Retail notes from Tokyo: [Show Report] Cosme Tokyo 2023

Cosme Tokyo 2023 was my first in-person Cosme Tokyo since the pandemic. The 2022 show actually took place offline again but back then travel to Asia was still impossible for Europeans, so I attended Cosme Tokyo 2022 digitally. Cosme Tokyo 2021 was a fully digital show as well. And here are the links to the 2020, 2019 and 2018 shows, if you’re interested.

Cosme Tokyo 2023 was smaller than its pre-pandemic editions. Then again, this has been the case with every international beauty trade show that I’ve attended over the past nine months (from Cosmoprof Bologna 2022 over Vivaness 2022 to Cosmoprof Asia 2022). I think it’ll be a few more years before these global trade fairs return to normal again.

Quite a few of Cosme Tokyo’s regular Japanese exhibitors didn’t attend the show this year, and the Chinese exhibitor contingent was also much smaller than usual. So was the number of European and US/Canadian brands, by the way – I only saw a half dozen or so non-Asian beauty companies at the fair. Still, it was a super interesting Cosme Tokyo and I was incredibly happy to be back at Tokyo Big Sight.

Halls (10)

Halls

Halls (11)

COSME TOKYO 2023: CBD BEAUTY

Unsurprisingly, one of the key trends this year was CBD beauty. CBD is short for cannabidiol, one of the non-THC fractions that can be distilled from the cannabis sativa (hemp) plant. And while cultivating hemp and distilling CBD in Japan is still pretty much illegal –the domestic brands usually import their CBD from the US or Europe – the Japanese CBD industry has been growing strongly over the past few years.

There were at least a dozen domestic CBD brands at the show (products manufactured in Japan but with imported CBD). While the Japanese CBD market is not half as dynamic yet as, for example, the Thai market – ever since the Thai government began to actively invest into the domestic hemp industry last year, the country’s cannabis industry has been booming – it is considered to be a market place with enormous potential, once the Japanese government further relaxes its restrictions on medicinal and recreational cannabis.

I’m only highlighting a few of the more interesting CBD brands that I saw at the show, otherwise we’d be here all night!

SUGOY  (Japan)

Sugoy was launched in 2021/22 and offers around 10-15 sku of CBD-based products, both supplements and cosmetics. Manufacturer Migoto sources its certified organic CBD from California. They do OEM/ODM as well, of course, and whilst the company offers the usual CBD ingredient formats (powder, oil etc.) they also manufacture water-soluble CBD which plays a leading role in one of the company’s latest launches, the Scalp Mist.

Sugoy (1)

Sugoy (2)

This is a leave-in spray to hydrate and soothe the scalp – and I think it might be the first time I’ve actually seen a CBD scalp care product; usually it’s face and body care only. There is also a new aromatherapy-inspired Botanical Oil Roll-On which contains 400 mg of CBD to relax and soothe. Sugoy’s products are mostly distributed through salons and online, of course.

WALALA (Japan)

I think I wrote about Walala the first time during Cosme Tokyo 2021. The Tokyo-based luxury-priced CBD brand was launched (I think) three years ago; the CBD they use in their products is synthetic CBD and the product range includes four face care products (a serum, cream, sheet mask and lotion), three CBD supplements (two in capsule form, and one as a CBD oil).

Walala

Walala (1)

Walala’s latest launch in the afore-mentioned lotion (full name: Moisture & Repair Lotion, see pic above) which is a thick-ish liquid hydrator. The products are sold online but the brand also has an impressive number of offline stockists, including some of Tokyo’s more high-priced supermarkets, a few hotels and beauty salons.

PILLOW (Japan)

Pillow is Walala‘s recently launched CBD  supplements range. I love the pack design, it’s so attractive. Pillow focuses on night-time use and offers a liquid drink and Sleep Gummies to promote restful sleep and relaxation.

Pillow

Pillow (1)

The drink comes with a comparatively affordable price tag (I say comparatively because CBD products are always expensive and especially so in Japan) – and indeed, this is a brand designed to be sold in mass market channel in order to introduce Japanese consumers to the world of CBD.

MIND PLUS (Japan)

I really loved the packaging design of this CBD multi-balm. Mind Plus CBD + Aroma Lifestyle was launched in 2022 and besides the multi-balm, the range also includes CBD-infused bath salts, a lip balm and scented candles which I forgot to photograph.

Mindplus (2)

Mind Plus

The balm is based on various plant oils (almond oil, olive oil, jojoba oil plus shea butter and similar plant lipids) and scented with a pleasant blend of camomile and lavender essential oils.

