Attendees to Cosmoprof North America Miami bet big on skin care during the event’s inaugural meeting held from January 23 through January 25 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

“Several themes caught our attention,” said Ashley Helgans, Equity Analyst for Jefferies. “Beauty remains resilient, fragrance is becoming an active ingredients tool, and brands are shifting their focus to Gen Alpha shoppers who prioritize packaging and presentation.”

The tradeshow, an addition to Cosmoprof’s established fair in Las Vegas (held every July), attracted approximately 19,000 visitors and 700 exhibitors representing 113 countries. Close to 60% of exhibitors were new to North America, including a large contingent of South American attendees.

Retailers represented included executives from Belk, C.O. Bigelow, HSN, Ulta Beauty, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Olivela, Target, Thirteen Lune, and Sally Beauty.

“It was great to see several key retailers participate in this show. Brands are very excited when they see these major retailers on the floor and stopping at booths to learn more about their brands. I always enjoy seeing the Discover Beauty section and walking that area and meeting with new brands and hearing their founder stories and goals for the retail channel,” said Scott Viola, President of Specialty Beauty/ retail for The Kirschner Group.

More than just about any other beauty category, skin care generated the most buzz from attendees on the exhibit floor, as well as in educational presentations. The segment continues to be one of the strongest in beauty, with Circana reporting skin care sales up 14% in prestige and 11% in mass in 2023. Skin care was the fastest growing beauty category in units for the year—meaning gains aren’t coming from higher prices.

Skin care brands drawing the most attention are the ones with professional roots, i.e., brands by dermatologists that are clinically tested and often sold in professional doors.

“The professional beauty space has been a really fascinating space to be part of recently,” said Nicole Musco, Director of Global Product Development for Jane Iredale, which is sold in more than 4,000 professional partners in the U.S. She cites myriad reasons, including the increase in skin sensitivity, which often comes with the need for professional advice, as well as a more educated consumer, and increased accessibility in the professional space.

“This [professional] is the place to be for brands. Consumers are inclined to try products/services recommended professionally to them based on their individual needs, and it is a much more controlled environment when it comes to information sharing and selling than a typical retail environment of beauty products,” she said.

One distributor sized up the appeal of professional. “There are only so many Ultas, Sephoras, Targets, or Walmarts in the world and if you are not in there, the professional channel is the way to go. It is the niche that the professional channel has carved out and consumers are looking for high-end products to distinguish themselves further.”

All of those factors are fueling the growth of the professional channel, according to Karen Doskow, Beauty and Wellness Director for Kline. One of the implications of the expansion of outlets, such as salons, aesthetic physicians, spas, and multi-site chains is opportunities for brands.

“Social media plays a huge role in heightened consumer interest in professional products and services. From influencers on TikTok to professional derms and aestheticians on IG, consumers are gravitating toward results-oriented products like never before,” said Doskow. “Not only can professional brands compete via harnessing social media, but the proliferation of outlets from salons to medical spas to facial bars offering these products has multiplied like never before. Do not forget e-commerce, which plays a huge role in salon hair care products.”

In addition to professional grade brands, other standout skin care trends included K-beauty, sunscreens, sustainable packages, and ingredients such as mushrooms. Beyond skin care, attendees also spotlighted products including the Dear Dahlia makeup range, Lash Therapy from Australia, Geske beauty devices, the Voesh shower head scalp treatment device, and infrared blow dryers from Sutra.

Of the hundreds of brands attending Cosmoprof Miami, several stood out as Best in Show. Here, CEW’s picks for the brands to watch in 2024.

Jess Beauty: Founded by Venezuelan model and influencer Jessica Barboza, Jess Beauty was launched in September 2022 and quickly grew from four products to 11. Barboza, which has more than 126K followers on Instagram, is known for her blog “Peace and Vogue” as well as her YouTube channel.  The brand’s philosophy is to stick to a no-fuss approach with ethically sourced, high-quality formulations that are vegan, cruelty and paraben free, and non-GMO. In just two years, the brand has amassed sales exceeding $20 million. Best sellers include Age Rewind, C Bomb Vitamin C Moisturizer, and Shine Bright Serum. Her star item at CPNA Miami was an SPF serum called Sun Drops Sunscreen Oil. Jess Beauty is sold on its own website and Amazon and available in the U.S, Columbia, Panama, Canada, Puerto Rico and Chile. A standout item is Sun Drops ($48), a face serum offering SPF 30 and SPF 50. Inspired by her personal skin care journey, Jessica embarked on a mission to create a transformative line that celebrates radiant, healthy skin.

