Well, the second edition of virtual trade show Cosmoprof Asia Digital Week has come and gone. First introduced in 2020 as a substitute for the cancelled Cosmoprof Asia trade show in Hong Kong, CADW 2021 had the same format as last year’s show (here’s the link to my Cosmoprof Asia Digital Week 2020 article) – the Match & Meet database for exhibitors and visitors, online exhibitor database, Cosmotalks lectures, Cosmostage product demonstrations. The whole event took place from 8th to 16th November 2021.
This year I was registered as Media/Press so I didn’t have access to Match & Meet but still found a lot of interesting beauty brands and trends, so let’s jump right in!
I noticed a lot of fragrance launches this year, especially in the personal fragrance sector which is traditionally a niche market in East Asia. However, it looks like things might changing here; I do know that in China, for example, personal fragrance has been growing massively, driven by the enormous demand for international niche fragrance and the emergence of a whole crop of domestic fragrance houses (which I’d love to try!).
It was equally noticeable though that in most East Asian markets, consumer still prefer softer fragrance formats – think eau de toilette rather than eau de parfum, and scented body sprays or solid fragrances rather than liquid.
Look at Japanese fragrance house Scentnations’ fragrance range Sholayered – solid perfumes and cream perfumes as well as their latest fragrance launch, an alcohol free perfume spray marketed as ideal for people who usually don’t wear fragrance.
Sholayered also launched this really interesting flanker (see above), a hand sanitising gel scented with Fresh Pear, one of their best-selling fragrances. Great idea! I kept thinking that other perfume brands should introduce this kind of product – let’s face it, the demand for hand sanitisers isn’t going to go away any time soon, and hand hygiene is a good idea anyway.
Imagine a Tommy Girl-scented hand gel packaged in a Tommy Girl-inspired bottle? Or Chanel No. 5? Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue, Penhaligons, L’Artisan Parfumeur – with limited editions, cool packaging designs; totally collectable and a great entry-level product to test out a luxury fragrance.
More fragrance innovation came from Korean smart scent start-up Deepscent and their AROM Styler. This AI fragrance dispenser was launched a few years ago and it’s a neat device: you load it with up to four fragrance cartridges/capsules and it is then operated from your smartphone. The AI bit means that the device remembers your favourite scent combinations and usage patterns and will then suggest suitable scent blends that you might also enjoy.
And AROM’s latest launch is so cool: It’s a collection of curated travel scents which promises to take you on an olfactory journey to ten destinations. Each kit contains four scent capsules that together create an olfactory profile of places such as Jeju island (Korea), Sapporo (Japan), Grasse or Paris (France) but there are also experiences such as Coffee Break in Seattle (US), Shopping in LA and Winter Stay in Whistler (US).
The Jeju blend, for example, combines the four scent capsules Cheerful Parisian Vibe (energising florals), Soft Sunset Flower (Google-translate description: a “subtle daisy scent“), Fresh Morning Juice (a zesty citrus drink) and Comfy Afternoon Tea (powdery, soft accords).
Fruit in Sapporo contains Green Sweet Air (refreshing sweet melon), Clear Blue Sky (cool notes, like a morning sky without a single cloud), Truly Sweet Bonbon (vibrant lollipop flavour) and Graceful Spring Day (an elegant aroma, like that of a fresh spring breeze).
And Coffee Break in Seattle is composed of It’s Coffee Time (a spices-led coffee accord), Mild Whipping Cream (milky, creamy notes), Cozy Little Home (musks, woods) and Mysterious Brown Cottage (Google Translate: like “drinking tea in a small wooden hut in the forest“).
I Gentleman for Homme is a Korean men’s fragrance brand – not sure when this label was launched but I’m willing to bet it was within the last few years! – which launched a scented fabric spray for men! In a personal care range! The reason why this struck me as so exotic is that in Germany sure, we do have fabric sprays but these are rooted squarely in the laundry detergent and fabric conditioner sector. I can’t think of any beauty brand that has introduced a fabric spray in its body care range. So, a really cool idea. The fabric spray is available in three fragrance versions, two of which are based on already existing perfumes in the I Gentlemen for Homme range.
The company behind I Gentleman for Homme is rather interesting: they’re called i-Product and own a few other personal care brands including another men’s care brand, Pormans. Pormans also offers an interesting men’s fragrance product: Pormans Black Secret is a solid fragrance „ For Well-Mannered Man“!
