Look, I’m fairly confident navigating a drug store beauty aisle and the gleaming booths of prestige makeup at Sephora, but attending an event like the CEW Beauty Award Product Demo really hits you in the face with the fact that when it comes to the sheer volume of beauty products available, you can never truly know it all.

Beauty is a huge industry in the U.S., as I noted in my last Buzz Bin post. Last month, I was able to attend the CEW Beauty Awards Product Demo, an annual event that showcases the most innovative beauty products of the year. Winners of the award are selected by CEW’s U.S. members – 9,000+ beauty industry professionals. I was able to get front and center with some pretty fantastic new products before I went cross-eyed from the dizzying number of items that were yet to be experienced. In the past, I’ve attended this event as an exhibitor. This was the first year I was an attendee (and yes, I did snag a great gift bag). These are some of my key takeaways:

Natural Products are Here to Stay

Every row of tightly packed PR reps that I wandered down was home to a bevy of beauty products that boasted natural ingredients. “Natural” products are here to stay, and they’re taking a larger share of the beauty market each year. Among my conversations with various product reps, phrases such as “paraben-free” were stated more often than they weren’t.

“Natural” products are here to stay, and they’re taking a larger share of the beauty market each year. Click To Tweet

Indie is In           

One of the categories at this year’s product demo was “indie,” which CEW states “celebrates the creativity, originality and entrepreneurial spirit at independent beauty brands.” The number of products featured at the demo was staggering; it was also one of the most densely packed sections I experienced. Though the category has been around for a few years, 2017 was the first year there were separate categories for indie makeup, indie skincare, and indie fragrance. Judging from 2018’s turnout, I can only assume further expansion of the indie beauty industry is inevitable.

Online Retail is, of course, Taking Over the World

A secondary observation I made throughout my time amongst the indie brands was that they were principally available online. Sephora, of course, was the name heard most frequently when I asked about retail options, but it was secondary to availability via online store. This to me is interesting from a brand marketing/PR perspective; for smaller brands, the true value of these events lies in the opportunity to get the word out about your product when an in-store product experience is not an option.

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