Tag Archives: beyond beauty events

Effectiveness vs. Organic: The Bias Against Organic Cosmetics

September 12, 2012

Today wraps up the third day of the Beyond Beauty Trade Expo. It has been a colorful learning experience for us at Ziba: discovering so many new brands, meeting the highly innovative creators behind them and gaining a deeper understanding of the process that goes on in the creation of cosmetics.

But instead of doing another write up about all the different cosmetic brands we’ve discovered during the expo, I’d like to instead write about a recent cosmetics trend of which this event has afforded me a glimpse. Actually, what I’m referring to is not so much a trend as it is a certain… hesitation. Or to put it frankly, a bias that consumers have against organic cosmetics.

Although many people agree on the importance of their health and that of the environment, when it comes to their skin care, people still feel the need to prioritize effectiveness over safety and green-ness. It was for this very reason that Novexpert, a cosmetic brand whose products could pass organic certification requirements, chose not to display their green roots anywhere on their brand. And they’re not the only cosmetic brand to do so.

Brands like Novexpert opt to forgo their green logo for a more clinical look.

Consumers continue to pit “effectiveness” against “organic,” considering the two as separate and mutually exclusive ends. And who could blame them? After all, a concoction of crushed leaves and sticks could never be up to par with the scientific and technological expertise of a team of researchers and chemists tinkering away in white lab coats.

But therein lies the misconception. Organic cosmetics are seen as being too “raw” and “primitive” while their clinical and chemical counterparts are seen as somehow more scientifically superior. What many people do not get to see is the process involved in the production of organic cosmetics. Yes, organic cosmetic brands also use laboratories, cutting edge technology, years of scientific research and people in white lab coats. In fact, different cosmetic brands, some of which may be organic while others non-organic, can end up appointing the same laboratory to help manufacture their products.

When viewed from this angle, it’s hard not to ask yourself the next natural question: what then is the difference between organic and conventional cosmetics? In fact, what does the word Organic even mean??

At first, I naively imagined a small organic farm which is visited by an organic cosmetic producer and then picked as the source for their plant ingredients. But it’s not even like that. In reality, there are people involved called ‘traders’ and a long chain of supply and lots of paperwork, all of which takes us further and further away from our imagined scene of an organic cosmetic laboratory that works right next door to their neighboring family farm. In fact, there was only one cosmetic brand I encountered during this Expo that was even close to this idyllic operation. And this is me giving a shout out to Kaliom, an ayurvedique skin care brand which sources their organic ingredients from their own farm in India and then formulates their products in their laboratory in France.

Kaliom, an organic brand that sources its ingredients from its own farm.

But anyway, back to our scrutiny of organic cosmetics. It’s obvious that I have a lot of questions of my own. And although I hold the ideals behind organic cosmetics dear to my heart, I always want to approach everything with a critical and questioning eye. So I intend to put forward my questions on this blog and perhaps together, our continued exploration of this topic can lead us to some very thoughtful and earnest discussions. At least, that is my hope.

Now on to lighter things.

I promised I would reveal the Giveaway today at the end of the Beyond Beauty Trade Expo. But I think I’d rather keep you guys in suspense! Things are just more fun that way. Don’t worry, I won’t keep you in suspense for too long. I just thought it would be better if the Giveaway were to be a separate post of its own.

Lastly, I wanted to wrap up this post and the past three days by saying a BIG thank you to Oliver for enduring what no boyfriend should ever have to endure. He accompanied me during the three days of beauty bonanza and I think he hated pretty much every minute of it. But he was always helpful: sniffing beauty products whenever I’d hold them up to his nose, carrying all the bags of beauty samples I’d accumulated and even asking pertinent questions of his own. He was a real champ throughout it all.

Us during the first day, when we were still feeling fresh and bright-eyed

So I’m curious, of all the brands that I wrote about these past three days, which one piqued your interest the most and why?

Beyond Beauty Trade Expo – Day 2

September 12, 2012

Today is the second day of the Beyond Beauty Trade Show in Paris. It is a business event for cosmetic suppliers to showcase their products and link up with distributors. As such, it’s been a great opportunity for discovering excitingly new skin care brands to add to the Ziba Boutique. But also, it’s been an excellent opportunity to meet and talk to the creators behind the products and ask them about what makes their beauty brand especially unique.

