâne Botanical hair and body care brand brand (Diâne shampoo and conditioners are sold in drugstores across Asia and South East Asia).

This year the company has launched a certified organic hair care sub-range under the Diâne umbrella: Diâne Bonheur Organic was developed in cooperation with Japanese organic beauty retailer Cosmekitchen and the new line offers two shampoos, two conditioners and two multi-functional hair oils which are available in two scent variants, Rose & Neroli and Bergamot & Sage.

Another recent Diâne Bonheur launch was the Blue Jasmine limited edition (see pic above). This 4-sku collection of shampoo, conditioner, hair oil and hair mask has a very selective distribution: unlike the usual Diâne shampoos which are sold in the classic mass market channels, the Blue Jasmine collection is only available in outlets of Japanese design retail chain Loft and similar upmarket stores.

There was also an intriguing new product range in Maro, Naturelab’s men’s care brand: Maro 17 Black Plus offers a shampoo, essence and hair growth serum that promise to return greying hair to its natural black colour, without adding colour pigments.

Instead the company developed the patented Black Reverse complex which is based on apple stem cells and peptides to help stimulate hair follicle growth. And don’t you just love the brand imagery?!

Cosmoprof Asia 2019: International beauty

MARICHA (Thailand)

One of the most interesting discoveries of my first day at Cosmoprof Asia 2019: Maricha is a young Thai beauty brand which was launched in 2018 and the UA Serum you can see in the picture was introduced just last month.

UA stands for Under Arm and this serum is a multi-functional gel formula designed to be used on the armpits (but can also be used on other parts of the body that need hydration and refining, such as dry elbows or knees) to help tighten pores (and thus reducing perspiration and body odour), brightening darker skin patches, refining the skin’s surface and boosting all-over skin hydration.

The serums feels super light on the skin, it’s yellow-tinted and liquidy; the formula contains zinc PCA, palmaria palmata extract, sodium hyaluronate and biosaccharide gum; and is free from aluminium salts. In fact, the INCI declaration was surprisingly natural – definitely on the clean side and even approaching organic – and the serum is packaged in a pump dispenser.

In Thailand the Maricha products (the brand’s range also includes an anti-stretch mark cream) are sold in organic beauty store chain All About You.

MEXME (Centdegrès)

French-Chinese branding agency Centdegrès is one of Cosmoprof’s creative and design partners and for each Cosmoprof show worldwide (Las Vegas, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Bologna and, in 2020, Bangkok) they come up with a special design project or product concept that matches the vibe of the trade fair and the country that it’s located in. These Centdegrès installations (you can’t really call it anything else!) are always cosmetics or beauty-themed, and alway innovative and unique.

Mexme, for example, is a fully customisable modular beauty packagaging concept created by Centdegrès exclusively for Cosmoprof Asia 2019. The actual production line was set up at Cosmopack in AWE which I didn’t manage to visit but luckily Centdegrès always has a small booth at HKCEC which showcases an abbreviated version of the current project.

There are six individually packaged components – concealer, lipgloss, lipbalm, liptint, mascara and eyeliner- which can be slotted together in whichever combination you prefer: combine a lipbalm with a mascara, or a concealer with a lipgloss, it’s up to you. Super portable and rather stylish. What great product design. I like travel-friendly products!


I always enjoy seeing Alteya Organics at Cosmoprof Hong Kong – Asia is one of the Bulgarian rose beauty brand’s biggest international markets so they always have a few novelties to present.

This year the brand showed a range of new liquid soaps – there are five variants: Citrus & Mint, Chamomile & Calendula, Lavender & Aloe, Grapefruit & Orange and Rose Geranium. All of them smell wonderful and I couldn’t really decide which was my favourite – but if I had to chose I guess the Rose Geranium would be my #1, closely followed by the pleasantly aromatic Chamomile & Calendula.

There is also a new rose water that joined Alteya Organics’ already existing range of hydrosols. The company already has two different rose waters, white rose centifolia and red rose centifolia; the new arrival is a voluptuous Rosa Damascena flower water. I was very kindly given a bottle as a present and can’t wait to open it!

Centifolia (FRANCE)

In the pictures below you can see organic French beauty brand Centifolia’s newest launch in its Guèrande skin care range: Hydra-Nuit Night Cream Mask is a sleeping cream with a wonderfully light texture, and Hydra-Aqua is a scented facial toner spray. Both products are formulated with marine skin care ingredients from the Guèrande salt flats in the South West of France.

If you like to cook you might be familiar with fleur de sel – you know, these large, crunchy salt flakes that are harvested by hand and which you can sprinkle on finished dishes, salads, sandwich toppings, or freshly cut vegetables? Well, Centifolia France works with the main Guèrande salt harvesting company to develop new marine-derived ingredients such as algae extract, salicornia and mother water.

Yes, this is an actual term – I had to google this myself – mother-water refers to water with a high percentage of dissolved substances; in this case it’s a sort of ultra-concentrated sea water (if I understood the science behind it correctly). And salicornia (also called sea asparagus) is a salt-rich plant which grows alongside coastal regions.

Anyway, Centifolia’s Guèrande brand was launched two years ago (Centifolia itself has been around for some 35 years or so); and the line-up offers a wide range of face and body care. In addition to the Guèrande range there are some further ten product ranges under the company’s main Centifolia brand, with a total of 200 sku across the entire portfolio.


And finally, there was Nez: not quite a beauty brand but a printed fragrance magazine from France (Nez is the French word for Nose). The first issue of “Nez – La Revue Olfactif” was published in April 2016, initially in French only. Today there are also editions in English and Italian, and every Nez appears in these three languages.

The magazines are absolutely beautiful – check out the gorgeous cover design! – and feature an inspiring mixture of articles, interviews, photos, literary quotes and poems.

I love Nez’s wide and eclectic range of topics: I leafed through some of the magazines and found interviews with international perfume designers and industry people, features on specific fragrance ingredients, raw materials, botanicals and florals and articles on fragrance trends; interspersed with perfume company and brand profiles, articles on sensory perceptions and the human psyche as well as philosophical musings and literary pieces.

At Cosmoprof Asia Nez also presented its latest launch (see pic above): the Natural Notes Book range is a collection of stand-alone printed magazines each of which is dedicated to a key fragrance ingredient. The first four issues – Patchouli, Jasmine Sambac, Rose and Narcissus – are already out, with Vetiver and Iris to follow soon. Eventually the Natural Notes Book range will comprise some 15 issues.

In France, Nez is sold in perfumeries and concept stores as well as in small independent book stores.

Well, these were some of my favourite brand discoveries at Cosmoprof Asia 2019. Hope you enjoyed the article! I’ll leave you with some more pictures of the trade show.


Filed under Asia,, Retail, Show Reports, Trade Shows, Travel, Trends

6 responses to “Retail notes from Hong Kong: [Show Report] Cosmoprof Asia 2019

  1. beima

    tnx, very informative article.

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