COSME TOKYO 2023: #FEMCARE / #FEMTECH

Another major trend at the trade show was feminine/intimate care, showcase by a whole generation of self-confident Japanese indie brands that are moving away from the whole “whitening and tightening” aesthetic which used to characterise the intimate hygiene sector in Japan, and instead place the focus squarely on female wellbeing and pleasure.

I did a bit of research into the Japanese #femtech market (femtech typically refers to digital and non-digital tech, services and products that focus on women’s health, including reproductive health, pre-and post-menopausal care, menstrual care and general female-centered healthcare) and it’s a really dynamic market place at the moment.

Femtech really only became a buzzword a few years ago – this one article I read credited Japanese menstrual care brand Fermata with kick-starting the whole movement: Fermata launched its online store in 2019 and the products became so popular that the brand started selling offline in Roppongi’s design and lifestyle store New Stand Tokyo in 2020. Over the last couple of years numerous domestic period underwear brands have appeared on the market (including launches by several big fashion retailers, such as Uniqlo) and in 2022, the company behind Cosme Tokyo organised the first Japanese Femtech trade show Femtech Tokyo.

And when I checked out the Omiya branch of drugstore market leader Matsumoto Kiyoshi’s new Matsukiyo Lab retail format – Matsukiyo Lab stores focus on healthcare, nutrition and beauty products and services – I noticed that they were selling a wide range of femtech, including the female pleasure toy and intimate care range of domestic brand Iroha Tenga.

These are all strong indicators of a market that is poised to take off. Sure, at the moment it’s still a bit of a niche category – virtually all the femcare/femtech brands that I spoke to at the show sell their products online only – but the category is definitely attracting some major attention.

FI ME KA (Japan)

FI ME KA was launched last year and offers female-focused CBD beauty intersecting with femcare. The brand’s line-up includes two intimate cleansing products (Botanical Intimate Wash and Botanical Intimate Lotion, both scented with lavender and geranium).

Fimeka (2)

Fimeka (1)

There are also two flavoured CBD oils (one for the morning – Sun Blessing flavoured with lemon, lime and mint) and Moon River (Lavender, camomile and lemon for use at night time), a CBD-infused body cream scented with bergamot, rosemary and rose; as well as period underwear.

HANAMISUI (Japan)

Japanese femcare manufacturer Hanamisui had a massive booth at the show and the product display of their Rainbow23 range of personal lubricants (see pic below) was just so eye-catching. These are single-use feminine lubes packaged in slender applicator tubes. Launched in December 2021, with seven different flavours (including un-flavoured ones). Some of the variants contain functional ingredients – there is a self-warming lubricant, for example; others are regular.

Hanamisui (1)

Hanamisui (3)

The range is curently available online only but I would think that a store format like Matsukiyo Lab might stock Hanamisui products in-store in the future. Hanamisui has recently also launched a female-specific supplements range:  Femiosis ( the brand name is a mash-up of the words „feminine“ and „oasis“) offers three nutritional supplements specifically formulated for women – two are available in capsule form, one has a cream texture.

FEMUUU DR GEM (Japan)

Femuuu Dr. Gem was launched a few years ago and their product line-up includes three gemstone-shaped intimate bar soaps that are priced at 2,690 Yen each (foaming net included). Adding a bit of glamour and beauty to the bathroom is always a good thing!

Femuuu (2)

Femuuu (1)

The soaps really look pretty. The brand also offers a vaginal beauty serum (Femuuu Dr. Drop) which is priced at 13,789 Yen for three single-use syringe type applicators – that’s around 33 Euro per application!) and, I was told, is the brand’s best-seller in China. Gorgeously textured cardboard packaging, too.

SEX & BEAUTY / TOMONI (Japan)

Now this is an interesting product range: Sex & Beauty’s line-up includes kegel balls (these are heavy plastic balls you insert into the vagina to train your pelvic floor. You can, of course, also enjoy these balls in other ways: )) and a serum, cream and lotion to make training more efficient and pleasurable.

Tomoni (1)

Tomoni (2)

The Tomoni booth was eye-catching – it really dominated that section of the exhibition hall. Total colour overload so that it took me a while to identify the products I was looking for. I think this range is a great example of the #femcare / #femtech trend that is currently disrupting the intimate care/menstrual care category.

MICOCOCHI (Japan)

Micocochi is Japanese indie brand which was launched only last year and manufactures “CBD for women”.