I was able to cover a lot more ground today, discovering new names in the beauty market and meeting the innovative creators behind them. I’ve even made the effort to veer away from skin care and delve into other beauty domains, including perfumes, hair care and make-up.

Read on to learn more about the beauty products and trends that I’ve discovered today!

Fleurs de Bach

Okay, I couldn’t resist. We humans are always drawn to the familiar. If you are a regular Ziba reader, then you’ll know that I recently wrote a product review on the Anti-Stress Exfoliating Cream by Les Fleurs de Bach. For which I need to spell out a slight correction. The company Les Fleurs de Bach itself has not been around for 70 years. However, the essential oils from the 38 flowers discovered by Dr. Bach in the early 1920s are the basis of the products by Les Fleurs de Bach. Their products are designed to reduce stress through aromatherapy. They have formulated elixirs (which can be drank to soothe the nerves), an anti-stress skin care line and more recently,they have come out with a new take on aromatherapy: roll-on applicators. To learn more, visit their site at www.lesfleursdebach.com

Lou d’Arbois

I was drawn to Lou d’Arbois from far away, thanks to the words “stem-cells” featured in large print on their display. The use of stem-cells in cosmetics is still quite a new concept. So I asked the President of Lou d’Arbois, Véronique Guéry, more about the product she invented. Lou d’Arbois is actually one of the fresh new names that is launching at this year’s event. The product is French based, but formulated in a Swiss laboratory. Which explains the use of Edelweiss among their active ingredients, as well as Titlis glacial water from the Alps. As for the stem-cells, they are purely natural and taken from the growing core of the Edelweiss plant. They contribute to the growth and repairing processes of the skin. They are also loaded with antioxidants. At this time, Lou d’Arbois has three products : an Anti-Aging Cream, an Anti-Aging Cream for the Eyes and Lips, an an Anti-Aging Serum. The products are suited for mature and sensitive skin and come in sleek but very practical silvery containers. To learn more, visit their site at www.loudarbois.com

Lady Green

Lady Green is another fresh new name in cosmetics, launching at this year’s Beyond Beauty Event. It is specially designed for young women between the ages of 12 and 25, whose changing skin requires special care. In fact, Lady Green touts itself as a “Participative Brand,” the only one throughout the expo, whose design involved the participation of more than 200 young girls helping to choose the brand’s un and colorful designs, luscious textures and fruity fragrances. I was able to ask the Founder of Lady Green, Virginie Vinet, the story behind her brand. Her eyes sparkled as she explained how she wanted to make skin care something fun, especially for young girls. At the same time, she also wanted to create a product that respects their health and the environment. Hence the name, Lady Green, and the organic certification by Ecocert. Lady Green’s products include Cleansing Foams, Gentle Facial Scrubs, Balancing Day Cream, Anti-Blemish Gel-Pen and Repairing Lip Gloss. To learn more, visit their site at www.lady-green.com


Opale is a luxurious skin-care brand emerging from Monaco. Although it is a relatively new brand, the research and formulation behind it extends over decades. Their anti-ageing products are made of natural and organic ingredients, using extracts from alfalfa and fruit acids. Their collection includes facial and body care creams and serums. I was especially taken by their shimmering oil made from macadamia nut oil and sesame seed oil. As I spoke to the founder of Opale, his vision for the brand became very evident: to corner the sophisticated and high-end spectrum of the cosmetics market. To learn more, visit their site at www.opalemonaco.com


The name of a red apple variety, Akane is also a skin care brand whose main theme is (you guessed it) apples. Apples are normally rich in polyphenols, which help fight against free radicals and slow down the aging process but the Akane variety has an especially high concentration of polyphenols. Akane also makes use of the leaves from the apple tree, which contain another antioxidant agent, sieboldin, and rose hip oil, which are rich in omega 3 and omega 6. Their anti-aging treatment, the Apple & the Leaf helps to preserve the skin by protecting it against free radicals. Their products include a milky make-up remover, a melting moisturizing cream, a regenerating serum and a tinted BB cream. Akane is also a certified natural and organic cosmetic. To learn more, visit their site at www.akane-skincare.com


