Singapore! This is where Cosmoprof Asia 2022 took place this year. Hong Kong still has a lot of pandemic restrictions (presumably thanks to its mainland China overlords and that government‘s spectacularly restrictive and ineffectual zero covid policy) so the organisers decided to relocate Asia-Pacific’s most important trade show rather than cancel it outright. And I’m very happy they did. Relocate the fair, that is. This was first in-person Cosmoprof Asia since 2019 (and my first Asian trade show since Cosme Tokyo in January 2020) and it was marvellous to be finally back in Asia.
Because of the relocation, the Ukraine war and pandemic restrictions in various Asian regions, a lot of the usual exhibitor countries didn’t attend the show. China only had a small trade show presence this year (and they are usually the biggest exhibitor country, especially in Cosmopack), ditto Hong Kong and Taiwan; Japan also had fewer exhibitors than usual. Korea was the only Asian country present in its usual numbers (relatively speaking). As a result, the Western exhibitors seemed to be much more prominent than usual – in Hong Kong it always appeared to me like there were 75% Asian companies and 25% non-Asians; at the Singapore show it felt like the balance veered more towards 50/50.
In total, there were some 1,200 exhibitors from 46 countries across Cosmoprof and Cosmopack which is around a third of the usual Cosmoprof Asia exhibitor numbers. And over 21,600+ visitors from 103 countries visited during the three days of the trade show which equals around a fourth of the usual visitor numbers.
I’m basing this comparison on the exhibitor/visitor numbers from Cosmoprof Asia 2018 which was the last „normal“ show. The 2019 edition was already much smaller and quieter since it took place during the Hong Kong protests and many Asian exhibitors, especially mainland China, didn’t attend the fair that year. Then came the pandemic and, yeah well, we all know what happened then.
Anyway, this Singaporean edition of Cosmoprof Asia might have been smaller than usual but as a result it was also so much more relaxed. There was plenty of time to catch up with brands and reconnecting with colleagues and friends for the first time in years. I even managed to attend a few Cosmotalks sessions, including the Beautystreams trends presentation (always a must!) and Asia Cosme Lab’s excellent presentation on halal beauty. Usually I’m much too busy on the floor and Hong Kong Expo Centre is HUGE, so it takes ages to walk from point A to point B. Singapore Expo is much more compact. It was a very enjoyable show.
There were no truly new trends or revolutionary product innovations at Cosmoprof Asia 2022, just more of the same – natural/organic and vegan continued to be very important claims and microbiome cosmetics and functional/cosmeceutical beauty launches were more prominent than ever at exhibitor booths from around the world. Some ingredient launches, on the other hand, were confined to a very specific exhibitor demographic – bakuchiol and EGF appeared to be particularly popular this year, especially amongst the Korean brands.
After this lengthy introduction let’s jump right in: Here are some of my favourite brand discoveries at Cosmoprof Asia Singapore 2022, in no particular order. Although I stuck the bakuchiol and EGF brands into group sections to make it easier. There were just so many of them. I’m not doing a specific Microbiome Beauty section either because, well, if I did we’d still be here tomorrow. Suffice it to say that the word „biome“ was visible in every second product launch (usually as part of the product or brand name).
COSMOPROF ASIA 2022: BRAND INNOVATIONS
Balanx was an interesting exhibitor: This recently launched beauty brand offers customised skin care which is mixed by a machine robot while you wait. Balanx has shop-in-shops in various Korean department stores, like the Hyundai chain, and the whole process works like this.
First your skin tone/density/texture is measured electronically, I assume that there is also a retailed questionnaire about lifestyle and dietary habits to fill in. Then the Balanx skin care advisor draws up a suitable product formula – the line-up comprises a cleanser, toner, essence, lotion and toner pads all of which can be customised – and the manufacturing robot (which is installed in situ in the Balanx store) begins mixing the beauty products. And the customer can pick them up directly afterwards. Obviously you can also order the products online and have them shipped to your home address, but I really like the while-you-wait angle of Balanx‘ customisation concept. I would totally try it out.