Sake cosmetics brand Edobio was launched in 2019 with a bar soap face cleanser packaged in the prettiest wooden sake container. I first met the Kobe-based brand at Cosme Tokyo 2020 (remember that January, when Covid was still just a tiny cloud at the horizon…? At least when viewed from a European perspective…!).
Anyway, over the past three years Edobio has really expanded its portfolio and the most recent launches include the 3-sku anti-ageing Saketernal range of Radiance Booster Mask, Intensive Hydration Serum and Fresh Balancing Toner. All products contain the brand’s signature sake lees extract combined with various other Japanese plant extracts and oils, such as sweet potato root extract, chrysanthemum flower extract and camellia seed oil.
Another recent Edobio launch is Aroma Floreeze Spray Sanitiser, a scented mask disinfecting spray formulated with lactic acid bacteria, green tea extract, tea tree essential oil and lavender oil. Classic #coronabeauty!
And Kocostar! As usual the Korean beauty manufacturer brought a whole clutch of novelties to CADW 2021, including the T1 Collagen Cream, two line extension in the lip mask range – the Peach Hydrogel Lip Mask and the matching Peach DuoDuo combo of lip scrub and intensive oil cream – and the Colour Hand & Foot Moisture Pack, a 6-sku range of slip-on hand and foot masks. The outside layer of these masks is dry (and decorated with pretty patterns) so you can wear it around the house or even outside whilst the rich mask serum deeply moisturises and soothes your hands and feet.
The T1 Collagen Cream is also interesting: it seems to be a combination of cream and mask – the formula contains alginic acid and chitosan as well as 65% of nano-sized collagen particles. The product is said to offer the effects of a professional skin care treatment at home: you apply the cream to the cleansed, toned face and let it sit on the skin for a while. The alginate ensures that the cream layer kind of hardens out and creates a film on the face. Which is then gently pulled off. Sounds intriguing. I would have loved to have tried out the texture.
Another product range that I REALLY wanted to try was Taiwanese health & beauty manufacturer 3dl’s new Phytoflow At-Home Spa range which is tapping squarely into the global wellbeing trend. There are seven face and body care products which are all formulated with the brand’s proprietary Phytoviability complex which is described as boosting endorphine (happiness hormone) levels to reharmonise body and soul. Kind of like a meditation for the skin? I was unable to find a dedicated brand website and had to rely on the Google Translated product description provided by the exhibitor, so I’m not sure whether this range has an aromatherapeutical slant or does indeed contains plant extracts that can boost endorphines?
Anyway, the Phytoflow At-Home Spa range offers a Hormone Rebalance Essential OIl, the Exfoliating Gel-to-Milk Scrub (with apricot particles), the Youth Renewal Cream, the Light-Weighted Hydrating Toner and three sheet masks: a firming sheet mask, a hydrogel evening mask (with a relaxing scent) and a semi-gel (their description, not mine!) morning mask scented with an invigorating aroma. Chrono skincare’s fascinating.
3DL also adressed the ever-present #maskne problem with an innovative 4-sku patch/mask range. Formulated with the brand’s proprietary Acefighter complex which combines three actives. Not sure what these ingredients are, I couldn’t find a website.
The line-up of Maskne offers the Maskne Refresh Patch, a set of small patches saturated in a cooling essence – this product is designed to treat individual outbreaks on the face, you stick the patch straight onto the inflammation. There is also the Dual Cica Soothing Patch which contains the titular centella asiatica extract to, well, soothe inflamed and angry pimples/areas on the face.
The Acne Solution Liquid Patch is rather interesting: these are individual patches saturated in a liquid gel formula which the brand says forms an invisible protective film on top of the pimple so you can apply makeup on it. Very nice indeed! The final product in the range is the Deep Detox Charcoal Mask (a regular sheet mask) which basically does what it says on the tin : )
I was also excited to see Japanese beauty brand Makanai at the show. Makanai is from Kanazawa city in Ishikawa prefecture – Kanazawa is famous for ist traditional arts and crafts and especially for its time-honoured and ancient production of (edible and non-edible) gold leaf. In fact, the city is the biggest gold-leaf manufacturer in the whole of Japan.
Makanai was launched in 2004 and opened its first retail store in 2006. Today the company operates 13 brand stores across Japan but the products are also available in some Parisian retailers a well as selected European online retailers. In 2018 Makanai’s parent company Ya-Man launched a wholesale business in the UK and then, 2019, in Italy. The brand is definitely set for further international expansion; the packaging was updated from its original pretty-cutesy design to a more stylish look – the classic Makanai bunny with mortar and pestle, however, is still around.