Apples, apples and more apples. ‘Pomme’ is the word for ‘apple’ in French and Pomotherapy takes the many virtues of the apple and uses them in their diverse skin care solutions, which includes food supplements, cosmetics, nutri-cosmetcs and spa treatments. Their Elixir de Pomme is a new experimental concept. It comes with two serums, one which can be diluted in a glass of water and drank and the other, which can be added to any skin creams that you are already using to boost its anti-aging effects. As pictured above, they have also developed “Mécagénique Pearls”, which contain high concentrations of the apple’s active ingredients, but it not yet been commercialized. To learn more, visit their site at www.pomotherapie.net


The founder of Kaliom is a man from the French West Indies who lived and studied in India, learning the natural and holistic traditions of Aromatherapy and Ayurveda. Kaliom is a certified organic and vegan cosmetic brand, designed by someone who himself is vegan and believes in the spirt of eco-responsbility. Kaliom products are composed of roots, seeds, leaves and flowers which have been grown in their own organic farms in India. The other ingredients have been gathered from the surrounding forests with the help of locals. The founder’s very simple philosophy is embodied in his products, whose ingredients have been chosen for their function and therapeutic benefits. Unlike the majority of other brands, he refuses to corrupt the purity of the ingredients with fragrances that serve no purpose. As such, the products smell exactly of what they are composed of. The scent of their products bring to mind Indian spice markets and incensed shrines. To learn more, visit their site at www.kaliom.com


I remain captivated by Alorée, a brand that won last year’s Beyond Beauty Organic Award. It is very unique in its use of chlorophyll, an oxygenating compound present in all plants. Alorée’s active ingredient, a chlorophyll complex extracted from young barley shoots, is rich in chlorophyll, vitamin E, polyphenols, oligo elements (magnesium) and unsaturated fatty acids (w6). It acts against free radicals which are responsible for the aging of the skin. Their cosmetic line includes a purifier cleansing gel, cleansing milk, regenerating elixir, a city-proof moisturizing fluid, and energy recharge eye contour gel, among others. Currently, they are carried by Sephora. To learn more, visit their site at www.aloree.fr


I chose to include Misojium in today’s write-up because of its incredibly unconventional use of snail slime in its skin care cosmetics. Apparently, the French are versed not just in the cuisine culture of snails but also in their cosmetic virtues. However, Misojium is not French but rather a South Korean cosmetic company. So why snail slime? Snail slime has numerous advantages, according to the representatives of Misojium. These advantages include helping to adjust the skin’s pH balance, enhance skin regeneration and hydration. Their other lines, sans snail slime, are the Misojium Super Lifting Program and Misojium Senstive Skin Care line. To learn more, visit their site at www.picobio.net

Jardin de France

A perfumery whose history dates back to 1920, Jardin de France has been creating colognes using formulas and expertise that have been passed through the generations. Now, it is revamping its approach and introducing a wider range of fragrances. While their collection “1920” is the company’s signature line, their newest collection is moves away from traditions. It is inspired by the realm of Haute Couture and draws its fragrances from the smell of luxurious fabrics. My favorite fragrance for women is their “Coeur de Velours” which is vanilla scented that is neither too light nor to heavy, but just right. To learn more, visit their site at www.jardindefrance.net

Less Is More

I agree, Less Is More. An Austrian organic hair care line, Less Is More aims to reduce hair care down to the essentials. The two creators are Hannes Trummer, a hairstylist and Doris Brandhuber, a chemist. Their products are composed of organic plant oils and butters, photo extracts, essential oils, flower waters, honey, and wine spirits. Their product range includes a Haircare Collection, Leave-In treatments and Styling Products for salon use. To learn more, visit their site at www.lessismore.at


