This year’s edition of Europe’s most important organic beauty trade show Vivaness was a fully digital event. The Biofach/Vivaness eSpecial – or rather, the live webinars and presentations – took place from 17th to 19th February 2021. The digital fair, however, was launched a few days before the official start of the show and the entire virtual structure is remaining accessible to all participants for the next six months.
Organisers Messe Nürnberg wanted to create a kind of online knowledge ressource which is a really cool idea. All webinars, presentations, panels and so on – 775 sessions (!) in total – are available to view as often as you like, as are the exhibitor profiles, file uploads, videos and images. The live messaging function was discontinued a few days after the show ended but all the rest of it is still up and running until August 2021.
Biofach is always the much bigger event of the two fairs and this year was no exception. There were 1,443 exhibitors in total: 102 companies exhibited at Vivaness, the rest were at Biofach. According to the post-show report of the organisers, over 13,800 visitors from 136 countries registered for the trade fair (I should mention that this virtual edition of Vivaness and Biofach was also open to non-trade visitors – usually it’s strictly trade only) and the digital figures were also pretty impressive: over 10,000 video meetings took place at the Biofach/Vivaness eSpecial and over 400,000 chat messages were dispatched.
This was my eighth Vivaness – my goodness! My first visit to the show was in 2014; in 2015 I published my first trade show report on this blog and here are the links to the subsequent articles if you want to check them out: Vivaness 2016, Vivaness 2017, Vivaness 2018, Vivaness 2019 and Vivaness 2020.
I am fascinated by virtual trade shows at the moment – this was my third digital fair, following Cosmoprof Asia Digital Week in November 2020 and Cosme Tokyo 2021 this January. Each show has looked very differently so far, so I was particularly interested in the virtual architecture of Biofach/Vivaness 2021.
In the screen shots you can see the main digital platform of the Biofach/Vivaness eSpecial: Agenda listed the conference programme for both shows, including exhibitor presentations, panels, round-tables, the official press conferences and so on – there were usually around 10 simultaneous live sessions in progress. You could also search Attendees – visitors, exhibitors (or rather, the individuals associated with a particular company, association or agency), press, speakers etc. and Partners (the official sponsors of the digital event).
And then there’s the heart of the database, the exhibitor search. Positives: Very detailed sub-categories for each section of the show and a special search for new product launches (very helpful). The user experience in this part of the platform could have been improved a bit – the selected search parameters disappeared every single time I returned to the main search; and when you’ve just ticked and unticked a dozen boxes it can get a bit tiresome having to repeat that every few minutes!
There was a bit of a time lag during the exhibitor/product search and whilst trying to access live streams and webinars, but I didn’t really mind this much – it’s the digital equivalent of over-crowded trade show halls! Imagine arriving at 9am on the first day of Cosmoprof Bologna, Cosmoprof Asia, China Beauty Expo (or any really large trade fair) with hundreds of people queuing in front of the entrance gates and afterwards at the ticket/registrations counters; long lines at the restaurant/snack bar counters and the bathrooms……that’s what it kind of felt like : )
Over the past weeks I’ve listened to some of the webinars I missed the first time around and took my time exploring the conference programme for the two shows. This is such a luxury; usually Vivaness is such a busy four days that I barely have time to attend the most important sessions in my field.
The social aspect was one of my favourite show features, by the way: Each attendee could upload a short profile and picture (if they wished to do so) and the category you registered in (exhibitor, visitor, press and so on) was tagged to your profile which I was really glad about.
Why? Well, when I visit a trade show I register as a journalist or blogger (some smaller shows don’t have press accreditation, in these cases I attend as a regular visitor). My status – usually “Press” or “Media” – is printed on the front of the badge I’m wearing around the trade show grounds. Other visitors and exhibitors will then immediately know whether it’s worthwhile talking to me or not.
