in-cosmetics Asia - Singapore surprises

Published: 15-Feb-2010

For most people it hadn't been the destination of choice, but for the majority in-cosmetics Asia in Singapore (13-15 October) actually turned out rather better than expected

For most people it hadn't been the destination of choice, but for the majority in-cosmetics Asia in Singapore (13-15 October) actually turned out rather better than expected

in-cosmetics 2009 in Singapore was only about half the size of last year’s event in Bangkok but the majority of exhibitors were pleased with the level of interest, particularly over the first two days. Provisional visitor numbers are 2202, subject to final audit, with a 30% Singapore to 70% international split, which organiser Reed points out represents an increased pool of international visitors. “It’s the kind of split we should be aiming for,” commented Richard Hesk, in-cosmetics group exhibition director. “I think it’s been the right decision to come here and it’s demonstrated it has pull and appeal. I wouldn’t rule out coming back… if we could just make it a bit more cost effective.”

Many of the big supplier names were notable by their absence. There was no Cognis, no BASF, no Evonik… at least they didn’t have stands. Company representatives walked the show but that doesn’t have quite the same effect. In fact there were only a handful of large scale stands and these and many others were constantly busy.

Up front was Dow who was using the event to promote itself as the new Dow. Under the tagline ‘Something beautiful is growing’, Dow Personal Care was presenting itself in its new form. “Over the past six months we have worked diligently to bring together the best of Dow and Rohm and Haas to create a new business, with regional teams focused on understanding local trends and preferences, to anticipate and develop solutions that meet customers’ needs,” commented Clara Goh, business marketing manager in south east Asia. “From a technical point of view Rohm and Haas is making the old Dow stronger,” added Joecy Wu, Dow’s business communications manager.

There were quite a few new exhibitors this year, including several from Korea showing on a Korean pavilion. A number of interesting materials were on show here, some completely new and some new to certain markets. For example, Jemayu was presenting horse oil, which was new to many as a cosmetic material but the company’s principal research scientist Tae Kyoung-Hwan said it has been used for many years in Korea and Japan for its linoleic, gamma linoleic, palmitoleic and oleic acids.

Korean company BST presented a variety of ingredients based on biotransformation technology, cell bio technology, stability and safety technology, and technology from natural extracts, including a natural-based preservative for use in a hand sanitizer that requires no alcohol. Korea’s Macrocare also had a new natural preservative (MC-NP4) based on a tropical plant extract. Also from Korea, biotech company Caregen was introducing new antimicrobial peptides as well as anti-inflammation peptides. And another Korean biotech company, Regeron was exhibiting for the first time at in-cosmetics Asia and claimed it was also the first developer of hGH (human growth hormone), which is said to enter the skin through the pore follicle, stimulating stem cells to improve the condition of the skin. It was launching prolactin and placental lactogen under its NanoClaire trademark.


In fact stem cell technology was a popular feature at this year’s show, but more frequently of plant origin.

In its first Asia show Italy’s IRB was there primarily to look for local distributors, which are never thin on the ground at such shows. “We’ve had a lot of candidates,” said the company’s r&d manager Roberto Dal Toso. “They’re mostly interested in our basic approach which is using a biotechnology approach to producing plants.” The technology is the result of several years’ research and means the company can produce several stem cell lines, some well known and some rarer, such as edelweiss which would otherwise be difficult to produce commercially. “We use just three leaves and from that produce a cell line from which we can grow as many as we need. Once we find the best cell strain that cell goes into large scale production. The cell lines generated can survive for many years in a stable form,” said Dal Toso. “And they have several advantages over plant extracts as the technology overcomes the problems of intrinsic natural variability. We’ve also found that the active substances in stem cells are highly active in biological terms.”

But while the company is using stem cells reproduced from plants Dal Toso was anxious to point out that they’re not stimulating human stem cells. “We’re providing the best possible way to let the skin behave, stopping the acceleration of ageing rather than stopping ageing. Optimisation is much more realistic than looking for the impossible.”