I approached Bellápierre’s representatives by frankly telling them that I knew little about make up. But that I would love to learn more, especially about mineral make up. This was appropriate, since Ballápierre make up are 100% composed of minerals extracted from the U.S. The representative then adeptly began to show me the different foundations, shimmers and eye shadows. I was blown away with all the things that you can do with mineral makeup as well as the intensity of their colors and consistency. Although it is pricier than the majority of make up out there, a small quantity goes a long way and buying a small cap full can last you for an entire year. Additional advantages of mineral make up, it does not clog pores and does not harm the skin when left on overnight. The titanium dioxides also helps to offer light protection against harmful UV rays. To learn more, visit www.bellapierre.com


A Danish make up brand, Organiqs product composition are not high in minerals but they do take a responsible approach to beauty and cosmetics through their simple, recyclable packaging and their limited product range. Organiqs make up is designed for the busy modern woman who shies away from wacky and lurid colors. Preferring instead to accentuate her beauty with subtle and natural tones. To learn more, visit their site at www.organiqs.dk

~ º ~ º ~ º ~ º ~

And this concludes the second write up of the beauty brands that I’ve found at today’s Beyond Beauty Trade Expo! As you may have been able to tell, I had a tricky time pulling myself away from exploring all the new skin care brands and venturing into other realms of beauty, such as hair care and make up.

But I promised that we would have fun with this. So that’s what we’re going to do! A lot of the beauty creators whom I met today sent me away with generous stashes of their beauty products and samples. So why not spread the wealth?

Tomorrow’s installment of the Beyond Beauty Event is going to include a Free Giveaway to one lucky reader! Can you guess the prize? Hint: it’s from one of the beauty brands that I’ve already mentioned.

Beyond Beauty Trade Expo – Day 1

September 10, 2012

As I sit and type this, I am surrounded by an explosion of cosmetic brochures and beauty samples which are my takeaway from the first day of the Beyond Beauty Trade Expo in Paris. I must admit, I was dazzled and overwhelmed by the sheer size of the expo. There are two large open floors to explore, filled with hundreds of eye-catching displays and beauty products. At almost each one of the stands you could find and talk to the people who are behind the creation of the products.  As the day progressed, so did my bold frankness at prompting people to explain to me what was so unique about their products.

So without further ado, here is a glance at some of the beauty brands that I came across today at Beyond Beauty’s Trade Expo:

Natur Nuá

Spanish based natural and artisanal cosmetics. They have numerous ranges of products, from facial treatments, body oils and serums, solar protection and tanning oils, and even an intimate range for amorous activities. Their range of essential oils is quite comprehensive, drawing from sources such as ylang yang, myrrh, neroli, sage, jasmine, ginger, lemongrass and the list goes on. To learn more, visit their site at www.naturnua.com


Pure, artisanal shea butter from Mali in West Africa. It was interesting talking to the ladies dressed in their colorful pagnes as they explained to me all the things you can do with shea butter. It’s useful for moisturizing the skin, the hair, for cooking, stomache aches, colds and even for alleviating sinus problems. I laughingly told them that I’ll stick to using it for moisturizing my skin and maybe my hair. Though I really do marvel at the wonders of Shea Butter. Kaloje is a fair trade project aimed at empowering women and is supperted by UNIDO. To read more visit www.projetkarite.org 


Ametis is part of the Cosmeeting Color exhibit, which are cosmetic products dedicated to caring for black and ethnic skin. I asked Marie Paget, the Chadian born creator behind Ametis why different skin care products are necessary for darker skin. Her response was that dark skin have different balances  of melanin which can pigment the skin and lead to dark spots and other discolorations. In any case, Ametis is quite a new name in cosmetics. Its beauty products range from daily care (cleansing, soothing and protecting) to specific care that includes skin brightening correctors and white cream and white peel-off masks. To learn more, visit their site at www.ametiscosmetics.fr

Chateau Rouge

Chateau Rouge is also part of the Cosmeeting Color exhibit. Although their products are not certified natural and organic, they are created with active ingredients based on vegetal sources. The name Chateau Rouge also happens to coincide with that of a metro stop in the African quarter in Paris. Two pharmacists who were situated in the Chateau Rouge quarter, created a brand that would cater specifically to the skin problems of their clientele, the majority of whom had problems with dark spots, discolorations, poor hydration etc. It was interesting however to hear that their goal is not to lighten the skin, which is actually a common endeavor among people of darker skin tones. To learn more, visit their site at www.chateaurouge.net

