I should start this post about the fifteenth annual Cosmoprof North America trade show in Las Vegas (9–11 July 2017) by explaining that I am not a beauty industry person. I mean, I run this blog and I write freelance articles about beauty products, but I don’t make beauty products, I don’t buy them for stores, and I don’t really care about beauty from a business perspective (with a few exceptions). I’ve never attended a professional trade show or taken courses relating to how the business world works (aside from some research on how people in Renaissance Italy conducted trade, but that’s not going to help much here).
As a result, my perspective is that of someone almost completely unsure of how trade shows work and not interested in buying, selling, or even really networking unless I’m into a brand or product. If you’re a pro, this probably isn’t the show report for you. If you’ve never been to a beauty trade show or don’t know what a beauty trade show is, HELLO this is the through-the-eyes-of-a-total-beginner report that might be able to show you what it’s like.
Also, I’m giving away a pile of extra press samples I received at Cosmoprof at the end of the post, so there’s that!
What is Cosmoprof North America 2017?
Cosmoprof is a B2B trade show. B2B means business-to-business. So it’s a trade show where beauty businesses come together to…do business lol. Unlike Beautycon, it’s not meant for fans of beauty who don’t work in the industry — there aren’t many beauty celebs around tbh, and it’s not super…fun unless you’re a beauty nerd and like to see the business/behind-the-scenes side.
There were two activities that I think could be fun for just about anyone. One was the Boutique, an area where you pay $10 to select seven deluxe samples to make your own custom beauty box. Brands actually pay for the right to give Cosmoprof those samples, and the $10 donation goes to a charity. The other fun thing I did was donate $20 to the same charity, I think, to get a pro manicure using LVX nail polish. I signed up for a session the afternoon of the first day, which was awesome because I was renewing my wedding vows (Elvis served as the officiant) that night, so I had nice nails and got to experience a cool show feature.
Otherwise, it’s acres and acres of booths. There are sections that highlight sectors of beauty such as green beauty, Tones of Beauty (multicultural beauty), new exhibitors, Korean companies, etc.
This year, 1,282 exhibitors from lots of countries participated in the show. The show is held in Mandalay Bay’s massive exhibit space, and it took up 275,405 square feet. What kills me is that the North American show is vastly smaller than the Hong Kong and certainly the Bologna Cosmoprofs. I can’t even fathom…
Wonderwall a machine pressing foundation.
How I was able to go
Word on the street is that Cosmoprof used to give lots of press passes to bloggers and journalists, but they clamped down for 2017 (a press release says that there were 250+ domestic and international press representatives this year). Although I’m a freelance journalist, I didn’t want to get my editor involved in trying to get me a press pass (since I wasn’t sure if I’d end up pitching a story related to the show), so I applied as a blogger. In order to attend, I had to submit a PDF of my Google Analytics stats showing my total number of monthly unique users and pageviews and fill out a press pass request form. For reference, my blog is more than three years old, had something like 150,000 pageviews per month when I applied, and other sites have written about it, so it’s not like it’s new and unknown.
I initially sent an email per the show instructions several months out, but was told to submit a form when following up about my request about a month before the show. My application was approved very soon after submitting the request, so my advice would be to set a calendar reminder about following up if the procedure is the same next year. I also found a Cosmoprof Facebook group invaluable for keeping up with developments and events.
I’m self-employed as far as my beauty work, so I paid for my own airfare, hotel, etc. All of this can be written off on my taxes, but it adds up. I also researched a story for Racked (unrelated to Cosmoprof) while in Las Vegas, so I felt less dumb about blowing the money to go. I initially booked a really nice hotel, but switched to one that was $1,000 cheaper for the four nights in order to save money for a real vacation. I’m glad I did that because this was not a real vacation omfg. I was exhausted the whole time, in part due to the time change, in part due to walking way more than 10K steps per day without even trying to. For me, Vegas is probably always going to suck, so why splash out?
