in-cosmetics Korea helps extend the Korean wave for years to come

in-cosmetics Korea helps extend the Korean wave for years to come

After three days of invaluable business meetings, practical formulation advice, sourcing new ingredients and learning about the trends shaping the global personal care industry, visitors heaped praise on the latest in-cosmetics Korea event which ran from 13 to 15 June at Coex in Seoul, South Korea.

Sohee Kim, an R&D Professional at AmorePacific commented: “There were more international exhibitors than last year and I enjoyed being able to communicate face to face with them. I saw almost every possible ingredient used in cosmetics – it was worth the visit and I plan to attend every year to discover new trends.”

Having quickly established itself among the fastest growing beauty markets globally, K-beauty products continue to thrive around the world, fuelled by demand for the country’s facial skincare products.

In total, 7,015 unique visitors – including 12% attendees from outside Korea – attended the show, seeking out ways to develop novel beauty products that will extend the Korean Wave – known to many as ‘hallyu’.

Indeed, such is the pressure on the region’s manufacturers to develop inspirational new beauty products that in-cosmetics Korea suitably renamed day 1 as Formulation Day to help R&D teams deliver the next ‘wave’ of innovation.

Developing new formulation techniques

Thousands of cosmetic chemists attended “Formulation Day” on 13 June. Billed as an exclusive opportunity to help cosmetic businesses move closer to achieving ‘same day formulations’, leading experts from around the globe imparted unmissable technical information and practical advice.

The success of Formulation Day was visible by the number of chemists that attended formulation technique coaching by industry experts – including Belinda Carli from the Institute of Personal Care Science, Ashland Singapore Pte Ltd’s Hemant Jagadish Deshmukh and Hope Watkins from Kobo Products  in the show’s new Formulation Lab, which was often standing-room only.

With K-beauty formulas often featuring enjoyable, unique textures, there was also a huge amount of interest in the live Sensory Formulation Demonstration area. R&D teams were given a unique opportunity to discover formulations with innovative and transforming textures and new sensations as well as pigments with a strong visual impact. Seppic Asia, Seowon University and Elite Cosmetics demonstrated on topics such as processing pigment dispersion and W/O formulation or preparing sunblock products.

Formulation Day closed with the eagerly anticipated Formulation Awards – a new initiative that showcased some of the world’s most novel concepts and ingredients present at the show. Judges shortlisted 16 formulations from a total of 30 on-trend and stand-out innovations originally submitted by exhibitors with the winners announced at the show. Dow Chemical scooped the top prize for its Dowsil™ EP-9610 Cosmetic Power ingredient. Meanwhile, Grant Industries received the silver award for Super Grant Girl Frizz Mask and Sunjin Beauty Science were awarded bronze for their Instant Moisturising Soothing Balm Stick.

Belinda Carli, Director at the Institute of Personal Care Science, commented: “Consumers in this region are generally early adopters and trends come and go extremely quickly, which creates a challenging yet exciting environment for product development teams. Formulation Day was a fantastic addition to this year’s in-cosmetics Korea as it provided chemists with techniques and advice that will help them bring even more innovation to market.”

The future of K-beauty is bright

Demonstrating the importance of the show on the Asian beauty industry, visitors heralded from across the APAC region with key countries including China, Japan and Thailand but also the Philippines and Vietnam amongst others.

The in-cosmetics Group’s Marketing Trends & Regulations presentations are renowned around the world as providing the latest data and information that shape the future of product development. The Korea event was no exception, as hundreds of industry professionals packed into the theatre throughout the days to hear leading research agencies, such as Mintel and Euromonitor International give their analysis of what the future holds for different regions and sectors of the industry.

One of the most popular sessions was hosted by Ju Rhyu, founder of Inside the Raum, who gave attendees practical advice on how Korean brands can break into the US cosmetics market. As many western brands attempt to bring K-beauty concepts into their product portfolios, she warned companies, especially small ones, to ensure protection of their IP and trademarks. Rhyu went on to say that the sensorial experience is now a key ingredient to success in the USA, while brands need to educate consumers on the benefits of skincare products.

