Evolving with the times is a characteristic trade shows seldom can implement, and only the successful ones still exist as they’ve managed to excite the industries they target. Cosmoprof North America is without a doubt one of the winners, with its 11th annual event held July 14-July 16 in Las Vegas at The Mandalay Bay Convention Center, setting the bar high for how a beauty show should evolve to meet the needs of the industry it serves.

This year, upgrades included a heavy push into the digital and technological realm, with LED screens dotting all entryways of the show, streaming videos of exhibitors and man-on-the-street-type interviews for all to see. Last year’s Cosmoprof iPhone app, which listed all exhibitors, complete with booth numbers and company descriptions, was met this year with 1to1 Beauty Matchmaking, a service designed to help exhibitors make appointments with buyers, which was supplemented with an instructional YouTube video. 

And changes were inside the show, too: for the first time, Beautique, a sampling bar allowed attendees to hand pick seven deluxe-sized samples from participating companies in exchange for a small donation to cancer research charity, City of Hope. Also a show first, open-sees were held for the buyers of several of TV shopping networks (QVC, HSN and The Shopping Channel from Canada), condensing 18 10-minute pitches into an afternoon.

More than 26,000 distributors, manufacturers and spa and salon owners passed through Cosmoprof’s doors this year, up 8 percent over last year, in an effort to see the latest in spa, salon and beauty retail products. Overall, the event drew 892 exhibitors from 38 countries. Cosmoprof’s largest show, Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna, sees more than 200,000 people at its winter event.

The show’s success stems in part from its dedication to the professional beauty industry, which now more than ever craves the innovation and sales re-generation the prestige and mass beauty markets have realized since the financial crisis in late 2008. It’s been tougher for the pro business to bounce back, with mature markets suffering more than emerging markets. But it is resilient. According to the Professional Beauty Association’s (PBA) Salon/Spa Performance Index (SSPI), after hitting its lowest point in the third quarter of 2012 and rebounding in the fourth quarter, the market continued to hold steady in the first quarter of 2013. Year over year, the SSPI, (a quarterly composite index that tracks the health and outlook of the U.S. salon/spa industry) is down slightly by 0.4 percent from the first quarter of 2012.

Beauty Insider scanned the show floor at Cosmprof and, overall, saw a surge of hair innovations, next level nail creations, gel launches and hair loss remedies as the trend leaders. Also mentionable were a handful of suncare, skin devices and tools to bring the beauty junkie out of anyone. Here, some of the most exciting of the bunch:

A Better Blowout: Blowouts—and getting the best one at that— was a theme seen among hair care manufacturers. Standouts included It Factor, which featured an entire line of hair care and styling items under the Quick Blowdry

brand, including a Smoothing Lotion ($17.99), a first all-in-one product designed to detangle, condition and style with hold, in less time. KareCo, the 12-year old professional hair tools brand, is now targeting mass retailers with its line of ionic brushes ($10.97-$12.97), ideal for the perfect blow out. The brushes designed for retail mirror those sold in salons, and also ensure not just quicker blow out, but one that’s safer for hair due to its “wind tunnel” design.

Here Comes the Sun!: A sun care product with skin care benefits? MD Solar Sciences launched in 2010 but has undergone a packaging and formulation revamp, which now sports less titanium and more zinc, and color-coded packaging. MD Solar Sciences’ various products contain cranberry extracts and green tea and are pitched as first and foremost sun care items with skin care benefits, including its hero product, Mineral Tinted Crème SPF 30 for $32.

Good To The Last Drop: Swoon may be a lip gloss lover’s best friend. The extra long lip gloss applicator ($12), created by Keisha Wright, gets down to the bottom of any lip gloss tube to extract the very last drop of gloss. Every bit counts! The applicator can be cleaned and reused so no worry of mixing colors from lip gloss to lip gloss.

Girl Time: True Girl Skin care is a teen’s preventative acne line packaged in bright pink boxes. Founded by Joanne Purvis, True Girl was inspired by her teenage daughter; items include a Zit Zapper, Moisturizer, Mask, Cleansing Wash and Toner Splash with prices from $15.99-$19.99. Formulated with fruit extracts and antixodants, it looks to be the teen girls first foray into skin acre.

Filling the Gap: New York-based Briogeo was one of Beauty Insider’s most exciting finds at Cosmoprof. The high performance natural hair care line was founded by Nancy Twine, formerly in financial sales, and is targeting the prestige sector with 95 percent naturally-derived formulas, which includes a Be Gentle Be Kind Cleansing Shampoo, Curl Defining Conditioner, Blossom & Bloom Volumizing Conditioner, Curl Charisma Curl Defining Conditioner and a Don’t Despair Repair Mask.“Natural prestige hair care is relatively untapped,” said Nancy. Price points will range from $19 to $26.