One of my perennial K-beauty favourites! Kocostar had only a small booth at this year’s show but they still presented some novelties, including a large size of the Pull-Off Collagen Face Mask that I saw at Cosmoprof Bologna this year and a temporary bubble hair colourant.
Hair Bubble Brown is a foam colourant formulated with a plant extract that turns brown upon contact with air and naturally tints the hair without using actual colour pigments. You spray the foam onto your hairbrush and apply it to the roots, hairline or whatever. It rinses out easily so the company recommends you don’t use it when you know it’ll be raining.
Japanese personal care brand Diane and its shampoos don’t need any introduction in Asia – it is HUGE in just about every Asian country. A few years ago, the brand launched the Bonheur range of natural hair care products and in 2022, that line was extended with a 4- night-time range. Night-time beauty is another major trend in the global cosmetics industry right now.
The line-up of Night Dream Tea includes a shampoo and intensve conditioner, a pillow mist and a multi-purpose hair & body oil. The products are formulated with a specially crafted aromatherapy fragrance of ginger, bergamot and petitgrain as top note, lily of the valley and violet in the heart and a base of amber and musk, to help induce sleep and calm down body and mind. The brand had originally launched shampoo and conditioner as a limited edition which, however, proved to be so successful that manufacturer Naturelab decided to extend the range and make it a permanent addition to the Diane portfolio.
Diane’s other major launch this year is a 6-sku range of colour-enhancing shampoos and conditioners (see above). The packaging of this range looks different from Diane’s usual sumptuous product design, much more minimalistic. Purple Shampoo, Pink Shampoo and Ash Beige Shampoo come with a matching conditioner each and are designed to correct and enhance the natural hair colour.
I always enjoy visiting the Adwin booth – I love its circular design which makes it easy to look at every single product in great detail, and the new launches are always highlighted with little red stickers! So considerate : )
Amongst the Korean manufacturer’s half a dozen or so new launches (primarily in the Purederm brand – nose strips, face masks etc.) was the Easy Comb temporary hair colourant for hair and bears which really caught my eye: it’s ready to use, packaged in a sachet with an applicator brush already attached. Very convenient! I just wish they had one for women as well – as you can see from the brand imagery this particular launch is aimed at the male market.
ELVIS + ELWIN (US)
This is a charming little organic indie brand from the US. Elvis + Elwin (the brand was named after the founder’s two sons) was launched in 2014 with a pretty solid line-up of face care, hair care, body care and makeup.
In 2021, the brand introduced the Lilac range of nine natural face care products formulated with lilac leaf cell extract – I really liked the serum which had a nice texture and great scent. And this year, two new product ranges joined the family: Gillian (see pic above) is a range of face care created for younger consumers while Dermal Elixir is a line of five functional face serums.
Ossome is a functional hair and scalp care range from Singapore. Launched last month, the line-up includes three colour-coded sub-ranges: Exossome is designed for normal hair and packaged in green, the packaging of Moisturelock (for dry and damaged hair) is blue while Greyshield is an anti-pollution and anti-stress range which is claimed to help slow down hair going grey by protecting it against environmental factors that can promote greying.
Each range offers four products: Shampoo, conditioner, detox scalp treatment and hair tonic ampoules. The brand has a very strong bio-tech vibe: The active ingredients in the three ranges are proprietary blends of protein derivatives and peptides which are combined with a high-tech time-release transdermal delivery system. I also like the clean and surprisingly stylish packaging which looks so much more modern than the average medicinal scalp care ranges you can buy in European drugstores.
Another interesting launch was Korean beauty brand Cellicon‘s new Jeu’Demeure PermeaCell Lifting Set. This is an anti-ageing treatment kit designed to be used for eight consecutive weeks.
The set comprises six glass ampoules with freeze-dried collagen, peptides and hyaluronic acid and a booster lotion. You unscrew one of the glass ampoules, “activate” the free-dried ingredients with the booster lotion and apply the resulting serum to the skin. The actives are then transported into the skin courtesy of Cellicon’s proprietary peptide-based PermeaCell transdermal delivery system.
