Doors open and CEW crowd of thousands hits the exhibit floor.
CEW Product Demo Reveals Beauty Category Shifts

CEW insiders reviewed more than 600 products from skin care to nails to determine which will earn CEW’s coveted seal.

CEW president Carlotta Jacobson speaks to beauty reporters about top trends at this year’s Product Demo.
Multi-tasking balms are big, nail care has exploded and anti-aging skin care has skewed a bit to ancillary products such as primers, rather than targeting wrinkles face on
These were a few of the insights offered by Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW, at the kick-off of the organization’s legendary Beauty Insiders’ Choice Awards Product Demo on Wednesday, March 7 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City.

More than 2,000 industry insiders surveyed and tested the 625 products from a wide-ranging 300 brands that were on display at what Jacobson calls “the world’s largest beauty counter.” At this 18th edition of the event, CEW members were, for the first time, able to use mobile and touch-screen technology to navigate the exhibitors and to vote for the year’s most innovative new products in 29 categories.

Molton Brown highlighted its new line of fragrances, Navigations Through Scent, which are based on the Spice Route. Twist-and-lock actuators make the bottles ideal for travel. The brand created an attractive cone-shaped “nose flute tester” unit, in piquant colors, to enhance consumers’ experience at the retail counter.
“It was interesting to see what the brands chose to enter and exhibit,” said Jacobson. “They are very selective, and showed a leaning toward high-tech this year.” One change this year, according to Jacobson, was that the Bath and Body category represented the largest number of products.

Skin care, which reigned No. 1 last year, was still high on the list, with “foundations that are multi-purpose and treatment-oriented and not so blatantly anti-aging, as well as beauty balms that have everything in them,” said Jacobson. She added, “Creams have gone to the next level—very scientific.”

Another “amazing” trend that Jacobson commented on was that not only is prestige growing, but that it’s the very high end that’s expanding at the greatest rate.

Indie and Eco Beauty categories also saw growth, with 28 Indie brands represented at the Demo, along with 19 products entered for the Eco-Beauty Award.

The Next Big Category

Jacobson explained to a group of industry journalists that the organization works closely with The NPD Group to identify categories for the annual award. This insight led to the addition of this year’s Nail Care category.

What does Jacobson predict will be the category to watch, with the best odds of being included in next year’s roster? Electronic devices, she said, which are rapidly hitting shelves everywhere.

Around the Floor

It’s always a treat to explore the CEW Product Demo show floor, where an incredible array of products is displayed alphabetically on long counters punctuated with beautiful floral arrangements, and knowledgeable personnel take pride in succinct product explanations and hands-on demonstrations. Trend spotting is a highlight.

The HBA Global Expo team was front and center at the CEW event, with a ’90s-themed booth that marked the 20th anniversary of this year’s trade show (June 19-21). (L-R): Eve Pearl, Annie Scully, Erika Plata, Felicia Bonavita-Isoldi, Caitlin Carragee, Mary Palmieri, Jill Birkett, Dina-Marie Nicovic, Nicole Bullock
One of the packaging innovations that stood out to me was the bottle for Molton Brown London’s Lijiang, up for a CEW seal for Women’s Scent-Prestige. The series of beautiful faceted flacons, with artisanal scents based on the spice route, features a cap that twists and turns so the actuator locks in place when not in use. The high-end fragrance, manufactured in the English countryside, is boxed in a luxurious lined case that resembles a fine jewelry box.

Speaking of jewels, Kesari, an indie skin care brand—which says it unites 5,000 years of ancient wisdom from India with modern science for healthy, radiant skin—featured a range of products packaged in jewel-like colors with exotic-looking detailed and delicate line-drawn images.

Kesari takes its name from the Hindi word kesar, which means saffron, which followed another trend I noticed in which skin care related not only to fine spices and cooking ingredients, but also to food.

Extra Virgin Minerals was one of The Body Shop’s entries for Cosmetics. The mineral collections feature an exclusive combination of 100% community fair trade pure cold-pressed olive oil and ultra-fine mineral pigments.

Over at Greek skin care brand Korres, the focus was on edible yoghurt used in a cosmetic formula. Following the popularity of its skin care offering, the brand released a Yoghurt Instant Soothing Gel aimed at eye care.

Out of the kitchen and into the garden, L’Occitane offered Pivoine Flora Eau de Parfum in the Women’s Scent Prestige category. Described as “a bouquet of a thousand petals,” the lovely gradated pink flacon held an aroma that instantly surrounded you in what seemed to be a fragrant field of peonies.

And not to forget the men’s market, which continues to gain ground, Anthony Logistics for Men Advanced Formula Lip Balm SPF 26 featured flavors such as Mint & White Tea—and was developed without a glossy effect to suit men who favor smoothness without shine.

For a full listing of finalists, please see

Winners in all categories will be announced at the CEW Beauty Awards luncheon May 18, 2012 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Winners will be judged based on innovation, delivery system and packaging.