Gel Time: Essie is entering the gel realm, at least according to booth signage. Shipping in September to a salon near you will be 36 Essie nail gel colors, each with a unique name, that will mirror their top-selling nail shades. One buyer who saw the line said Essie wanted to launch original names for the new gel shades since ultimately gel technology has a different pigment and really creates a whole new color. Converter wheels at tech stations in salons will be available so consumers can see if their favorite Essie nail polish is available in gel. Orly

is innovating on its gel offerings with Shade Shifter, a topcoat that adjusts according to one’s body temperature. If you’re hot, the topcoat remains clear, if you’re cold, the coat gets dark. The topcoat looks black when applied but dries clear. John Galea of Orly said the topcoat gives nail tips an ombre effect. China Glaze is also entering gels, both with salon and retail offerings. Gelaze Gel-n-Base in One, will ship in October and include 36 shades reflecting China Glaze’s top selling nail polish colors. At retail, each shade will sell for $15 per bottle; Gelaze LED mini lamps are also on offer and will retail for $55. Another bond-and-base-in-one is by LA-based Daisy, a soak off gel, which lasts up to three weeks available in 24 shades.

Next Level Nail: Customization has redefined the nail world with Tat’z Nail’z, an Omaha, Nebraska-based company that has created a printer armed with a camera that can take pictures of you (or your dress, for that matter) and print out the image directly onto any nail surface. The printer (which sells for $5,000 to salons, $10,00 at retail) also has 3,000 nail patterns installed in its hard drive, each with 10 color options, for a total of 30,000 pre-installed prints, but any image can be uploaded to the printer. Tat’z Nail’z auto zooms to fit any nail size and shape, including tips. Nail’z founder and CEO, Fred Schweser, an inventor and consultant, said he also had a hand in creating the Go Kart. Dashing Diva is also launching new nail art, their next Water Transfer Tattoo, which can be applied to natural, gel or acrylic nails, followed by a top coat. A Dashing Diva LED nail lamp is in the works, too, expected for retail in October. The sleek, white design has rounded edges and resembles a cell phone.

Smooth Moves: Uberliss Keratin Treatment made its Cosmoprof debut with formaldehyde free formulas. Its three-step system a Fiber Expander, Fiber Restructure and Nutritive Mask) has been designed to deliver smooth, uniform hair that lasts for three months due to its blend of keratin, cysteine and briti extracts. It launched in Brazil in 2011 and is now entering salons in the US.

Skin Matters: A clay that can spray? Yes, Clayspray is the first clay emulsion in spray form. While Clayspray Emulsions are viscous under normal conditions, they flow thinly when force is applied, which produces a glide and spread-ability to the formula. Each contains more than 95 percent natural ingredients and uses natural spring water. There are eight different variants, including White Clay Formula, an exfoliating clay mask for the face; Mixed Clay Formula, a blend of white and red clay for face and scalp meant for blemish prone skin, and White Clay and Ginseng, a skin energizing mask for all skin types.

Hair Loss Remedies: While anti-age skin care is still a dominant concern among baby boomers, Beauty Insider expects hair loss treatments to gain considerable momentum over teh next five years. Hair Essentials is making its pitch to the retail market after 12 years in business as an all-natural diet supplement sold online. Taken three times a day, Hair Essentials combats hair loss, repairs hair follicles and provides nutrients to sustain hair growth. New growth is seen within two to three months, while a decrease in shedding can be seen in as little as three weeks. An all-vegetarian version launches in September.

Revivogen, also addressing fine and thinning hair, was formulated and founded by a dermatologist who himself was suffering from hair loss. The line includes Scalp Therapy, to be applied to the scalp at night. Company claims include reduced hair loss within weeks, and new growth estimated at three months.

Device Delight: VB Beauty aims to be the mid-priced selection of skin care devices. Priced at $69 for a full-sized face brush (or $39 for a smaller version, The Buddy) Pulsaderm fits squarely between Clarisonic’s prestige pricing and Olay’s mass market appeal. Pulsaderm uses 3-D pulsation technology, which pulsates (not oscillates) on a rotation at 300 RPMs per minute. Various brush heads are available to target specific skin types, and all are interchangeable between the two brush sizes. Korea-based
also was introducing a hand held skin care massager and makeup applicator, featuring a 4D directional motion, used with the micro wool brush for face cleansing, and a softer brush for foundation application. Items wholesale for $20 each.

Glitter Gets An Upgrade: Hands down the most beautiful item seen at Cosmoprof was the glitter body art coming out of G Body Art Pro. The body art designs created at their booth caused a sensation and a crowd five deep, as spectators skipped business appointments to watch artists colorfully and artfully apply fine-granule glitter dust tattoos designs, from peacocks to fish to skulls. Despite the artistry, tattoos, which last up to a week, were applied within 10 minutes. Glitter tattoo kits sell for as little as $29.95 and include four glitter dusts, eight stencils, two brushes and five Swarovski crystals.