With consumers around the world becoming more conscious about the impact their purchases have on the environment, Jorge Larranaga, Senior Manager – Deputy Director at Number Three Inc., highlighted how sustainable ingredients can help Korean manufacturers develop more successful formulations. As the first Japanese beauty company certified under COSMOS, Vegan and Halal standards, Larranaga shared his experience of procuring sustainable ingredients in Asia and the challenges of using compliant ingredients. He went on to explain ISO16128 and how suppliers, formulators and marketeers need to be aligned in their definition of a sustainable ingredient.

Also, on 14 June, in-cosmetics Korea hosted a series of Ingredient Regulations, Science & Technology seminars organised by NCR (National Coordinating Center for Global Cosmetics R&D), KCII and KCA on the latest regulations and research projects and where the hot topic of the Nagoya protocol was reviewed and discussed.

Creating winning formulas

For those who couldn’t attend the exclusive Formulation Day, in-cosmetics Korea delivered a wealth of advice throughout the show in its brand new Formulation Lab – a custom-built laboratory on the show floor. Leading ingredient suppliers presented their latest products and provided technical knowledge on how they can be used in new formulations.

Kobo Products gave advice on formulating neon colour lip gloss, while Ashland Singapore explained how to create a highly effective micellar shampoo. The highly-respected Institute of Personal Care Science also discussed the best emulsion formulation structure, providing chemists with best practice when it comes to manipulating the viscosity, skin feel and aesthetics of an emulsion.

Ms. Yoon-ji Choi, Researcher at LS Cosmetics, a Formulation Lab delegate, stated, “Taking part was very beneficial because I was able to truly understand and experience a simulation of the formulation process.”

A hotbed of innovation

Koreans are famed for their multi-step skincare regimes that can range anywhere from 10 to as many as 18 steps. This, coupled with consumers’ penchant for switching brands quickly, demonstrates just why innovation in the region needs to be so fast-paced.

Luckily for R&D teams, in-cosmetics Korea brings together the world’s leading ingredient suppliers including Ashland, Lonza and DSM amongst others. This year, 272 businesses were on display, hailing from a total of 25 countries, 55 of which were new exhibitors.

First-time exhibitor at in-cosmetics Korea, Maggie Ellis, Global Key Account Manager at Lonza commented: “There was a good range of people visiting our stand, from Korean R&D and brand owners to visitors from the rest of Asia. It’s important for brands like Lonza to be present in this market – to be more visible where it matters because the K-beauty trend continues to be influential across the world.”

The exhibition delivers innovation from across the production chain: manufacturers of raw materials and ingredients; fragrance components; lab equipment and software suppliers; and testing and research providers. Among the businesses introducing new solutions this year were:

  • Cosphatec which presented Cosphaderm® Feel, a COSMOS certified ingredient developed for natural cosmetic producers who are looking to formulate a product with silicone-like features
  • Givaudan Active Beauty which showcased its PrimalHyal™ Ultrafiller – a unique and patent-pending hyaluronic acid (HA) derivative designed to offer a cosmetic alternative to the injectable fillers. It penetrates twice deeper into the skin than standard HA and delivers wrinkle filling benefits in one to six hours
  • Imerys Minerals Korea Ltd. which has launched ImerCare Matte that provides an immediate mattifying effect in cream gels

This year, time-poor visitors who were looking for innovation in three key categories could join carefully curated Product Trails. Industry experts selected 10 ingredients for each trail that would provide inspiration to R&D teams looking for anti-ageing ingredients, encapsulation solutions and preservatives.

Finally, the event’s Innovation Zone provided a one-stop shop of newness. Focusing on the latest active and functional ingredients launched within the last eight months, it was visited by 74% of the show’s attendees in pursuit of new launches and test formulations.

Sarah Gibson, Event Director of in-cosmetics Korea, commented:

“Korea continues to lead the way in beauty innovation and products from the region are now a key part of any western retailer’s cosmetics line-up. The level of creativity from Korean manufacturers is truly outstanding and events like in-cosmetics Korea – which has grown by 73% in size since its launch in 2015 – have a major role to play in helping cosmetic chemists deliver inspiring new products. We’re delighted at the feedback from this year’s Formulation Day and the brand new Formulation Lab and looking forward to the show’s 5th edition on 26 – 28 June 2019.”


For further press information, please contact the in-cosmetics Group press office on +44 (0) 207 240 2444, or email

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