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Standout brands from Cosmoprof North America

The proliferation of indie brands has raised consumer expectations in terms of what they expect from their beauty products, including sustainability, natural ingredients, transparency and innovation. Due to this explosion, mass retailers are feeling the pressure to think outside the box and procure brands that deliver true innovation.

Enter Cosmoprof North America, the largest beauty trade fair in North America, held late July in Las Vegas. This year, the show featured more than 1,415 exhibitors, up 10% from 2017 levels, according to the event’s sponsors.

While Cosmoprof always offers a look across the entire spectrum of beauty products, many industry observers said this year’s event focused on some key sections that were previously overlooked.

For example, the men’s grooming segment was extremely visible at the event and suppliers were quick to point out the opportunity for retailers from this category. “Men’s grooming had been a stepchild in the beauty space. We want to change that. Our brand is working to make the category look better,” said Jessica Estrada, CEO of men’s grooming brand Hue For Every Man.

Color cosmetics, which has seen challenges in mass, was another segment that received a lot of attention at the show. The category is seeing innovation from companies that are differentiating themselves from legacy brands. “My objectives are more innovation, more frequent innovation, category extensions, digital first and real strategic distribution expansion,” said Shawn Haynes, CEO of makeup brand Palladio Beauty.

Such brands as Daily Concepts, a maker of spa tools, have created products with lower price points to meet the needs of millennials, a key beauty demographic. “AfterSpa is the new sister line to Daily Concepts for the younger, more price-conscious consumer,” said Emilio Smeke, CEO of Daily Concepts, adding that the quality still is there through its new jade rollers, makeup remover cloths and facial micro scrubbers.

Of course, the event showed that digitally savvy brands are rising to the top. Rocky Mountain Barber, a men’s grooming line inspired by the outdoors and formulated with natural ingredients, leverages its social media prowess when having retailer meetings. “Brands need to show retailers they have a loyal social following with positive online reviews,” said Mike Marchionda, a partner and co-founder of the company. “Some retailers will value this, others won’t. The retailers who get this are the ones who are going to be in business 10, 20, 30 years down the road.”

Here are some of the most innovative brands seen at Cosmoprof that mass retailers should be exploring:
Palladio Beauty’s ingredient story is what makes the color brand so interesting. Formulas are saturated with such antioxidants as vitamins A, C, D and E, as well as such powerful botanicals as anti-inflammatory green tea, soothing aloe and energizing ginseng. “A strong point of difference is key to this very competitive space,” CEO Haynes said. “Plus, you cannot underestimate the power of a solid social media presence. Our authentic connections with influencers, like the collaboration we did with Casey Holmes, has been paramount in spiking the attention of the brand.”

Traveling in style and pampering at home have never been bigger in beauty. The Vintage Cosmetic Company has created outstanding packaging that elevates DIY to a whole new level, said Clare Tarry, commercial director and co-founder at the London-based company. “Feminine and floral packaging enhance everyday tools,” she said, such as Slanted Tweezers, a 4 Way Nail Buffer, a Duo Pencil Sharpener, Brow Scissors and Rose Gold Nail Scissors. Launched seven years ago, the U.K.-based company has prices ranging from $5 to $35 and has collaborated on items with retailers, including Wegmans and Ulta Beauty. “We’re partnering with Wegmans on two makeup headbands that hold back the hair when washing your face or applying makeup,” Tarry said.

Australian brand Full Brow Cosmetics’ formulas are manufactured in Europe and infused with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Full Brow consists of 11 items, exclusively for the eye area.

“We are everything brow, and not a lot of companies can say that,” said founder Marie-Noelle Dragutin. One of the newest items is Brow Fibre, designed to “add volume, coverage and keep brows in place.” Dragutin said the company uses rich pigments to cover grey hair and the product holds brows in place with light gel finish. She also said that though retailers initially are drawn to the company’s branding, “It’s our high-end formulas, focused product line and brand ethos that converts them.”

After Spa was a solution to offer high-end items to younger consumers at a more affordable price point.

“I wanted to create an affordable line designed with the intention of bringing that spa feeling we all know and love directly to the home,” said founder Emilio Smeke, who also created Daily Concepts six years ago. Prices range from $4 to $12 and include a Jade Facial Roller, Hydrating and Revitalizing Konjac Sponge and a Magic Makeup Remover, which removes makeup with just the addition of water.

Glossy Pops was one of the most popular booths at Cosmoprof with its nostalgic lollipop design mixed with a premium 2-in-1 product. “We’re constantly following current trends and strive to be the next big cult beauty product on the market with our unique design. Our other unique selling point is that we are a non-gender-specific brand, offering products that are fully inclusive, which makes us stand out from the crowd,” said a Glossy Pops spokesperson. “We’re also developing a makeup line with a lipstick and lipliner duo in 13 gorgeous shades in our Chrome and Hell For Leather collections.”

Hue For Every Man is one of the latest men’s grooming brands to shake up the category. “I think what intrigues retailers about Hue For Every Man is that our product offering is for a demographic that, in the past, has typically been underserved. Now that the makeup industry has verified the multicultural space as a viable lane, I think retailers are curious to see if the men’s multicultural market has been underserved or overlooked,” CEO Estrada said. “Our products are specifically formulated for diverse hair and skin types. This is a huge demographic, and until now, there hasn’t been a brand that caters to their needs.”

The brand recently entered Target, a milestone that officials said proves mass retailers are thinking differently from how they did just one year ago. “I never thought that as a small niche brand that we could be in Target, but we launched there last week,” Estrada said. “In my opinion, retailers have a better understanding that a small niche brand could be the next big thing, and are more willing to work with emerging brands.”

Melanie Mills Hollywood has an assortment of Loose Shimmer Body Dusts, as well as glimmering body creams. “Not only are my products beautiful and elegant, but they are vegan, cruelty-free, multipurpose and multicultural,” said Mills. The Gleam Body Radiance retails for $42 and serves as “makeup to even out discolorations, as well as a moisturizer with natural oils and botanicals. It also can be used as a primer to mix with foundations,” she said, noting that there are six shades of Gleam to serve a range of skin tones.

Le Chat Nails has some of the hottest lacquers in the beauty game, and their latest launches pull no punches in setting trends and meeting consumers’ fast-fashion demands. Launching in September are two collections, including Color Me Autumn, an assortment “inspired by the changing leaves in fall, featuring
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