Skin Care Junkie: Dermatologist Blair Murphy Rose addresses the needs of those looking for a professional brand of nontoxic, hypoallergenic skin care. Rose, a clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Cornell Medical Center, said, “I needed to create a line that I would feel confident suggesting to my patients,” she said. Formulas are fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, pregnancy-safe, cruelty-free, and vegan.

NewGen/Biophora: Biophora is a medical-grade skin care created by a trio of women who consulted with plastic surgeons, chemists, dermatologists, and naturopaths to develop a line for all skin types and conditions. The brand attracted medical estheticians who work at or own a medi spa, according to Madeline Wolkove, a sales representative for NewGen, the official distributor for Biophora in the U.S. She noted the “mainstreaming” of medical grade lines is what’s next for the beauty industry. “As a result of the social explosion around skin care the average consumer is much more knowledgeable when it comes to treating different skin conditions and recognizing high efficacious ingredients like retinol, lactic acids, AHAs, etc.,” she said, adding the percent of people visiting medi spas versus traditional spas is up. “People have hopes of being introduced to results-drive treatments and products.”

Shielded: The brainchild of Beauty Barrage Founder Sonia Summers, Shielded is rapidly gaining new distribution and expanding with new items. Recently, industry veteran Paula Scandone joined as General Manager/SVP to keep the momentum going. At CPNA Miami, the brand revealed its latest item, Shielded Triple Threat Treatment, which serves as a mask, hydrator, and primer.

Neon Hippie: Hands down, Neon Hippie had the most mentions by attendees as the brand to watch. Founded by Nicole Ostoya, the skin care brand features a proprietary seven-mushroom complex. At the show Neon Hippie revealed their newest range, Nite Brite, a luxurious face cream that works its magic overnight, leaving the skin glowing and hydrated at sunrise. Formulated with black truffle and resveratrol, the creamy balm aims to rejuvenate and protect skin while you sleep. The star of the show is the brand’s signature 7-Shroom Complex, a balanced solution of the seven hero mushrooms for skin. 7-Shroom is the core found in all Neon Hippie products, including moisturizers, exfoliators, brighteners, all of which encourage collagen production.

Project Reef: Leaving behind zero white cast is the unique proposition associated with Project Reef’s formulas, which are created in Maui, according to Founder Matthew Roomet. “We also wanted to make beautiful products that don’t look like other brands,” he said of the line currently available in upscale hotels.

Clean Skin Club: The brand’s array of facial towels, patches, and pads caught the attention of several retailers. According to the brand, cloth towels are breeding grounds for bacteria versus the biodegradable, disposable face towels it offers.

Hey Honey: In tune with the ongoing skinification of the scalp, Hey Honey is fusing its skin expertise in hair care. “In line with our commitment to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations, we have observed a growing desire among them for Hey Honey to broaden its horizon beyond skin care,” said Katerina Yoffe-Larden, Founder and CEO of Hey Honey. The brand is rolling out three hair care products: a waterless shampoo in a liquid, a conditioner, and a leave-on conditioner.

KKT’s Krupa Koestline and Katie Harris.

There were many offsite gatherings held throughout Cosmoprof Miami’s three-day show, to offer more intimate settings for industry executives to network, build connections, and talk business. CEW teamed up with KKT Innovation Labs, a leader in the clean beauty space that assists brands with product development and formulation needs. More than 75 executives gathered on the evening of Wednesday, January 24, at Byblos Miami to network over cocktails and hors d’oeuvrs, including CEW’s Carlotta Jacobson and Agnes Chapski, KKT’s Krupa Koestline and Katie Harris, and executives from brands including Bushbalm, Nutrafol, Sahara Rose, Locks & Mane, and Better Not Younger.

Ed McNeill, Senior Vice President of USA Beauty for Cosmoprof North America, said of the show, “As we celebrate our expansion to Miami, our success reverberates into Las Vegas, solidifying both shows as vital hubs in the ongoing robust growth of the beauty industry in the United States. With a shared objective, these events provide an unparalleled experience, nurturing innovation and fostering connections for all stakeholders.”

Liza Rapay, Vice President for Cosmoprof North America, added, “Miami was a success from the ribbon cutting the day we launched to the final day of the show.”

CPNA has already scheduled a Miami exhibition for next year, to be held from January 21 to January 23, 2025. This year’s Las Vegas show kicks off July 23, 2024, returning to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center after two years at the Las Vegas Convention Center.