Several of Makanai’s products contain gold leaf (a very popular and traditional beauty ingredient in Japan); the brand even sells a gold leaf mask which retails for a cool 200 USD (see pic above). Formulations are natural and in some cases pretty close to organic and of course the range has a strong Japanese vibe, with loads of typically Japanese ingredients such as yuzu, camellia seed oil, khaki leaf extract and hinoki (cypress wood) extract.
Daymellow is a Korean skin care brand launched in 2018 and currently offers around 50 sku of face and body care products. I wasn’t familiar with this brand prior to CADW 2021 so I checked it out and liking the packaging! Especially the pouch-packed beauty products. Daymellow describes itself as a natural healing skin care brand – can’t really comment as to the actually natural aspect since I was unable to find a comprehensive INCI listing, but the brand definitely has a bit of a hanbang vibe going on.
Each product range is built around one key plant extract – often traditional Korean herbals such as houttuynia cordata or snow mushroom – and then you have the usual cream, toner, lotion etc. per range. I found the pouch-packaged face and body care gels particularly interesting – 96% of the respective plant extract in a gel formula? Nice! Daymellow is widely available on K-beauty stores online, including Yesstyle in the US and Stylevana in Germany/Europe. Unfortunately Stylevana didn’t have the INCI listing on their website either because now I really want to try those gels.
DAISY DOLL (Japan)
J-beauty makeup brand Daisy Doll was launched in July 2021 by ClubCosmetics, the Japanese beauty manufacturer behind the Mary Quant brand in Japan. Mary Quant is, of course, the famous British fashion designer from the 1960s. Her label seems to be quite popular in Japan – I’ve definitely see the logo around. Daisy Doll is named after Quant’s fashion doll which she launched in 1973. I checked out Daisy Doll (the doll) online (you can find it on Ebay et. al.) and her clothes and accessories really are stunning! All were designed by Mary Quant herself.
Anyway, Daisy Doll (the makeup range) offers a compact line-up of eye colours and some face products, including a dual-colour eyeshadow stick which I liked immediately, some eyebrow pencils, liquid eyeliners, two primers and a compact powder; all priced at a very mass market compatible 1500-2000 Yen. Products are available in most Japanese beauty retailers, including Loft, Tokyu Hands, Plaza, Cosme and It’s Demo.
More makeup, this time from China. Chinese makeup brands have become very popular over the past couple of years; both domestically and abroad. The popularity of made in China beauty especially amongst the younger Chinese demographics can be traced back to the strong surge of nationalism and patriotism arising from China‘s many geopolitical entanglements of the last few years – the #freehongkong situation, the question of Taiwan, international criticism of China’s treatment of the Uighurs/forced labour, to pick just three of the biggest political crises. As a result, China-made products are now really trending amongst domestic GenZ and Millennials, especially if they have that hip guochao vibe (hello, Florasis!).
However, this popularity is not just for political reasons: the new generation of Chinese beauty brands are super agile, digitally native and know exactly what their consumer demographic wants. They are also great at story-telling, more affordable than imported Western products and have a really fast to-market rate (no surprise when you look at the beauty manufacturing infrastructure that exists in China). Examples of popular domestic beauty brands are Perfect Diary, the afore-mentioned Florasis or Flower Knows (a makeup brand founded in 2016 by two Chinese cosplayers).
And then there is Zeesea who were also at CADW 2021 (one of the very few finished beauty brands from China that attended the show). Zeesea was launched in 2012 and is well-known for its design collaborations and limited art editions, especially those collabs developed in cooperation with the British Museum, such as Alice in Wonderland (see first pic), Genius Picasso and Enchanting Egypt.
And of course Zeesea also offers guochao-themed makeup collections, such as Palace Identity, check out the screenshot above! The brand launched in Japan in 2019 (online and offline through drugstore market leader Matsumoto Kiyoshi) and in the US in 2020. The products are not available in Europe yet but I’m willing to bet that Zeesea will launch over here within the next 18 months.
MORE INFO ON MY INSTAGRAM
This is quite possibly the shortest trade show review article I’ve ever written! For more new product launches check out my Instagram coverage of CADW 2021. The offline Cosmoprof Asia will (hopefully) take place again this year in November, 16th to 18th November, to be exact. 2022 also marks Cosmoprof Asia Hong Kong’s 25th anniversary!