I always enjoy checking in with Isntree (their Hyaluronic Acid Toner has been one of my Holy Grail skin care products for years). This year, the brand has been relaunching its packaging – I really like the new look, it’s a lot more stylish – and introduced a new Yam Root Milk range of cleanser and cream.
As the product names suggest the key plant ingredient in this range is yam root extract which is said to contain high levels of phytomucin (plant mucus, basically) and amino acids, making it ideal for sensitive skin types.
This Korean skin care brand has been around for a few years – I was trying to remember when they were launched, 2016? Anyway, Axis-Y manufactures climate-inspired skin care, i.e. products formulated specifically for consumers living in challenging climates. Its latest innovation is ay&me, a product range developed in collaboration with the Axis-y user community.
The company sent out detailed surveys to their Korean and international users (apparently consumers from 68 countries participated in this) to find out what kind of products its fans wanted. Sample formulations were created, actual product samples sent out to users and the formulation then redeveloped incorporating user feedback, until the 4-sku Biome range was ready. And yes, surprise, surprise: The international skin care community wants microbiome beauty!
The line-up offers a cleansing oil, toner, essence and cream all formulated with a special Probiotics complex. The packaging looks very unlike the traditional Axis-y skin care pack design – brown glass bottles, with grey caps. Kinda nice.
This is what Axis-y main product line looks like, by the way (see pic above): The 6+1+1 range was also extended with two new launches – the PCA Resurfacing Glow Peel which features a fresh water texture and contains 10% PHA acids, and the Vita Frost Chilling Essence, a cooling hydrator for use on stressed and irritated skin.
When I walked past the booth of beauty company Gemology I initially thought the brand offered cosmetics infused with precious stones, with gemstones packaged into the flacons to infuse the products with good vibrations or something … but no, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Gemology was launched 15 years ago and specialises in premium skin care formulated with hydrolysed gem stone extracts.
The French brand has developed a technology to solubilise precious stones. These gemstone extracts contains all the minerals and trace elements of the stones and can be blended into cosmetic formulations. The five gorgeous serums you can see in the picture were launched last year and each serum contains the minerals and even the colours of the respective precious stone (no artifical colours are used). The serums have nice clean formulations and beautiful textures and are priced at 70 Euro each.
This month, the brand will launch a new serum which is based on a very rare type of blue amber. The new product will be part of an entirely new 6-sku organic beauty range, Gemology Organics. In France, Gemology is retailed in salons and spas (besides the retail range there is also a professional salon range) and the company also manufactures hotel amenities.
WE ARE FRENCH INDIE BEAUTY (France)
This was one of my favourite exhibitor booths at Cosmoprof Asia 2022: We Are French Indie Brands (WAFIB) was a communal booth of 24 French niche and newcomer brands.
It’s such a win-win situation: I can discover 24 brands at once (and as a typical trade show visitor with limited time and energy I do appreciate brands making it easy for me!) with all the information I might possibly need right there. And for these small indie brands (most of which could never afford an individual expo booth) and which would usually be lost amongst the larger exhibitors, or stuck on the outside edges of the hall or in corners, this collective trade show presence ensures valuable footfall and greatly increased visibility.
I was told that WAFIB was initially a Whatsapp group of the brand founders; I’m not sure who had the initial idea to organise a presence at Cosmoprof Asia 2022 but I’m so glad they did. There were some really cool brands at the booth which I would have never discovered otherwise.
WAFIB didn’t just have a communal booth but also a website with actual company profiles for each of the brands. There are pictures of the founders, overview of the product range with detailed product categories and number of sku, keywords and brand values, distribution channels in France and internationally, which markets the brand wants to explore….all the information you might possibly need. This is absolutely invaluable for a trade journalist like me who is looking for exactly those brand infos. Long story short: I loved the WAFIB booth.
Two brands I particularly liked were Botak – head care for bald people – and Be+Radiance, a microbiome makeup brand. Also loved the packaging of All Tigers lipglosses and lipsticks! Check the brand websites for more detail. I wish I had the time and energy to do short profiles on all 24 brands but I don’t.