Jardins D’Ecrivains

The literal translation of Jardin D’Ecrivains is The Garden of Writers. Luxurious, whimsical but always inspired, Jardin D’ecrivains is another fairly young enterprise with beauty products that carry the names of great literary authors including Victor Hugo, Edith Wharton, Maupassant and the Brontë sisters. I find the concept quirky and brilliant. They carry perfumes, bath salts and candles. I was intrigued by Le Bain de Wharton, which are opulent turquoise colored bath salts that turn the color of your bath water turquoise blue. To learn more, visit their site at www.jardinsdecrivains.com.


Kadalys is a French certified organic beauty brand which exploits the cosmetic properties of the banana plant. This is news to me. So why bananas? That seemed to be the question posed by everyone who passed the Kadalys display. According to Kadalys researchers, the banana plant possesses extraordinary anti-age properties through its phytosterol and polyphenol molecules. Their skin care range includes cleansers, serums, anti-aging creams and nourishing oils. To learn more, visit their site at www.kadalys.com


Janjira Is another beauty brand that boasts the extraordinary powers of exotic ingredients from the East. It is a company based in Thailand that makes spa ritual inspired skincare. The featured active ingredient of their three main product lines are ginger, citrus and pomegranate. To learn more, visit their site at www.janjira.co.uk


A colorful and imaginative cosmetic concept dedicated to making the most out of your sunbathing experience. In fact, Coloriage takes the whole concept of sunbathing and seems to make a new art out of it. There are three phases involved in sunbathing, according to Coloriage. And Coloriage products are there to help make the most out of each phase. The first phase involves the use of a shower gel that must be applied ten days before exposure to the sun in order to prepare the skin to take on a tan in the best of conditions.The second phase involves another shower gel that can be used daily throughout the time your skin is exposed to the sun. And the third phase involves a shower gel that will prolong and maintain the tan which you’ve carefully been cultivating. To learn more, visit www.coloriage-cosmetique.com


A french natural and organic certified cosmetic brand. They have two skin lines, one dedicated for mature or dry, devitalized skin and another for skin beginning to show the first signs of aging. Demain-Nature boasts of a breakthrough formulation of a purely natural hyaluronic acid, a notable anti-ageing ingredient, through the extraction of a selection of algae and plants. The company is a young mother-daughter team based in Toulouse, France and are beginning to slowly introduce their product line abroad. To find out more, visit their site at www.demain-nature.fr 

A few observations from the day:

  • There seems to be an increasing trend in cosmetics that feature products with ingredients based on exotic plant from exotic origins.
  • A lot of cosmetics are designed for anti-aging.
  • I have specifically been looking for day creams that include SPF, and learned today that this combination is more difficult to achieve especially for natural and organic cosmetic companies.
  • Many of the cosmetic products were created by a one or two-person team. I met a lot of creative, entrepreneurial people and found them to be quite inspiring.
  • Skincare products as advertised by old wrinkly men, who ramble too much and smell of cigarettes are not very appealing.
  • There were not as many International based beauty brands present as I would have hoped.

So that closes my first visit to today’s Beyond Beauty Trade Expo.

No, I lied. Actually I’m going to finish today’s post by gushing about my Favorite Find of The Day!

They have nothing to do with skin care. But they are super duper cool.

Introducing Paper Eyelashes by Paperself

They are stenciled paper eyelashes that you put on like any other fake lashes. The stencils are black silhouettes of frilly designs such as flowers, butterflies and even famous London attractions like the London eye. Paperself is a UK based company, created two years ago by a group of fashion and interrior designers. I spoke to one of the main creators of Paperself who humbly alluded to the use of Paperself eyelashes in the movie the Hunger Games (think paper eyelashes on Katniss Everdeen and Effie Trinket).

Paperself were offering free trial samples, so I promptly got in line, curious to see if they would look glamorous or goofy on me.

And as I write this, I am STILL wearing them. I really like how they look. You would think that they could only be taken out on Halloween, but they would fit right in at a super swanky party or a night out in the city. And they can be reused several times.

To find out more, visit their website at www.paperself.com