If you want to apply to attend the show next year and want to talk through logistics, DM me on IG or something (I’m terrible at email). I don’t know much at all, but I’m learning more as I go.
When I got back to my desk, I realized that a bunch of the brands I met had emailed me in the last few months to try to send press samples, so I’m just not that convinced that attending the convention is necessary for people like me who are closer to the amateur side.
Cosmoprof North America 2017 Show Report: what I learned
OEM/ODM/private label/turnkey: how a lot of stuff actually gets made
I walked away from the show wishing I owned a beauty brand because there are SO MANY companies doing amazing work that we customers never see. For example, if you have a pile of cash, you could just get a company to make a sheet mask for you. You’d need to order thousands, but ayy, your own sheet mask! Some companies slap your brand name on finished products and some customize them extensively for you. But the lesson here is that virtually anything can be done if you have the $$$. You don’t need to have your own factory or even an original idea. You just need money.
Korea is still where it’s at (at least for me)
Getting to see a ton of beauty products all in one place really reignited my love of kbeauty. Although I’m skeptical about how long the kbeauty trend can stay on top, to me, the Korean brands and manufacturers were vastly more interesting than most of what I saw from elsewhere. It may be that I’m kbeauty biased, but I went in thinking that I’d keep marching away from kbeauty. In reality, I’m excited about it again now that I’ve talked directly with brands that make cool stuff.
Cosmoprof North America 2017 Show Report: my exhibitor highlights
Ladies Nature Biotech is a company based in Hong Kong and Oregon (all products are manufactured in Oregon) that develops and manufactures skincare products and devices for other companies. This melting silk capsule mask blew my mind. You pop the top of the capsule, which releases a liquid that melts the silk fluff in the main chamber. Once the silk has melted, you spread the silk gel onto your skin and leave it for 30 minutes before rinsing it off. The product is supposed to help with tightening. They had a bunch of other really interesting products like pastel rainbow little pouch masks and travel-friendly cleansing balls. There’s no way to buy the products from them directly, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see these products come to market in some form soon.
I saw the Honey Baby Naturals in the Tones of Beauty section (devoted to “multicultural beauty products”) of the show and immediately went heart eyes. It’s a hair care and skincare line that a mom developed to care for her kids’ textured hair and baby skin. The haircare packaging is amazing: it looks like honey squeeze bottles. The smell is divine. The ingredients look fantastic. The shampoo is sulfate-free and the products contain ingredients such as honey, coconut oil, shea butter, moringa oil, and silk protein.
Despite dragging home a suitcase filled with 27 pounds of beauty products, I hopped over to Naturally Curly to buy the Honeychild Moisture & Scalp Balance Gentle Shampoo and Honey Sweet Softening Conditioner. On first glance, it might seem like an unorthodox buy for an adult with straight hair, but Honey Baby says that the products can be used on any hair type — and my super color-treated hair and grouchy scalp could use some pampering. My order arrived yesterday and I tried the products last night. The shampoo is great — it has low suds, so my hair and scalp really liked it. The conditioner was good, but I think my damaged hair needs more slip at the end of my washing routine, so I’m going to buy the detangler or hair smoothie next time I’m placing a Target order.
I met Papa Recipe‘s parent company, Costory! I love Papa Recipe’s Bombee original masks (easy to buy on Amazon already — I buy from the seller called Papa Recipe), and they gave me a ton of different products to try from their newer lines.
Mustus is a new sheet mask line that uses uncoated, recycled kraft paper packaging. INGA is a makeup, cleansing, and tool brand. dressing82 is a new dermocosmetics line mostly focused on mild peeling products right now.
O.R.G Skincare is a kbeauty/kbeauty-inspired brand with a multi-tasking focus. The Mineral Peel Face is like a gommage peel, except you start the process by spraying the very thin formula onto your skin instead of rubbing in a gel. The Oxygen Cleanser bubbles up on contact with skin (unlike oxygen masks, you can rinse it off after 30 seconds) to cleanse and brighten.