However, here is a list of the WAFIB brands that were present at the trade fair: 1919 Bains de Mer (marine face and body care), All Tigers (makeup), Botak (head/scalp care), Caditar (medicinal hair and scalp care), Carlo & Carla (intimate hygiene for men and women), Cottan Paris 1840 (skin care), Cultiv (face care and supplements), Demain (probiotic face care), DermEden Laboratoires (dermocosmetics), Jean d’Aigles (fragrances), Jus (fragrances), La Crème Libre (refillable skin care), Les Huilettes (oil-based face care), La Maison de la Vanille (fragrances & home fragrance), Les Poulettes (organic probiotic face care), MI-RÊ (premium face care), Miller & Bertaux (fragrances), Monsieur Barbier (shaving products), Nideco (community-created face care), Oolution (organic face care), Ouate (children’s face and body care), Pachamamai (solid cosmetics) and Purally (organic face care).
NATURA SIBERICA (Russia)
Russian organic brand Natura Siberica is a Cosmoprof Asia institution; the brand is there every year and also attended this year’s show, under the umbrella of its Estonian manufacturing subsidary.
As I had expected the company has kept busy in the past six months (the last time I checked out Natura Siberica’s new launches was at Cosmoprof Bologna this March) and there were several new ranges to explore, including the Ecoforia face care range, the Ice Professional range of salon shampoos and a line of solid shampoos in the Organic Shop brand.
However, I found the Lab Biome line most interesting. This face care range was launched very recently and as the name implies, the products focus on face care formulated with postbiotic and fermented plant actives, specifically cloudberry and wild raspberry from Northern Europe. The line-up comprises seven serums, four face creams and some undereye gel masks.
COSMOPROF ASIA 2022 TREND: BAKUCHIOL
Bakuchiol, a plant extract often called „plant retinol“ because its effects on the skin are said to mimic those of vitamin A, has been trending in European and US beauty for several years now. When even the drugstore own label brands bring out bakuchiol serums you know an trend ingredient has gone well and truly mainstream!
Now bakuchiol seems to be taking off in Korea, too; I counted at least half a dozen new bakuchiol ranges from Korean beauty brands, almost always in combination with the vegan claim. Maybe it’s easiest if I just list a few bakuchiol brands; there were so many of them.
Bunio Korea is best-known for its aromatherapy shower filter attachments – these are fragrance capsule things that are attached in between the shower head and the hose and they scent the shower water with whatever fragrance you’ve selected. However, now Bunio is branching out into functional skin care with trending ingredients. The brand’s latest launches include two serums, one with bakuchiol – the Bakutenol Returns Ampoule – the other with cica (centella asiatica).
Fellow Korean brand Tinazana also launched a new bakuchiol range – their dual-phase Vegan Bakuchiol Firming Serum looks so luscious! – as did TMC Korea’s Eleven Huesday brand which brought out the V-Renewal Bakuchiol serum and matching face cream. Another new bakuchiol range came from Celestyn which presented a Bakuchiol Moisture Cream with retinol and peptides, a Facial Serum and dual-phase Toning Mist.
COSMOPROF ASIA 2022 TREND: EGF
The other trending ingredient at this year’s Cosmoprof Asia was EGF (Epidermal Growth Factors). Like bakuchiol, EGF is not new skin care tech (and certainly not in Europe) but these cell-repairing polypeptides seem to be very popular amongst the Asian exhibitors right now.
Korean brand EGFology was launched five years ago. In 2021, the company brought out the EGFology face care range. The vegan-certified line-up comprises eight products including a solid face cleanser, a toner, serum, lotion and facial mist.
All products are formulated with, well, EGF. The brand’s newest launch is the Active EGF Serum (which promptly made it into the shortlist of French trend forecaster Beautystreams’s Cosmoprof Asia 2022 trend report). In Korea, the brand’s products are sold in department stores and online on Olive Young.
Reblocell is another new Korean EGF beauty brand. Launched in 2020, the brand’s newest products include the Glossom Rejuvenating Mask which contains 20ml of 4ppm-concentrated EGF serum.