And as products in Asia Pacific become increasingly high tech, peptides have an increasingly important role to play. New from peptide specialist Sederma (Croda) was Idealift, a material containing a lipodipeptide that stimulates elastin synthesis and is claimed to combat sagging by stimulating elastin synthesis. After two months’ use skin is said to appear four years’ firmer.

DSM also offers a wide range of targeted peptides through its Pentapharm portfolio. New was Syn-Glycan, a tripeptide which also targets sagging. DSM describes it as a needle-free hyaluronan booster that increases decorin and lumican levels.

New to the exhibition was United Technologies with DermatoPoietin [interleukin-1 alpha], a 159 amino acid polypeptide produced by recombinant technology. It is said to stimulate the renewal and restructuring of human skin, triggering a cascade of signalling molecules, and has a broad spectrum of activities including anti-ageing, anti-cellulite and treatment of hair loss. “It changes the skin to renewal mode and gets hair to adopt the anagen phase,” explained Peter Schoch, research & product development director with the company. “It’s probably the most effective cosmeceutical.”

The company commercialises its own line in Switzerland under the DermatoPoietin brand and said it would only sell the material under licence agreement. “We need to make sure this is used properly and products need to carry the trade mark,” added Schoch. “This is not for the mass market.”

Also not for the mass market is Viqua from Axialys Innovations. “We always work on an exclusivity basis,” explained Liliana Todorinova, technical manager, Axialys. “We want long-term and close relationships with partners who can invest and dedicate a brand.” Viqua is described as an all-in-one skin management solution from 100% pomegranate extract. A nano-delivery system is said to enable mitochondrial level cell penetration with the result being a powerful whitening, anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory material that can be used in both cosmetic and food applications. “In Asia consumers want an all-in-one solution,” said Todorinova. Until recently the ingredient was exclusive to a customer in Japan who used Viqua as the brand name and the company is now looking for new customers in south east Asia.

One of Viqua’s functions is whitening and of course there were plenty of whitening options around the show, this being huge business in all areas of cosmetics and personal care in Asia. One option from Lucas Meyer was Whitessence, extracted from jackfruit, or nangka, seeds and said to inhibit the transfer of melanin from melanocytes to keratinocytes. The proteins from the seeds are said to inhibit melanosome phagocytosis and have a significant lightening effect.

In fact visitors were almost deprived of this material. “We weren’t going to come at all but then we had the opportunity to be part of the French pavilion,” said sales representative Mickaël Michel. “And I think people came looking for French materials and French companies.”

Certainly like the Korean section, the French pavilion, generously supported by Ubifrance, attracted much interest.

Essential oils and natural extracts supplier Biolandes was also exhibiting in the French section. “We went to Thailand without support last year but we wouldn’t have come this year without it,” commented sales manager Benoît Lemont. “This is a smaller exhibition but we’ve had about the same number of contacts as last year.”


French natural ingredients were definitely of interest but it wasn’t only the French going the natural route. While the trend in Asia is not as pervasive as in the west there is increasing activity.

“A lot of people have come to our stand saying ‘I’m looking for natural ingredients’,” said Tom Fontana, director specialty products with US company Arizona Chemical.

Think of Dow Corning and you think of silicones but the company was also promoting natural solutions in the form of a soy wax and a soy wax blend. The wax can be used as a structurant for a range of cosmetic oils. The blend combines the soy wax with hydrogenated soybean oil and was developed as an alternative to petrolatum.

New for Asia from Induchem were natural Unispheres, which are all Ecocert certified. “That’s the first phase. The next phase will probably be Cosmos,” commented Induchem’s Franz Klug. The carbohydrate-based spherical beads used as visual cosmetic carriers are based on bamboo-derived cellulose and xylitol. They are hard and solid in bulk but soft and crushable with a gentle rub-out in the finished product. Colours and ingredient content can be customised.