If you’re a company exhibiting at a fair, your primary focus will be to find distributors or buyers who might be interested in selling your products. Renting an exhibition booth is expensive, time is valuable and your staff resources are limited – big brands might have an entire platoon of marketing staff at their booth but as a newcomer brand it’s usually the founder(s) and then maybe a couple of other people, and that’s it. You need to make the most of your time at the show and whilst press/blog exposure is always welcome, it’s usually not as important as finding a retailer/buyer interested in your brand.
The previous two digital trade fairs that I attended didn’t offer a virtual press registration so I was listed as a “buyer” which happened to be the default category for anyone not registered as an exhibitor. As a result, I was inundated by hundreds of meeting and videochat requests from Asian companies who, of course, believed that I was a buyer from Germany looking to source new brands and products….I felt really bad about ignoring them but didn’t know what else to do.
At my previous digital shows the messaging function on the respective platforms only went from attendee to exhibitor and vice versa; as a visitor you couldn’t contact other visitors. The Biofach/Vivaness eSpecial, however, offered a vertical messaging option which meant that all attendees could message everyone else – a really cool feature because networking is such a crucial aspect of any trade show visit. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an exhibitor, buyer, distributor, journalist, blogger or regular visitor; one of the reasons you’re attending a trade show is to meet new people and brands and, ideally, drum up new business.
After all, unless you happen to live in the city the trade fair takes place, trade show visits are usually expensive. Fair tickets alone can be quite pricy and on top of that you’re paying for accommodation (often in cities where hotels are completely booked out during the fair’s duration) and travel/flight costs as well as your daily expenses.
The snacks and beverages offered at the average European trade show centre tend to be really over-priced – expect to pay around 20 Euro for a coffee, sandwich and a bottle of water! The Asian/South East Asian expo centres are much better in that respect: they usually have a least one inexpensive convenience store tucked away somewhere on the premises – a total lifesaver if you don’t have an expense account : )
VIVANESS 2021: THE BRANDS
With some 100-odd Vivaness exhibitors the show was smaller than the offline shows usually are. Some (not all) of the major German organic beauty brands were there – like Logona, Annemarie Börlind, Benecos/Cosmondial and Bioturm – plus a few of the European heavyweights, like Natura Siberica and Urtekram. The Breeze newcomer brands exhibitor area featured ten companies this year, and there was even a digital version of Vivaness’ annual Best New Product Awards.
The most visible product trend at Vivaness 2021 was undoubtedly solid/zero waste beauty, just like at last year’s show. Shampoo bars (and shower bars) first appeared in Germany’s drugstore retailers a couple of years ago and the solid format has now become an established part of their respective product sectors.
While solid cosmetics is not a particularly new trend here in Germany it’s a development that is still picking up pace and extending into further product categories, too – like solid hand creams, solid body butters, solid foot creams and so on.
In my show reports I usually feature each exhibitor and its launches separately but there were so many solid beauty launches this year that it’s much simpler to just list all the brands that introduced bar products! Also, in the case of the major German brands, the bar launches were mostly solid versions of already existing liquid shampoos and shower gels.
NOTE: This is just a brief overview, I’m sure there were a bunch of other exhibitors that also launched solid cosmetics but frankly, there’s only so much time! : )
VIVANESS 2021: KEY TRENDS
German brand Lavera: 4 solid shampoos (mostly solid versions of existing liquid shampoos) and 2 solid shower gels (ditto). Bioturm (Germany): 4 shower bars in its general body and hair wash category, 1 conditioner bar and 1 cleansing bar for young skin. German start-up brand Nyok: 9-sku range of solid cosmetics including 2 shower bars, 2 shampoo bars and 1 face cleansing bar. Hello Simple (also Germany): 1 solid hand cream and 2 solid washing up liquid bars.