There is also the Flossom Regenerating Face mask with 20ml of 1ppm EGF – or, as the brand puts it, each sheet mask contains the equivalent of four ampoules of EGF. I kind like the book-style packaging of these mask.
Not from Asia but also highly active in the EGF beauty industry, Belgian company Celestetic has been manufacturing EGF cosmetics for over ten years.
They have a very wide range products (there are around 30 sku) which are primarily retailed in beauty salons, and their newest product is the EGF Hydra Mist, described as a lotion facial spray, which contains a great selection of actives, including 5% hyaluronic acid, 5% panthenol, 4% niacinamide, 2% saccharide ismoerates and 2% peptides. Plus EGF, of course. Great texture, too.
COSMOPROF ASIA 2022 TREND: MICRO-NEEDLE PATCHES
I also noticed several Asian brands offering dissolving micro-needle patches. This is an interesting cosmetic delivery system which mimics the effects of actual micro-needling: The active ingredients in the product formula (hyaluronic acid, caffeine, plant extracts and so on) are manufactured into super thin, tiny spikes which are attached to a patch. You place the patch onto the desired skin area and press gently. The spikes very lightly pierce the top-most layer of the epidermis (it doesn’t hurt, it’s more like a very brief tingle) and the ingredients can therefore penetrate more deeply into the skin than they would in topical serum applied on unbroken skin.
Korean brand Farmskin, for example, has just launched a new anti-spot patch in its acne care Troubless range (launched last year). The Micro-Point Patch contains tea tree 4-terpineol, willow bark extract, brussels sprouts extract, broccoli extract and Japanese apricot extract and can be placed precisely on pimples of impurities.
Another exhibitor at the fair was Endoderma, a Korean manufacturer of these dissolving micro-needle patches. Looking at their product range was really interesting, they make patches in different (and even decorative shapes) – their latest launch are undereye micro-needle patches (see pic above) which contain caffeine and hyaluronic acid.
COSMOPROF ASIA 2022 TREND: COLOURFUL LIPS
There were also some interesting makeup brands at the show. Most of the new lip colour launches the typically pandemic hybrid products: intensively hydrating-long-lasting colours – lip stains, tinted lip repair balms, transfer-proof lipsticks, that sort of thing.
I really liked the offerings of Korean brand Diblanc which not only launched three vegan lipsticks but also the colour-changing Tint Balm stick (and I just love colour-changing lipbalms).
The Vegan Plumping Sticks also looks good (although I’m not a fan of matte colours), but the Sweetheart Tint Stick – nice!
UNICORN GLOW (Korea)
Unicorn Glow is a GenZ makeup brand from Korea which was launched in 2020. They do all sorts of glittery and shimmery colour cosmetics with pretty and stylish-looking packaging and their newest launch is the Marshmallow Lip Tint (another product featured in Beautystreams‘ Cosmoprof Asia 2022 trend report) which has the most intriguing texture.
This is a liquid lipstain which has a rich, fluffy, liquid consistency that then dries down to a powder finish. There are six different shades and let me tell you, the colour really is transfer-proof! I tried one of the reds on my hand early in the day and the colour survived repeated handwashings and only faded towards the end of the evening.
DINTO COSMETICS (Korea)
Dinto Cosmetics is a vegan makeup brand that I came across on the last afternoon of the trade show. Launched in 2021 with 45 sku across all product categories except nails, priced at 13-33 USD.
The packaging is rather sumptuous and quite romantic which matches the brand’s literary and very feminine vibe – several colour collections are named after classic authors (both male and female).
Fellow Korean skin care brand Nacific recently branched out into colour cosmetics with the launch of a range of long-lasting liquid lip colours that has a nice texture.
Shine Mood Slick is available in eight shades and there is also a new Vegan Lipglow Range of lipsticks which comes in five different shades. The Nacific booth also featured a huge poster of Nacific’s newest brand ambassadors, K-pop brand Stray Kids (SKZ) which I would guess was specifically designed for the Singaporean market : )
Well, that was it from me for this year. In 2023 Cosmoprof Asia will return to Hong Kong (yay!), taking place from 14th to 17th November 2023. Fingers crossed!