Japan’s Ichimaru Pharcos featured a new Japanese algae extract, Eisenia Veil B, said to promote the production of ceramide and filaggrin and improve the condition of dry skin. Also new was Proteoglycan IPC, said to have an epidermal growth factor-like function to activate skin cells’ metabolism and help recapture moist, youthful skin. It was also promoting its Ecofarm series of Ecocert certified cosmetic materials.


While Ecocert is still the most widely used standard, the newly developed European Cosmos standard is going to become more familiar to formulators and marketers. Aldivia was showing a range of organic certified surfactants that can be used to formulate some products that will meet Cosmos natural and organic standards.

“SLES has a very bad name these days,” pointed out Teo Ku Ming, senior business development analyst, Novecare with Rhodia, whose answer to this is petrochemical-free SLES Rhodapex ESB 70 NAT [sodium laureth sulfate 2 EO] made from Bio-EO. Also new and developed specially for the Asia market was Dermalcare MAP, a naturally derived mild surfactant cleanser, while for a squeaky clean, popular in Asia, Miracare SLB 413 is a rheology control technology based on surfactant liquid crystals that deliver uniquely textured products.

Developing materials for local markets is an increasing focus for international suppliers. Croda Singapore only recently expanded from being a manufacturing site to develop technologies focused on Asia requirements. It has now put out two patents on products that are both built around emulsion processes that work with cold systems. They combine low cost with low energy technologies. MixXin Me makes ‘one pot cold process’ emulsions possible and it is said to emulsify virtually anything. “It’s different thinking and not what the market is used to. Rather than high energy and heat it’s paddle mixer, low energy and cold. I think we have a leading technology here,” commented David Dowdell, director, enterprise technology & marketing, Asia Pacific for Croda.

Seoul in South Korea had been hotly tipped to be the 2010 venue for in-cosmetics Asia, but in a turnaround on the last day of the show it was announced that it would be returning to Bangkok, Thailand next year. Bangkok is certainly a more affordable destination and attracts visitors from all over the region, particularly south east Asia.

So make a date in your diary for 16-18 November 2010. And for more information visit


“We didn’t know what to expect but we’ve been really busy – we’re delighted,” commented Philip Tait, director of TensaChem at the close of this year’s show.

“As with in-cosmetics in Munich this year, companies sent fewer people but they’re good quality and they’re decision makers,” added DSM’s Goede Schueler, senior global business manager for skin care.

“There’s no doubt that Singapore is a melting pot but getting customers here is another matter,” pointed out Rhodia’s Adrian Chen. “I’ve seen a lot of new faces but not many real buyers and this is also a time when you see acquaintances. We’re not seeing our major key accounts; its expensive so they’re not coming. China or Thailand are the best spots. People get bored if it’s there too often but they’re cost effective places.”

“It has been really positive,” said Induchem’s director of international sales for Asia, Franz Klug. “We were surprised on the first day and the second day, and today [the traditionally quieter final day] is still strong. We’ve seen very few Japanese and no Chinese but I guess China now has its own show [PCHi] and we’ll be represented there.”

“We’re here for the first time but I know we’ll be back,” said Tom Fontana, director specialty products, Arizona Chemical.

“We haven’t seen too many customers as there isn’t a lot of manufacturing in Singapore whereas in Bangkok there are a lot of customers,” pointed out Yoshihiko Ando, ceo & president, Ichimaru Pharcos. But like many company’s, Ichimaru was also using the occasion of the show for distributor meetings.

“There aren’t as many customers as in Bangkok but most people here are serious. We’ve seen people from the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia and they’re people who want to develop products for next year,” said Daniel Hadiwijaya, country manager (Indonesia), 3V Sigma.

“You can’t go to Bangkok every year. We had a good year there last year but it’s largely a local show,” said John Lofthouse, director global sales & marketing, CLR.