Logocos group with Logona (1 solid shampoo, 1 solid conditioner, 1 face cleansing bar) and sister brand Sante: 4 solid shampoo/conditioner bars and 1 solid face cleanser. Banbu, a Spanish solid cosmetics brand launched in 2018: shampoo, conditioner, dog shampoo, deodorant, amongst others. Skoon from the Netherlands: 3 solid shampoo bars. Zero waste beauty brand Balade en Provence (France): solid face care (cleansers, night cream, day cream), hair care, men’s shaving/skin care and body care.
After so much solid beauty it was really refreshing to see German budget brand Benecos present a clutch of liquid bath and body care products which will lauch in mid-2021. Hooray!
Benecos is best-known for its colour cosmetics range Benecos Natural Beauty – I love their tinted mineral powder – but the brand’s portfolio also includes the face, bath and body care range Benecos Natural Beauty (see screenshot below). At last year’s Vivaness, parent company Cosmondial presented a new (and slightly more premium-priced) personal care brand, GRN.
The new Benecos range looks very different from the brand’s usual personal care products – it might be a packaging relaunch or rebranding or “just” a new range, I’m not sure, but see for yourself in the screenshot above. Looks promising, doesn’t it? More playful but at the same time more stylish and the new line seems to offers, shampoos, shower gels, body lotions, hand soaps and hand creams.
There were some really interesting #zerowaste beauty brands at the show, like German start-up brand Nada (one of the Breeze exhibitors) who presented an innovative liquid zero waste shower gel.
I had purchased Nada’s shower gel powder a couple of days previously at my local Alnatura organic supermarket because the product caught my eye: A compostable sachet which contains the cleansing powder and an empty reusable plastic bottle (you can also use any other container that you might already have at home).
Tip the powder into the empty container, add 160ml water, shake gently and then let the bottle sit for 10 minutes. Then your new shower gel (which also works as a hair wash) is ready to be used. It’s a nicely viscuous liquid which lathers up well and rinses off cleanly. The scent is pleasantly unisex, slightly bitter orange-y with woody notes.
The powder sachet retails at 6.99 Euro which’ll give you 200ml of liquid shower gel. Nada is also offering a refill option especially developed for packaging-free stores. I prefer liquid hair and body products to solid formats so I really liked Nada’s liquid zero waste approach. You can find more information on the brand’s website.
SOL DE IBIZA (Spain)
More solid cosmetics, this time in sun care! Sun protection is always a big category at Vivaness because the trade show’s habitual February dates work well with the retail schedule for sun care products which in Europe tend to hit the stores in April/May.
Spanish newcomer brand Sol de Ibiza is from, well, Ibiza and offers a plastic-free solid mineral sun cream stick. Formulated with SPF50 UVA/UVB protection the key sun filter in Natural Mineral Sunsccreen is zinc oxide; the packaging is made from cardboard. I can’t tell you anything about the texture, whitening factor and scent of this pocket-sized sun care stick but the INCI declaration at least looks pretty good – you can check it out on the brand’s website or in the Sol de Ibiza post in my Instagram coverage of Vivaness.
Sol de Ibiza was launched in 2019, their first product was a SPF30 sun cream packaged in a tin (also #zerowaste and #plasticfree) and founder Alessandro Mancini told me that there will be two new product launches in May, an SPF15 lip balm stick and a SPF50 sun cream packaged in a tin. The Natural Mineral Sunscreen stick retails at 18 Euro, by the way, the tin sun cream costs 24 Euro.
SPORT STICK (Germany)
Another contribution in the solid sun care category came from German start-up Sport Stick, another Breeze exhibitor. The Sport Stick contains moisturising raspberry seed oil, pomegranate seed oil, passionfruit seed oil, carnauba and beeswax and offers SPF50 protection (zinc and titanium dioxide). The texture is described as non-greasy and water-resistant.
As the name indicates the Sport Stick was developed especially for outdoor use and when playing sports, and the packaging reflects this: the material is 100% biodegradable and renewable cork from Portugal, so the stick floats when it is immersed in water. There’s also a lanyard made from organic cotton (with a cork closure) so you can wear your sun protection around the neck.