Micocochi (2)

Micocochi

The brand’s line-up includes a tincture (a CBD oil  with 1000mg designed to be taken orally), a CBD-infused body care oil and the CBD Micocochi Delicate Care Cream (see pic above) which is a moisturising cream that can be used on any chafed or sensitive body areas.

COSME TOKYO 2023: HAIR CARE

DIME HEALTH CARE (Japan)

Japanese manufacturer Dime Health Care specialises in fun, temporary hair colourants. At the trade show, Dime showcased some of its recent launches, like the Color Session One Day Hair Color Wax.

This is a temporary colourant with an innovative cream-wax texture, formulated with moisturising ingredients such as shea butter, beeswax, hyaluronic acid and murumuru butter.The colours are pearlescent pigments rather than bright, shrill colours and the product is scented with a light fruity-floral fragrance. Really pleasant to handle (I tried it out on my hand), the wax can also be used as a styling product. And is easily washed out the next day.

Wax (2)

Wax (1)

I also liked the two new colours in the Cheveux Ensemble Hair Color Treatment range (see pic above) which is a deep conditioning treatment/temporary colourant which is available in nine shades. I don’t know how bright the colours are but this looks like a nice range. You massage the moisturising colour cream to towel-dried hair, leave it on for 10-20 minutes and then rinse it out. Thanks to moisturising ingredients such as horse oil, camellia oil, placenta extract (all typically Japanese ingredients : )), shea butter and collagen, the is coloured and conditioned at the same time.

GOING GREY (Korea)

This is a Korean temporary colourant brand with an uber-stylish pack design. Going Grey’s line-up includes two grey-enhancing shampoos – Shampoo Hi Color corrects yellow-ish grey tones by adding a wash of cool grey colour pigments while Good Bye Hair Loss Shampoo counteracts thinning and weakening hair whilst also boosting grey tones.

Going grey (2)

Going grey (1)

Then there are four wash-out colour treatments – available in Clear Black, Mushroom Brown, Ash Rose and Blue Moon Navy – which deliver a stronger boost of colour (the brand recommends that you wear gloves during application which usually means a full-on hair colourant). And you can mix the colours to create your very own shade. And of course the product range is vegan (a vegan claim seems to be the baseline for new Korean beauty products).

BECON (Korea)

I’ve never had a scalp diagnosis done before so it was interesting to try out Korean brand Becon’s scalp diagnostic tool. First the tool analyses the state of your scalp – it measures moisture and lipid content, pore size, the space between the roots, pigmentation, texture and so on; the software tracks every single detail and if you like, you can also compare the state of your scalp to other users of your age/gender group.

BEcon (1)

BEcon (2)

After the analysis is complete, Becon will formulate scalp and hair care products that are tailored exactly to your scalp’s requirements. Or you can chose from the brand‘s ready-made consumer range (see pic above, top right hand corner). Becon sells its services and products primarily in hair salons and hospitals in Korea, I was told, and they’re now looking for an entry into the Japanese market.

OF BY FOR (Japan)

Of by For also offers customised hair care but without the scientific base of Becon. The brand was launched in 2022 and customers can select their preferred surfactant blend and strength, desired functional ingredients and product scent (you can choose from eight fragrances) as well as the packaging and bottle design (there are almost 20 different styles you can select from).

Of by For (1)

Of by For (2)

I wasn’t able to ascertain how the customisation process works exactly but am willing to bet that you probably order online, selecting your shampoo/conditioner parameters and the brand then manufactures and ships the products to your home address.

MOGANS (Japan)

Mogans is new wellness-inspired hair care brand was launched only a couple of years ago and you don’t even need to read the labels to recognise the brand positioning : ) – green aromatherapy-based shampoos that offer sustainable plant-based beauty to discerning customers who want to feel connected to the earth and the seasons (I’m loosely paraphrasing the brand’s Google Translated-blurb).

Mogans (1)

Mogans

But all jokes aside, this is a nice-looking on-trend brand which offers three different shampoo-and-conditioner duos. Hakuju is scented with sandalwood and hibicus, Kaoru Koromo contains argan oil and raspberry seed oil and comes with a lavender and jasmine scent, and Souka has been formulated with clove oil and licorice root extract and scented with notes of ylang ylang and geranium.

The products are sold online but also offline in, for example, Loft. And I can totally see this brand in similar life-style-ey and design-focused stores, it really is an attractive-looking range.

COSME TOKYO 2023: WELLNESS

Wellness personal care was another major trend at Cosme Tokyo 2023 – and no surprise there, the global wellness trend was disrupting product categories long before the pandemic began. Over the past three years, this trend has skyrocketed even further. And with the looming global economic recession, Ukraine war and other socio-economic and geopolitical upheavals and conflicts, the wellness trend is not going to slow down any time soon.