I ran into Dr. G at the show — I’ve known their US distributor for a long time, but I haven’t really used many Dr.G products, so they gave me some to try, including the peeling gel. I’m especially curious about the Derma Dr. Lab line that’s sold at Walmart (at lower prices).
While at Cosmoprof, I met Mishe Beauty, a new site that serves as one of Whamisa’s distributors. They gave me a bunch of products to try, including the low-pH feminine cleanser, which I’ve been using on my face lol (why not? same ingredients). Their line-up includes the newly released peeling finger mitts in Organic Flowers, Organic Seeds, and Organic Fruits.
Identipak is a company that makes sample foils for brands. Their specialty is die cut samples that look like the full-size packaging. Their smallest run is 25,000 pieces, so uhh if you have a giant brand, this might be an option for you lol.
HnB has a patent for colorful biocellulose masks. They’re not on the market right now because their company exists to make the masks for brands that want colorful biocellulose masks. As someone who wants to buy colorful biocellulose masks, GET ON THAT, BRANDS!
I selected the Define Me oil fragrance in Sofia Isabel for my self-curated beauty box, and I was really pleasantly surprised by the scent (I hate 90% of the fragrances I try). The fragrance has notes of mandarin, black currant, jasmine, and sugar. It’s kind of in the Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy/YSL Mon Paris zone except a bit more interesting and less straightforward, I think? It’s a bit on the young side for me, but that’s the case with everything fun, so fuck it, I’m wearing this. I didn’t actually talk to this brand at Cosmoprof, but I’m adding their sampler at Ulta to my wishlist.
Would I Go Again?
Ehh, I’m honestly not sure. So here’s the deal: if I want press samples, I can open my email inbox and say yes to things. My sense is that people who have followings big enough to qualify for a CPNA press pass have followings big enough to get sample products for review simply by existing, no need to blow money on travel and overpriced, bad Vegas food.
If you’re thinking about blogging as a profession and want to really network with brands face-to-face, hang out with other bloggers, and get to see the industry from another angle, this show would be totally worth seeing.
This was my first visit to Vegas and I really can’t stand the place, my skin went wild, my sinuses are still fucked from all the smoke, and I’m going to be chained to the elliptical to burn off all the delicious steak (and dessert and bread and cheese and and and).
I loved seeing my friends and I like that I got away from NYC in a way that allows for a tax write-off, but this was absolutely not a vacation.
Giveaway (Worldwide, ends July 27)
I have a bunch of stuff from the show that’s either duplicates from brands or things I can’t use on my skin due to me-specific ingredient sensitivities. One winner will win the following:
- From Goodal USA (courtesy of Club Clio USA/DK Beauty)
- Whamisa (courtesy of Mishe Beauty)
- My Skin Mentor Dr. G Beauty USA (courtesy of DK Beauty)
- Mustus (courtesy of Costory)
- Healing Bird USA (courtesy of Club Clio USA/DK Beauty)
- Juniper & Vetiver perfume
- samples of varying sizes from Goodal USA, My Skin Mentor Dr. G Beauty USA, Yaddah (courtesy of USA Cosmetics), 107OneOSeven.
T&C: This giveaway is sponsored by fanserviced-b and open to skincare fans worldwide, who live in a country to which the USPS ships regular mail (99.99% of all countries). Entrants must be 18 years of age or older, or must have the express permission of a parent or legal guardian to enter and receive the prize. Entries will be verified. There will be a total of one prize and one winner: one winner of the Cosmoprof North America Goodies set. Any Customs charges or taxes charged by the winner’s home country are not the responsibility of fanserviced-b. fanserviced-b is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes. I will notify the winner within 24 hours of the contest close. The prize winner will have 36 hours to contact me to let me know that they accept the prize. If the winner does not contact me within 36 hours, the winning entry is void and I will draw another winner. This giveaway is void where prohibited.
Disclosure: I received these product at no charge while attending Cosmoprof. This post contains affiliate links. Clicking those links before you shop means that fan-b receives a small commission, which helps to support the blog. Please see my full disclosure for more information.