YOU & OIL (Latvia)
One of my favourite booth visits at Vivaness is always You & Oil – each year this Latvian beauty brand presents some truly unusual and very cool products.
At Vivaness 2021, You & Oil featured three new launches, the female lubricant OMG Yes!, a relaxing night-time aromatherapeutical toothpaste called Good Zzzleep and a moisturising solid hand sanitiser (what a great format! Sprays, gels and so on are ubiquituous but I don’t think I’ve come across a solid sanitiser stick launch so far).
I don’t have any information on the ingredients in these products – they are so new that they’re not yet listed on You & Oil’s brand website – but I was promised further information so I’ll update this article as soon as I have more details.
Another awesome Latvian brand: Mádara – no further introduction necessary. The Mádara booth is also a mandatory visit, the company always has a whole clutch of new launches to present at Vivaness.
This year there were five new skin care products as well as the new-ish Velvet Lipstick range but that’s been on the market for a while already so I’ll focus on the skin care novelties.
Let’s start with the Time Miracle Reface & Sleep Overnight Serum (a line extension) which is described as a rejuvenating and skin-refining liquid to be used at night-time. The key actives are birch water, lacto bionic acid (a very gentle PHA (Polyhydroxy Acid)), sea buckthorn oil and vitamin E. Because the PHA has a much gentler peeling effect than AHAs and BHAs (which my skin tends to react to) the Reface & Sleep Overnight Serum is recommended for sensitive skin. I already put it on my Mádara shopping list!
Another Time Miracle extension is the brand’s new Radiant Shield Day Cream SPF15 which contains birch water as a base, plus polysaccharides derived from sea plankton (Alteromonas Ferment extract, to be exact), hydrolysed hyaluronic acid and fern extract and promises firm, hydrated skin and a natural glow. The sun filter’s zinc oxide, by the way.
Then there’s the new SOS Hydra Intense Rose Gel, a line extension in the SOS Hydra range. Formulated with probiotic lactobacillus lysate, fermented sugar and hyaluronic acid as well as hydrating rose water, the INCI list sounds fabulous. This product is described as a light gel moisturiser which’ll strengthen the skin’s barrier (the microbiome) and add long-lasting hydration.
The Hyaluronic-Lactic Intimate Cleansing Foam is a gentle soap-free intimate cleanser for women formulated with probiotic lactic acid, anti-inflammatory burdock root extract and moisturising hyaluronic acid.
And Vitamin C Illuminating Cream is a light facial moisturiser which contains vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid glucoside which is said to be a stable vitamin C compound, vitamin E, hydrating hyaluronic acid and brightening brown algae extract. I wish I knew more about the texture of this cream but judging by the product pictures it’s a pleasant light and ever so slightly glossy white emulsion. As soon as Mádara has another one of its online flash sales I’ll place an order!
German aromatherapy manufacturer Primavera doesn’t need much of an introduction either; the brand’s essential oils, plant oils and cosmetic products are sold in I don’t know how many countries around the world.
The company is a regular exhibitor at Vivaness and their new launches this year include a minty-fresh mask spray in the Atmewohl (Cold Comfort/Breathe Well) range. Formulated with spearmint, orange and lavender essential oils, cistrose hydrosol and witch hazel hydrosol, the Atmewohl Maskenspray disinfects and refreshes reusable face masks.
There is also a new 3-sku Mundwohl (Mouth Comfort) range of oral care, starting with a cooling Lippen Akut Gel for dry irritated lips which contains soothing melissa hydrosol, refreshing spearmint oil and cistrose oil and antibacterial liquorice root extract. The other products in the line are an alcohol-free mouth wash with lemon, spearmint and ravintsara essential oils and an oil-pulling treatment based on sesame and coconut oil and flavoured with spearmint, ginger, cardamom and lemon essential oils.
