Face & Body Midwest Expo recently celebrated its annual spa trade show at McCormick Place West in Chicago with record breaking attendance numbers—more than 6,000 spa, skin care and wellness professionals attended, an increase of 15 percent. The show, held here March 12-14, welcomed more than 140 exhibitors all with one thing in common: to spotlight the latest treatments, ingredients and technology to keep clients coming back for more.Created as a launch and networking pad for new spa and skin care products and services, this year’s show attracted a range of companies, from international beauty leaders to indie trendsetters. Here, some of the trends we saw.

Cutting-Edge Treatments:

Casmara’s Algae Peel-Off Masks are basedon marine algae extracts and use hydrating properties to solidify and form a plastic film on the application area, enhancing the penetration of active ingredients. Available in 11 different versions, the active ingredients of the various masks help to diminish forehead wrinkles, improve elasticity of skin tissue and polish the skin surface. The reduction of the skin temperature activated by the mask produces a muscular contraction while it rests on the face, and stimulates visible firming and toning of the skin.

• As consumers continue on their quest for fast, immediate results, the lash extension trend still remains strong in spas and independent brow salons. Borboleta demonstrated their different eyelash extension products and new training methods, including rainbow-colored lashes.

Jindilli showed attendees how a massage with its BoomaGlam tool works, an ergonomic design with a shape reminiscent of the boomerang, which molds to the contours of the recipient’s body to relieve tense muscles and eliminate impurities. The BoomaGlam provides a nod to Jindilli’s Australian heritage.

• HydraFacial MD demonstrated the power of their HydroPeel facial system, a five-step skin resurfacing treatment that utilizes super-serums filled with antioxidants, peptides and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration and protect skin from environmental elements. They also featured their at-home treatment products containing the same ingredients found in the HydraFacial MD treatment. These topically-applied products are designed to help to extend and enhance the benefits of your in-office treatment.

High-Level Education:

Conferences at the Expo were broken up into different tracks: Wellness, Business, Science and Treatment. Kicking off the conference was the most popular panel, Lotions and Potions: Deciphering Formulation and Chemistry, featuring four chemists and moderated by Skin Inc. Managing Editor, Katie Anderson, and cosmetic bioevangelist, Rebecca Gadberry. The chemists—Perry Romanowski, Gina Cosby, Kelly Dobos and Tom Lehman—all came together with experience and knowledge in cosmetic chemistry. Perry kicked off the panel noting that recent marketing efforts have touted “chemical-free” products, when chemicals are the building blocks of all food, water and plants, etc. He then introduced the three classifi­cations of cosmetic ingredients (functionals, claim ingredients and esthetic modifiers), which the panel explained. The chemists also went through ingredient labels for a number of different products, explaining how to read labels, how to identify which ingredients are present and how to determine at what levels they are included. The panelists discussed ingredients that have been questioned in recent years, such as petrolatum, parabens, polyethylene glycol and formaldehyde donors. Tom noted that while many believe all parabens to be estrogen disrupters, they are safe and effective. He added that the study referenced in most anti-paraben reports was not even tested with a control. There were a number of audience questions for the panels, including subjects such as gentle surfactants, safe lighteners for darker skin, stem cells, clean beauty and more.

Next year’s Face & Body Midwest will take place January 21 – 23, 2017 and, due to demand, will be expanding to a larger show floor at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.