Vide the many new wellness-positioned launches at the trade fair – from wood-scented laundry detergents over soothing pillow sprays and scented candles (and yes, aromatherapy hair care ranges like Mogans or night-time CBD supplements like Pillow also fall into this category). And while many of the launches that I saw were scented with universally popular fragrance blends, like lavender, camomile or rose, several of the indie home fragrance brands focused on uniquely Japanese scents, like hinoki (Japanese cypress) or even shiso (perilla leaf which is very widely used in Japanese cuisine).

HERBAL 8 (Japan)

Herbal 8 is a new aromatherapy brand from Toyama city in Honshu. Founder Marie Ando creates her own essential oil blends which are available as straight aroma oils or room/textile sprays.

Herbal 8 (2)

Herbal 8 (1)

I sampled several of her fragrances and my absolute favourite was Chapter 1 which is scented with aromatic notes of shiso (and I heart shiso so much!). At the moment, Herbal 8 is still primarily sold online but the company is hoping to find an offline retailer soon. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

MEET TREE (Japan)

Meet Tree is another recently launched aromatherapy-inspied Japanese home fragrance/household product range. The products are scented with Japanese tree fragrances, especially hinoki. Meet Tree was launched in 2021/22 and offers a 15+ sku line-up of hand creams hand soap, body soap, shampoo and conditioner, fabric softener and laundry detergent, two bath salts, fabric spray and room spray and essential oils.

Meet Tree (2)

Meet Tree (1)

All products in the standard range are scented with hinoki (I would love a hinoki-scented laundry detergent!). The bath salts and hand creams are also availble in two other scents, kuromiji (Japanese spicebush) and sugi (Japanese cedar). I really loved this brand.

ABSALON (Japan)

Japanese salon manufacturer Wave Corporation’s portfolio includes a few wellness-inspired product ranges already and last year, the company extended its line-up with abSalon, a sleep-promoting personal care and home fragrance range.

There are three main fragrances – Bellona, Sally and Norwegian – and the line-up includes four personal care products (shampoo, conditioner, liquid hand soap and body soap), three pillow sprays (which can also be used as fabric or room sprays), three scented candles and a scented multi-purpose body/hair/face oil. The range was created to provide a comforting, relaxing home experience from the minute you return home at night.

Absalon

Absalon (2)

There was a little booklet that provided inspiration on how to use the products: You enter your flat in the evening and the first thing you do is wash your hands in the scented hand soap. Then you hang up your jacket and maybe give it a fragrance spritz. Then you have dinner, light the scented candle, have a bath or shower with the shower gel, wash your hair with the shampoo. Then pillow spray again, perhaps a dab of the scented oil and go to sleep.

SHARECO (Taiwan)

ShareCo is a men’s lifestyle, fragrance and personal care brand which was launched around six years ago. Not really a wellness brand but they are fragrance-focused, so….! While most of the ShareCo beauty and perfume products are for men (and product names tend to be a bit „masculine“ – like Venus-Flytrap, Znzrgy-Musk, No-Mercy and Hustler-Waso), there are also some female fragrances and a few unisex scents.

Shareco

Shareco (2)

I really fell for one of their newest launches, Lucid Dreams which is a gorgeous unisex blend of bergamot and lime with lily of the valley, orange blossom and a woodsy, musky base. The other new scent, Black Water, is also lovely.

The beauty line-up includes three reed diffuser oils, scented body washes, shampoos and a face wash as well as ten fragrances. ShareCo also sells men’s clothing basics like t-shirt, shorts and socks. I was most interested in the perfumes which retail for around 52-56 USD per product and will most likely be rolled out to department stores across Japan within the next six months or so.

COSME TOKYO 2023: MAKEUP

There were a number of makeup brands at the show, most of which I either already knew or had written about in other trade show reviews over the past six months. Or they weren’t particularly exciting – K-beauty lipsticks in minimalistic, clean beauty packaging don’t really seem to excite me that much any more : )

However, here are two makeup brands that I really liked.

SPEIO (Taiwan)

It’s always a pleasure to see this Taiwanese makeup brand! Speio Beauty’s newest launches (see pic abopve) are four cheek/lip/face shimmer tints in twist-up pencils form, packaged in Speio’s beautiful signature cardboard packaging. Nice level of shimmer, too, it’s very suitable for daytime wear.

