At Discover Beauty, emerging brands seek the spotlight – part 1

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

At Discover Beauty, emerging brands seek the spotlight – part 1

Related tags Brand management Brand Discover beauty

Again this year Cosmoprof North America featured a Discover Beauty section where brands eager for distributor partnerships, press attention, investor dollars, or retail deals set up booths and tables to showcase their latest and greatest cosmetics and personal care products.

Cosmetics Design checked in with most of the brands exhibiting in the Discover Beauty section of the show this year, and here, is a survey of the brands and trends that the industry itself is still discovering.

Many of the brands and innovative products mention here speak to the level of nuance needed to succeed in the indie beauty space today. As independent beauty grows, it’s becoming necessary for all emerging brands to evolve more swiftly and more judiciously than indie beauty pioneers did just a few years ago.


Global beauty trends have long held a certain cachet that comes with the wisdom of a time-honored culture. This is true for many countries, but especially for France, Italy, and more lately Korea.

The pūrlisse brand on display at Discover Beauty is heavily influenced by Korean beauty. The California-based company rebranded in 2011 and at this year’s Cosmoprof North America show launched its Blue Lotus Seed Mud Mask + Exfoliant. And while the brand already has a couple sheet masks on the market, there are plans to launch more this fall (with ingredients like charcoal, licorice, green tea, coconut, rice, and ginger). “Sheet masks,”​ Denise Guerrero, the company’s brand manager tells Cosmetics Design, “are key for Asian- and Korean-inspired brands.”

Bioderma, a French brand that has been around for some 40 years, was exhibiting in the Discover Beauty section too. Here in the States the company is best known for its Sensibio H2O, a micellar cleaning water. But, the company has a full portfolio of skin care, body care, after-sun care products, and more. New for the summer, Bioderma launched a bronzer. And as US consumers get more acquainted with the brand, sales here are picking up. But, Jose Penalba, CEO of Amerikas Beauty Distribution Services (the company showing the brand at Cosmoprof), tells Cosmetics Design, moving a European pharmacy brand into the US market, where there is no retail equivalent, has been something of challenge.


Less is more for many beauty consumers these days, from the made-with-out ingredient trend to super simple packaging and design. In the Discover Beauty section at Cosmoprof color cosmetics brands like Ecru New York and Clé were winning in this space.

Ecru New York began as a hair care and styling brand and has only recently launched into makeup. At Cosmoprof, brand development manager Mona El-Chelbi was showing lipsticks and mascaras packaged in stylishly simple black tubes with tonal printing.

Clé is another brand leveraging “the minimalistic look for the modern woman,” ​as Jenna Sugawara, content manager at Clé, tells Cosmetics Design. The company got its start in 2015 and used this year’s Cosmoprof show as a platform for launching for a new highlighter product and a few new lip colors. “Clé is for someone who etches away the unnecessary,” ​according to the brand’s site, which even in the digital age may mean etching away some conventional communication and advertising in favor of more simple methods. Sugawara says she’s planning to launch a Clé zine (a simple handmade publication).

The unisex skin care brand Context also fits in the minimal niche. All Context products come in simple black and white or clear jars, tubes, and bottles. The font in minimal too, each container is printed with very few words in plain capital lettering. The brand launched direct to consumer in 2015 and has been growing steadily ever since, CEO David Arbuthnot tells Cosmetics Design. In fall of 2016 Context added color cosmetics (for lips and nails), and in August Context is launching unisex hair care.


Check back tomorrow for part 2 of 'At Discover Beauty, emerging brands seek the spotlight'​.

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