Cassandra went undercover at one of The Beauty Industry’s largest exhibitions, CosmoProf, to find out how beauty trends are made!
This conference is primarily where beauty brands get ideas from, and it’s where beauty brands are built. The beauty industry is one of the most profitable beauty industries out there, and it’s worth almost 430 billion dollars! Beauty products are also expensive, even if they don’t seem to be. Did you know that skincare and beauty products have a considerable markup? Some products are marked up 10x, 20x, or even 50x of what it costs to make them ( their cost of production). So, if something cost $2 to produce, it might sell for $20 or way more! That's why Cassandra decided to explore CosmoProf -- to what truly makes a brand worth the money from not only the branding side, but the supply chain side.
What is CosmoProf?
CosmoProf is a beauty distributor and wholesaler. It has been around since 1967, and the brand as well as the conferences started in Italy. But, in 2003, they came to North America. From there, the conference became an epicenter for building brands and bringing the beauty industry together to establish trends.
11 years ago, Cassandra spoke at a CosmoProf conference about content creation. Since Cassandra last spoke at the conference, the content creation industry has exploded, especially in the last 5 years. However, the conference has changed the people who are in charge, so Cassandra wasn’t invited this time. Plus, the tickets were sold out. She also didn’t have connections with anyone working at the conference. So, it wasn’t easy for her to get in. Fortunately, she knew a few brands that were going to be there as exhibitors.
She was able to get an exhibitor’s badge, and thankfully, she was able to investigate and explore. She wanted to get the scoop on where beauty trends are headed. So, in the next few years, you can see what kind of brands are trying to help us, and which brands are trying to manipulate and overcharge us.
Upon arriving at the conference, there were definitely questionable characters. But, some people were absolutely brilliant. There were chemists, doctors, and people who understood both the beauty industry and how skincare works on our bodies. She also got to meet people who have created some of the world’s biggest brands, including the celebrity brands. In this blog, we’ll discuss what these brand founders see as their biggest challenges, and most importantly, we’ll cover the next big trends.
The biggest challenges for skincare brands
When Cassandra asked brand founders about this, they said the biggest challenge was competition. Experiment and science-based brands have a hard time competing with trendy and flashy celebrity-backed brands. Oftentimes, Celebrity brands do not have much science to support them. They often pull claims out of thin air. But nevertheless, they perform well because they’re appear more interesting, fun, and experience-driven to consumers. Even though there is a wide array of potent, science-driven skincare, it’s not as emotive or flashy when compared to celebrity skincare lines.
Another challenge brands are facing is how to successfully convey what works and what doesn’t to consumers. At CosmoProf, many brands spoke on the challenging of marketing to confused consumers. This is largely due to the oversaturation of the skincare market. Because there are so many options, so many approaches, and so many messages being sent to consumers about “good skincare,” sticking with a brand is a challenge for them. Likewise, customer retention becomes an issue.
What are the upcoming beauty trends?
Moisturizers and masks
Cassandra noticed that so many different brands are trying to launch masks or moisturizers. At the conference, it seemed like every single brand was trying to promote a new moisturizer or face mask.
The other focus was definitely celebrity brands. So, many different brands spoke about the ideal celebrity or influencer they’d want to promote their product.
A lot of brands want traditional celebrities such as socialites, pop stars, and TV stars to back their products. Amid over-saturation and social media’s takeover, brands seem very pressed to attract attention and stand out . Brands have been consistently investing their resources in being eye-catching and sensational. And truthfully, it’s for those reasons that Cassandra is not a fan of celebrity skincare. What about primarily investing in results?
Purpose-driven brands with Indie Roots
This Indie section is normally where brands get their start. Even Drunk Elephant started as an Indie brand. At CosmoProf, there was a section for Indie brands called "Discover Beauty." Indie brands don’t have a very big backing or celebrity endorsements. But, they are mostly founded by people with passion who want to impact the beauty industry in a meaningful way. For instance, Cassandra met one founder who had amazing products, but Cassandra wondered why they weren’t going more viral. The founder Cassandra met has a brand called Global Beauty Secrets.
The founder loves to travel, and while she was traveling, she experienced different beauty rituals. She wanted to share them with the world whilst being cognizant of cultural appropriation. So, she did things like partner with an expert from Japan to bring Geisha culture to life. She also makes candles based on different cultures, and the wax can be used as a moisturizer or body balm. Cassandra thought this was so innovative. This founder appreciates and works with experts in different parts of the world to bring different cultures to life! But, not only were her products trendy, they had the science to back them up.
Green skincare and green processes
Cassandra met someone named Sandra who owns a small beauty retailer, and one of her biggest concerns was recycling. Her reason for being at CosmoProf was to understand what happens to beauty products after they’re done. Her website allows people to send their empty containers to be refilled, and many brands seemed attracted to this. They wanted to know how customers can consume products with less of an impact on the planet.
However, the main reason this trend has not picked up momentum is because of the cost. Even Sandra spoke about something called “minimum order quantities.” In layman’s terms, this is where you have to provide a certain amount of products to a retail buyer for your brand to make a good profit in a store. For example, at Sephora, you might easily have to provide thousands to fifty thousand units. But, minimum order quantities put the focus on producing a high volume of products. So, the idea of reducing consumption for the sake of sustainability definitely takes a back seat.
This is one of the biggest challenges that the Beauty Industry needs to tackle. There were definitely brand owners at CosmoProf who were making waves by presenting ways to recycle, reuse, and refill. So, Cassandra hopes methods of reducing consumption will become a trend. We need to see this more widespread because the environment needs it.
Likewise, Cassandra hopes that the beauty industry reduces the excess of celebrity products. She also hopes that there’s an increase in brands created by passionate, purpose-driven, and dedicated founders. She hopes we can cut down on creating in bulk. Perhaps in the future, brands can invest in creating batches of skincare and only create what’s pre-ordered . Hopefully, people will want to reduce, and consumers will feel incentivized to return their empty bottles or use them for other things.
Based on this, Cassandra can’t wait to see what trends are next, and she hopes to see many of the ones she saw at CosmoProf circulating on Instagram by next year!