Speio (2)

Speio (4)

However, the upcoming launch that I was particularly excited about is truly innovative: Speio will launch refillable powder and eyeshadow palettes packaged in plain brown cardboard. Now, even in Europe I can only name a handful of makeup brands that offer this kind of refillable pick ‚n mix concept and none come to mind amongst the Asian brands. And in plain brown cardboard packaging too? Interesting!

Speio still has a bit of a niche presence but I was told that they now sell Indonesia and other SEA countries. However, products are still primarily available online.

THE NBP (Japan)

Homme de The N.B.P (an abbreviation of The Nature & Beautiful People) is a rather cool makeup set for men which is packaged in a twistable round plastic tube. Each twist brings another „side“ of makeup to the front.

Homme NBP (2)

Homme NBP (1)

The tube contains a long, rectangular foundation powder pan; two powder eyeshadows and a powder shadow to contour the hairline; a tiny lip brush; and a primer, lip balm and setting powder. The top of the tube is a tiny mirror which you unscrew to reveal a hollow which contains an eyebrow pencil and a sharpener.

I really like the concept (although I’m not 100% sure how larger male fingers will cope with the tiny powder pans and mini brushes) but men’s makeup is always cool and the stylish, minimalistic packaging is very nice indeed.

COSME TOKYO 2023: SKIN CARE

I feel like quite a few of Cosme Tokyo’s usual Japanese exhibitors didn’t attend this year’s show, and a lot of the Korean face care brands that WERE at Cosme Tokyo 2023 I had already posted/written about at Cosmoprof Asia a couple of months ago.

Also, maybe it’s just me that these Korean green/clean/vegan beauty skin care brands are all starting to look quite similar to me; the packaging design is practically interchangeable. Maybe I’m suffering from brand fatigue…. ;  )

But there were a few interesting launches from the Japanese exhibitor contingent.

SPA TREATMENT (Japan)

Wave Corporation is one of the biggest salon beauty brands in Japan and their booth is always interesting. Spa Treatment is one of Wave’s major skin care brands and they’ve been introducing a lot of micro-needle tech-based over the last couple of years.

Spa Treatment (2)

Spa Treatment (1)

The company’s newest launch is the Loose Spicule Pen which is available in conjunction with two of Spa Treatments best-selling mask packs. The micro-needle ingredients are manufactured into tiny sharp granules and suspended in a super hydrating serum that is packaged in a pen. You massage the serum into your face until the spicules dissolve (lightly abrading your skin) and then apply a sheet mask. Because the top layer of the skin has been veeery slightly injured the active ingredients can penetrate more easily (and deeply) into the stratum corneum.

There are two different mask packs – the NMN (Nicotinamide mononucleotide which is synthetised from niacinamide) and HAS which is based on stem cell technology.

SELEIA (Japan)

And Japanese salon brand Seleia’s newest product is Moisture Luxe ST, a moisturising and repairing micro-needle serum packaged in a clickable applicator pen. Unlike Spa Treatment’s self-dissolving micro-needle approach, the Seleia pen has a micro-needle applicator which you place on the skin – the pen can be used where necessary, for example around the eyes or on the nasolabial folds – and then push the bottom part of the pen to release the serum. The applicator will slightly prick the skin allowing the serum to better penetrate the top skin layer.

Seleia (1)

Seleia (2)

One pen contains enough for 400 individual application. The brand estimates that you’ll need 30 clicks to cover the entire face which means that the pen will last around one week. Later this year, Seleia will also launch a similar micro-needle serum pen for use on the scalp – Scalp Luxe ST.

AXXZIA (Japan)

I always enjoy looking at salon brand Axxzia’s new launches which this time around include a new sheet mask variant with marine ingredients. Beauty Force MW, for example, contains some interesting actives, such as as algae plant stem cells and pearl extract as well as sea fennel and beach thistle.

Axxzia (2)

Cosme Tokyo 2023 - Day 2 (49)

And Beauty Force Treatment Mask AG contains brown algae extract, red algae extract, plankton extracts and hexapeptides. There are also two new eye care products, a serum and a cream, to match the brand’s best-selling Eye Sheet Mask. I forgot to take pics of these two products, unfortunately.

——————————————–

Well, that was it from me then. Cosme Tokyo 2024 will take place from 17th to 19th January and I will hopefully also be there. I’ll leave you with a few more images from the show. Thanks for reading.

Cosme Tokyo 2023 - Day 2 (118)

Halls (9)

Halls (8)

Halls (6)

Halls (5)

Halls (4)

 

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Filed under Asia, Industry News, Show Reports, Trade Shows, Travel, Trends

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