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CPNA Offered Fertile Hunting Ground for Beauty Breakthoughs

More than 36,000 flocked to Las Vegas looking to place a bet on a winning beauty launch.

The most buzzed-about products at last week’s Cosmoprof North America offer new twists on grooming rituals — especially innovation designed with Millennials in mind.

More than 36,780 attendees prowled the 1,278 exhibitor’s booths at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas for beauty products offering “Instagrammable” moments or those disrupting the status quo.

A few cases in point: macaron-shaped detangling hair brushes and licorice-inspired hair ties from Milk and Sass, along with Preheels, a spray-on skin protectant to halt blisters (a popular spot for those walking the 293,306-square-foot floor).

Cosmoprof North America Is a Big Launch Pad for Beauty Innovations
Preheels help prevent blisters.

Indeed, the yearly gathering is arguably one of the biggest launch pads for forward-thinking items for the global professional trade and the retail market.

Cosmoprof North America remains the best platform for indie or small brands to medium-size brands to gain a competitive edge and create a solid foundation for success,” noted Daniela Ciocan, CPNA’s marketing director. Registration this year was up 9 percent over 2016, according to Ciocan.

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Cosmoprof North America Is a Big Launch Pad for Beauty Innovations
Macaron-shaped hair detangler

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Among the curated specialty areas were Discover Beauty, Discover Green, Tones of Beauty and two new exhibits: Discover Green Leaf for green, eco-friendly, clean, organic and natural items targeted for spa and specialty retail; and Discover Pack for packaging innovations. As always, retailers praised the efficiency of one-on-one “speed dating” meetings held during the show. Retailers attending included HSN, Barneys New York, Kohl’s, Pharmaca, QVC and Amazon. The latter will have special deals on items found at Cosmoprof.

The pulling power of Influencers (who based on the attention they garnered at the show are not going away anytime soon) was evident at an area called Beauty-E Zone where exhibitors could interact with content providers. There was also chatter of how the path to purchase is being altered not only by online, but also direct-to-consumer and social selling.

The tussle among channels for consumers’ purse strings makes the race to be first with new items all the more intense, attendees said. The major trends singled out by retailers, market researchers and influencers included:

The next generation of masks and K-beauty developments:

“We keep looking for ways to make masks better — whether thinner, recyclable or any other new aspects,” said Alice Hyun, director of operations for Tony Moly. The South Korean brand just secured physical store distribution in 25 Macy’s (the brand is also on, Ulta Beauty, Urban Outfitters and specialty stores). Visually fit for social postings, Tony Moly showed masks color coded with different ingredients to be applied in areas based on skin needs.

The show overflowed with new mask options such as silver and gold imbued sheet masks from brands such as Face Simplified and Pure Radiance, masks that bubble, patches for other body parts especially chins and masks that heat up. Kelly Alexandre, senior analyst for Kline, pointed out the fusion of technology and masks as illustrated by Insung Information Co.’s Deep Skin Ionic Skin Care System facial mask. Ingredients are injected through microcurrents into the mask.

Tools Get Smarter: From the Dafni Brush that styles hair in half the time of a straightener to the boldly hued professional tools from Amika called Armory (including a partnership with Swiss dryer maker Valera marking that company’s debut in the U.S.), gadgets have entered a new dimension.

Cosmoprof North America Is a Big Launch Pad for Beauty Innovations
Michael Friend and Lewis Hendler of Michael Todd Beauty.

There is a race to offer better, more effective devices. Michael Todd Beauty, for example, improved upon cleansing brushes with its Soniclear, which offers antimicrobial protection. Sales are up more than 80 percent at Ulta Beauty, prompting the retailer to turn over more space to the lineup that pops with color. Garnering attention was the Total Refresher, a three-system device that exfoliates, extracts debris from pores and sprays a favorite toner to infuse skin. In the pipeline the company teased a makeup mirror that goes beyond magnifying to allow ease of application even for those with vision issues.

Other appliances on display included Pulsaderm’s antiaging, full-face LED mask along with a new line called Retro which is expected to include a social selling aspect. In the “everything old is new again” category was Beauty Tribe’s Jetset Hot Rollers. The MSCO Derma Pure Clinic Skin Iron is an iron for the face said to smooth out the skin, while also improving distribution of serums.

Better-for-You Nails: Water-based formulas and gel items that offer easier removal dominated nail care. O’Nine Beauty Inc.’s Nail Easy is a water-based nail polish that is easy to apply and peels off without remover.

