Sustainable beauty takes on multiple formats

Most of the key trends spotted amongst the finished beauty products at Cosmoprof Bologna this year are related to sustainable, eco-friendly and climate-conscious lifestyles. This mega-trend has been gathering pace during the pandemic and is growing stronger and more inclusive every year. As a result plastic-free and zero waste brand concepts were visible everywhere on the show floor, as were water-conscious products in various iterations. Let’s also note that vegan has become the norm for newcomer brands, especially those from the clean beauty and organic space.

Solid hair and body care formats have been dominating beauty launches in recent years. However, many of the new bath and body care solids presented at the show had little to do with the classic square shampoo or shower bars, as newcomer and indie brands are coming up with ever more sophisticated product formulae and designs.

Organic Korean beauty brand Urang Natural’s new Moringa Healthy Scalp Shampoo Bar, for example, has been formulated with soap noodles which help generate an extra creamy foam, and with moringa extract for scalp-conditioning. The ovoid shape of the solid shampoo is comfortable to grip with wet hands and its rough surface lathers up quickly. Similarly, the Lithuanian solid beauty brand Solidu Cosmetics uses processed plant oils as a base in its Thyme Body Butter (rather than the more commonly used shea butter or cocoa butter) so the easy-grip hexagonally-shaped body moisturizer melts quickly into the skin without leaving it sticky.

There was also a wave of solid face care launches at the show. Depending on their positioning, brands are marketing solid face care sticks as plastic-free/reduced packaging alternatives or as more convenient, fun and travel-friendly products. Korean beauty brand Cetena introduced several twist-up facial moisturizers including a Multi Balm formulated with avocado oil and macadamia oil. Fellow K-beauty brand Lovbod presented its new Dark Spots brightening stick formulated with soothing bisabolol and sweet almond oil to hydrate and lighten discoloured skin patches, while Canada’s Attitude launched several solid face and body care ranges, including an entire line of cardboard-packaged sun care sticks with mineral filters.

As dry products are much lighter, need less packaging and generate a lower CO2 footprint in terms of manufacturing and shipping, anhydrous beauty products - in the shape of tablets, powders or flakes - were also highly popular at the show. They also supply a fun DIY touch as they are designed to be reconstituted with water by the consumer at home.

Lebanese brand Beesline received one of the show’s Awards for its new Deodorizing Roll-On, a vegan deodorant tablet that turns into a liquid deodorant formula once dissolved in water. Organic beauty brand Ben & Anna from Germany, who originally started out with baking soda deodorants, has launched a compressed soap tablet available in two fragrance variants which can be used to create liquid hand soaps.

Zero-waste also continued to be a popular concept in both product packaging and ingredients/formulations, with more and more brands using upcycled or rescued food waste ingredients.

Vegan UK brand Upcircle Beauty was one of the first European body care brands to utilize food industry waste ingredients in its products - the company started out with bath and body care formulated with upcycled coffee grounds. Today Upcircle Beauty also uses other food waste by-products: the brand’s recent hand wash and body lotion duo launch contains upcycled bergamot and kiwi fruit waters. And fellow British indie brand Fruu Cosmetics formulates its 40-sku range of solid hair, skin and body care products with food industry wastes such as fruit skins, pulp, juices and extracts.

Transparency and regional pride fuel ingredient localism

Brands also continued to highlight key ingredients in their products especially when sourced locally, combining transparency in terms of ingredients sourcing with localism and a pride in regional/national heritage.

Swiss newcomer brand Chiara Zurich’s 6-sku face care range is based on glacier water which is sourced from the Titlis mountain near Lucerne where the brand’s founder comes from. Korean indie brand Sioris’ recently launched The Only One gel-textured facial essence, which is based on Korean bellflower extract. Similarly, Danish organic company Unique’s latest brand launch — vegan, gender-free face, body and hair care line Beauhe:it — contains a whole range of typically Scandinavian plant ingredients. Eventually, let’s mention Irish brand Green Angel’s new Hyaluronic Spheres Serum, which has been formulated with locally collected seaweed and algae extracts.

This sharpened focus on ingredients can be traced back to the functional beauty trend which was also playing a major role at the show. Many brands presented active ingredients in the shape of intensive serums and ampoules. Classic actives like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, retinol or niacinamide were especially visible in the ranges of brands such as Turkey’s The Purest Solutions or UK’s Nature Spell. However, there were also a number of brands highlighting pro-biotics and ferments as their key functional active, like South African brand Esse’s Probiotic Serum.

Tech boosts customization

Personalisation continues to be a key source of innovation in beauty, in particular in categories such as face care. Cosmoprof Bologna 2022 featured a number of exhibitors showcasing different angles on product personalization. DIY concepts like active ingredients in serum/booster form to tweak beauty products or brands offering a neutral base cream plus suitable actives to customize a face cream are still popular. However, the advent of smart tech, digitalisation and DNA beauty is opening entirely new possibilities for consumers and brands alike.

Spanish brand Lesielle’s Adaptive Skin Care concept includes a small machine that mixes individual portions of skin care by combining actives with a base cream. Swiss beauty tech manufacturer Réduit received one of the Cosmoprof Awards for its new Booster, an AI-driven hand-held applicator for creams and lotions that promises more efficient ingredients delivery. Eventually, Genetica 23 from Italy offers personalized cosmetics based on DNA analysis, a detailed face scan analysis and comprehensive questionnaire.