Finally Primavera presented a new 2-sku aromatherapy range for children: Spiel mit! (Play with Me!) offers a room spray and an essential oil blend and was developed to help create happy, light-hearted spaces for children to play in and feel inspired by. The key essential oils in Spiel mit! are litsea cubeba, frangipani and orange and the blend sounds lovely – and hey, in this new normal I think we all need to feel lighthearted and playful every once in a while, right? I’ve already decided that I’ll buy this spray as soon as I see it in my local healthfood store.
Swiss beauty brand Farfalla is another regular Vivaness exhibitor and at this year’s trade show, the brand presented several interesting launches, including a skin care range and seven new products in the Abwehrkraft (Defensive Power) range, most of them #coronabeauty/#safebeauty launches.
The 3-sku Iris Anti-Ageing Prebiotic range for more mature skin types comprises a Day & Night Cream, an Eye & Lip Cream and an Intensive serum treatment. The products are formulated with lactococcus ferment lysate to strengthen the microbiome of the skin as well as moisturising jojoba oil, shea butter, rose water and beetroot extract. A very nice-looking range.
The Abwehrkraft range offers two products against mosquitos and such: a spray and an essential oil aroma blend which are both formulated with lavender, citronella and rose geranium and promise non-chemical help against plage-y summer insects and mosquitos. Abwehrkraft Intensiv-Luftreiniger (intensive air cleanser) is available as an aroma blend and a room spray and contains 18 (!) essential oils to disinfect and cleanse rooms and other spaces.
There is also an aromatherapy mask spray (Abwehrkraft Zitrone) with orange, lemon and peppermint essential oil as well as a disinfectant hand cleansing liquid formulated with moisturising rose water, antiviral ravintsara essential oil and antimicrobial tea tree oil, lemon and peppermint (plus a refill for the hand cleanser).
ANNEMARIE BÖRLIND (Germany)
Annemarie Börlind is another German heavyweight and as always, the Black Forest beauty brand brought a number of new launches to the show.
Natu Collagen Fluid, for example, is a light moisturiser formulated with plant collagen derived from soy, maize and wheat proteins) while the brand’s Men System Energy Boost range (itself launched in September 2020) was extended with a 2-in-1 Cleanser for Face & Body.
Let’s look at the new men’s care range in a bit more detail because the products in this line include some rather interesting ingredients. Men System Energy Boost offers five products in total: an After Shave Gel, a Facial Cream, 2-Phase Beard Oil and Eye Cream as well as the latest arrival, the 2-in-1 Cleanser for Face & Body.
All products are formulated with the range’s signature Energy Complex which contains plant-based taurine from the Jania Rubens algae (which I have been fascinated with ever since I translated this chapter of Beautyjagd and ProTec Ingredia’s collaborative article series Behind the Beauty Scenes) as well as organic caffeine and gin distilled by regional distillery Heckengaubrennerei. The gin was enriched with a special organic juniper extract said to provide an extra boost of antioxidants. Sounds kind of delicious!
The products in the Men System Energy Boost range retail for around 18-28 Euro in Germany.
MADEMOISELLE AGATHA (France)
Snail beauty brand Mademoiselle Agatha is also a Vivaness regular. Snail mucin is not a popular ingredient in Germany (and this is putting it mildly!) – in our neighbouring countries, however, things are different: there are quite a few Spanish, Italian and French snail beauty brands, both conventional and organic.
I’m not going to go into detail here about how conventional snail cosmetics brand usually harvest their snail mucin (it’s not a particularly gentle process); you can easily google this yourself. Organic brands obviously have to handle this aspect much more carefully if they want to achieve or retain an organic certification (every single organic certifier in Europe demands that ingredients are sourced cruelty-free).
Mademoiselle Agatha harvests their snail slime very carefully and by hand (you can actually view a Youtube video on how the mucin is harvested). This process, the company says, not only doesn’t harm or stress the animals but actually results in a snail mucin that’s more protein-rich than snail mucus harvested by mechanical means. The snails come from the company’s own organic farm.