Orly showed off its base coat called Gelfx Easy-Off that helps ease gel removal — cutting the removal time in half. Also, Bodyguard, an all-in-one soak-off gel overlay that strengthens and protects nails.

LeChat kept with the theme of making tried and true more fun with Dare to Wear Mood Nail Polish, replete with color-changing shades now available in cream hues. The polish changes color depending on the wearer’s body temperature — a throwback to polishes popular 30 years ago.

Although not new technology, nail dips were ubiquitous in the nail section and are said to provide long-wear nails in half the time of light activated gels. OPI has an offer called Powder Perfection.

Barry Shields, managing partner with Red Carpet Manicure, said his company’s version called Color Dip performs well at Ulta Beauty and has just debuted on HSN.

Cosmoprof North America Is a Big Launch Pad for Beauty Innovations
Static Nails

Nail color sales are still languishing, but reusable pop off nails from Static Nail are growing and gaining new distribution. Company founder Alexis Irene said her distribution expanded to include Lulus along with Urban Outfitters, Sephora and She’ll release a new collection next month with fresh colors and effects.

Exotic Places Without Airplane Pain: Pili Ani, a new five-piece collection with ingredients from Pili trees native to the Philippines caught the attention of one retailer, who said it will make for great story telling.

OPI, known for cutting edge color arrays, has a new collection of colors inspired by Iceland, one of the fastest growing travel destinations.

Dermasuri, a line of exfoliating rice-based products, also ushers Eastern skin care rituals to the Western culture and caught the eye of one mass market retailer.

Cleansing Is the New Cult: With younger consumers trying out more makeup techniques, there is greater need to ensure proper removal of all of their experimentation. K-beauty trends have also encouraged multistep cleansing regimens. Several companies displayed whimsical ways to get younger shoppers taking it all off. A few prime examples: Feather & Bone’s Face Gems, portable table facial cleansers made from natural ingredients that dissolve into a paste when water is added and unique cleansing jellies from Englewood Lab created to make cleansing fun.

Hair Care Segmented by Need: The exhibit floor overflowed with vitamins and hair care to help the follicle challenged, who are said to total at least 80 million men and women combined. The winner of the Discover Pro award this year, selected by attendees, was Evox Hair Rejuvenation, an in-salon services that deposits and reinforces cells responsible for the production of essential nutrients for hair to fight the aging process.

Cosmoprof North America Is a Big Launch Pad for Beauty Innovations
Flawless by Gabrielle Union

There has been a seismic shift in how hair purchasing decisions are made. No longer by condition or ethnicity, consumers seek formulas produced for the texture of hair. That’s been key to the success of Flawless by Gabrielle Union (from Macademia Professional). A limited-edition hair fragrance is in the works. Even hair tools are now featuring settings based on texture, one buyer said.

Truhair has Color & Lift, which not only matches hair color, instantly covering gray, but also does double-duty filling in sparse or thinning spots on the scalp.

Color Wars: With color cosmetics posting big gains – NPD said first quarter prestige color volume jumped 4 percent to $4 billion – more retailers want in on the action. Frequently mentioned were expansion programs with powers such as Ulta Beauty and Sephora, but also non-traditional beauty purveyors including Urban Outfitters and Forever 21 (and its new beauty concept Riley Rose).

The color craze is spilling over into professional doors including Sally Beauty, where Ardell is launching a new color collection. That joins Palladio, the largest at Sally, and a new collaboration in the works from private label producer Maesa that will be curated by influencers.

The Growing Spending Power of Men: Men are buying their own items and several brands took to the floor to offer men’s grooming services. Blind Barber now has products inspired by its salons in New York and Los Angeles. Hue for Every Man seeks to satisfy the specific needs of multicultural gentlemen.

Natural Is Mainstream:

Indie Lee created her brand out of concern for caustic ingredients. She was embraced at CPNA verifying she’s not only in the quest for natural. “You don’t need to sacrifice style for clean. Retailers are creating spaces for these brands which says to me it isn’t a trend, it is going mainstream,” Lee said. She was on the hunt for new packaging to keep her line fresh.

Customization: Doucce allows customers to create a personalized palette picking from 100 eye shadows, six highlighters and 14 blush colors which can be put into a magnetic container for $65.

Expansion: As the positive reputation of its shows continues to spread, Cosmoprof Bologna will expand into new markets including Columbia and India over the next two years.