This was the second year for in-cosmetics Asia’s Imagine showcase, sponsored by SPC Asia. This year’s natural theme was felt to be much more accessible than last year’s more conceptual angle.

Aldivia said it met a lot of people on its Imagine booth who would then be directed to the main Aldivia stand.

Dow Corning found it useful to use Imagine to introduce its soy wax products. “There’s no silicone in this product so this is a good way to present it,” commented technical specialist Vishal Joshi.

A less familiar name in cosmetics, Total Fuides, was testing the market in Imagine to introduce its Gemseal range of eco-lipids extracted from precious mineral sources and promising great sensorial emolliency.

Gattefossé had both a regular stand and an Imagine booth but was using the Imagine slot to demonstrate and share knowledge of formulations and textures. A texture bar featured examples of different qualities of products using Ecocert certified ingredients. “Natural products often don’t feel good but we have specific ingredients to improve stability and feeling,” explained operational marketing manager Laurent Schubnel.

“I think people prefer to visit our stand but that probably depends on your stand and you can’t miss ours,” said DSM’s South China account manager, Norman Liu. “But we’re hoping to present a good marketing image to our customers here.”


This much in demand one-day workshop was sold out and of the 134 delegates that did manage to secure a place 95% said they would recommend it to colleagues.

A major draw was keynote speaker Shisiedo’s Shinji Inomata. Beginning with a quick overview of the skin’s mechanism with respect to dark spots and darkening skin, he discussed the approach his company takes when tackling the problem and developing products guaranteed to reduce pigmentation, ensuring product safety and efficacy.

Alain Khaiat, Seers Consulting, outlined the diverse regulations set by governments of the region, discussing drawbacks and confusion surrounding skin whitening products as formulators try to tackle restrictions from different areas.

John Staton of Dermatest looked at the range of language used – whitening, brightening, lightening – as well as marketing claims and substantiation.

Consultant dermatologist, Cheong Wai Kwong provided a professional medical view. He acknowledged that cosmetic formulators had increased the efficacy of products and that the consumer is experiencing the benefit. Meanwhile medical research into more efficient treatments also continues.

The afternoon focused on new active ingredients. Lipotec’s Jose Maria Garcia Anton pointed out that while many potentially promising new actives are tested only a few are launched due to efficacy and safety issues.

Hong Soh Bee, Sederma, presented GM-CSF as a new target for cosmetic activity in skin brightening, while Alain Khaiat, speaking on behalf of Rakuto Bio Technologies, presented a new fast working enzyme that identifies the melanin in the upper layer of the skin and specifically decomposes the pigment without affecting melanin biosynthesis.

DSM’s Christine Saecker examined combinations of vitamins C, H and B3 and the synergistic results achieved using their differing actions. She discussed different skin types and ethnic differences in photo ageing.

Looking at the use of sunscreens to protect the skin from developing dark colour, Jonathan Stott of Croda examined safety aspects of using a sunscreen in conjunction with actives to ensure the skin is protected when exposed to sunlight. He discussed new technology for inorganic sunscreens to enhance the photo stability of organic sunscreens in order to obtain high UVA and UVB protection.

The final paper of the day took a slightly different approach, looking at helping the formulator design the correct formulation to achieve repeat purchase. No matter how efficient a skin whitener is, if the consumer doesn’t like the skin feel or physical form of the product they won’t continue to use it, said Dow Corning’s Isabelle Van Reeth, who suggested a practical overview of formulation ideas.


In addition to the skin whitening conference, organisers offered a cosmetic regulations and safety assessment workshop which, like the whitening conference, was completely sold out. For those seeking more one-to-one advice, ‘Ask the Experts’ clinics were another option, with Alain Khaiat, director of Seers Consulting and president of Singapore’s cosmetics association CTFAS, the most sought after expert for his vast knowledge of cosmetic regulations in Asia.

Other expert advice was on hand through marketing trend presentations and supplier innovation seminars.

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