At Vivaness 2021, Mademoiselle Agatha presented a completely relaunched portfolio, with new packaging design and six different ranges colour-coded to match the six main skin care benefits of snail slime. The formulae remained unchanged and therefore I can assure you (having tried out a number of their products over the years) that the textures and scents are wonderful. This is truly one of my favourite snail beauty brands.
NATURA SIBERICA (Russia)
Russian beauty brand Natura Siberica also relaunched part of its portfolio last year – the face care series received a complete overhaul: new packaging, new formulae, new visuals. This is a screen grab of the new range: there are 35 sku divided into different ranges for various skin types: normal, dry, combination/oily, mature and so on.
I feel like the new look was heavily inspired by the pack designs of French organic beauty brands Sanoflore and La Canopée ….click on the links and see if you don’t agree with me! Still, I like the new design (mostly because Sanflore and La Canopée are two of my favourite French brands).
Vivaness 2021 also features several Asian exhibitors including one of my favourite Taiwanese beauty brands, Naveen. I’ve written about Naveen many times – when it’s not Corona I regularly meet the brand and its manufacturer Evergoods on the international trade show circuit – and at this year’s Vivaness, the company presented an interesting new zero waste sheet mask launch.
The Sachet-Free Hydrating Sheet Mask is based on one of Naveen’s bestselling hydrating masks and, well, the name pretty much describes the concept. One of the key environmental concerns that consumers have about buying sheet masks is the plastic waste that is generated when you use this kind of product: there is the outer mask sachet (usually made from foil or aluminum), at least one plastic/synthetic backing sheet and then, of course, you have the actual mask sheet which is thrown away after use.
The Naveen take on this is a kind of DIY set which contains four biodegradable dry mask sheets and a glass bottle of serum. Put one of the masks into a glass or bowl and pour some of the serum onto it so the material becomes saturated with the liquid. Then you apply the mask to your face as usual. The mask sheet is completely compostable so you can throw it into the bio waste bin.
At the moment the Sachet-Free Hydrating Sheet Mask is only available in selected packaging-free and organic retailers in Taiwan but Naveen manufacturer Evergoods is hoping to also launch the product in Europe at some point.
INNA ORGANIC (Taiwan)
Another Taiwanese beauty brand that I like is Inna Organic. Amongst the company’s new launches are two interesting-sounding hair care products, the Cypress Scalp Balancing Spray and a Cedarwood Hair Oil.
Scalp care – treating the skin on your scalp with as much care and respect as you would the skin on your face or body, because a healthy scalp means thicker and healthier hair – is a very popular product category in most Asian markets, much more so than over here in Europe.
Inna Organic’s Cypress Scalp Balancing Spray was developed for sensitive, itchy and oily scalps – Taiwan is a sub-tropical country and a large part of the population travels around on scooter and motorbike, so wearing a helmet for hours at a time is very common. The spray was formulated with melissa hydrosol, rosebay willowherb extract, hydrolysed yeast protein and a blend of five woodsy/fir needle-y essential oils. It’s a leave-in treatment: You spray the liquid directly onto the freshly cleansed scalp and massage it in with your fingers or a hair brush.
The Cedarwood Hair Oil is a conditioning oil spray based on very light plant oils (including olive, jojoba, grapeseed and camellia) to make it suitable for hotter and more humid Asian climates. The formula also contains essential oils of cedarwood, juniper and pine as well as cypress stem oil and cypress leaf/nut extract. You spray it onto damp or dry hair, focusing on the hair length and the ends. Both products are completely vegan and certified by Cosmos Organic.
Well, and this was it from the first digital edition of Vivaness! I really enjoyed the show; the Biofach/Vivaness team did a fantastic job with this event – thank you! The next show will (hopefully) take place offline in Nuremberg again, from 15th to 18th February 2020. Fingers crossed!