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April 23, 2020

The Biggest Natural Beauty Trends at the World’s Largest Organic Skincare Expo

Wanna know what natural beauty trends will be hitting your #shelfie soon? Our insider scoop from Vivaness, the world’s largest organic skincare expo.


Once a year, the buzzing center of the global organic beauty industry lies right at my doorstep. Or rather, a five-hour train ride away, but close enough for me to definitely not miss the Vivaness 2020 in Nuremberg, a city in Bavaria known for its medieval city center and delicious herb-infused fried sausages sold at market stalls everywhere.


A part of the much larger and even more influential Biofach trade expo, the Vivaness has become the main event to attend if you are serious about organic, sustainable beauty products. Since this is a trade expo, attendance is strictly regulated, and you need to show that you are an industry professional. Luckily, I was able to receive press accreditation as a blogger and thus could attend, after jumping through a few hoops in regards to the quality of my blogging content.


This was in early February, and even though COVID-19 was already a topic discussed in hushed voices back then, the reality of it all hadn’t even remotely hit home for most of us in the beauty industry. I must admit it all now seems like a surreal experience, being so close to so many people from all over the world, chatting and shaking hands, nerding out about skincare together and feeling so safe and worry-free.


Thus, I am feeling somewhat wistful and yet also happy sharing my experiences from this beautiful industry get-together with you all today! There were a few overarching natural beauty trends I noticed while walking from booth to booth, and I think they will be quite significant in the coming months not just in the organic beauty world but for the wider global beauty industry.



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Solid skincare


Soaps were everywhere at the Vivaness, and “solid skincare” one of the buzziest terms thrown around by pretty much all the brands I visited. I spoke to Katharina Bürger, co-founder of German-Korean soap brand BINU Beauty, and she laughingly noted that it feels strange to suddenly be seen as a trendsetter for something that seemed old-fashioned to many just a few years ago. Soaps were often regarded as something your grandma keeps in her drawers to scent her laundry, with fancy shower gels and facial cleansers in milk or gel form the preferred medium.


With zero waste and eco-conscious packaging becoming more and more crucial in the fight to save our planet, soaps are back in style and more modern and skin-friendly than ever before. Using a bar of soap instead of lavishly packaged bath products from head to toe reduces waste to a minimum, especially when many organic brands use simple outer cardboard packaging and nothing else.




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But soap is just the beginning when it comes to skincare solutions in bar form. I noticed not only solid shampoo and conditioner bars from a number of brands, but even solid deodorants, perfumes, “shower gels” in bar form (which use more gentle cleansing agents than regular soap), and teeth cleansing “tablets.”





Hemp has been used in organic skincare for a long time, but thanks to the recent popularity of CBD oil, it’s made a surprise comeback as a new It ingredient. A number of brands use either hemp-based products such as hemp seed oil or even actual CBD oil in their products.


So, what’s the difference between regular ol’ hemp and CBD? Well, CBD — short for cannabidiol — is a chemical compound of the hemp plant, but unlike marijuana, another type of hemp, it is not psychoactive. Nevertheless, CBD is said to create a feeling of relaxation and calmness when taken orally, so it calms down without giving a high. When brands refer to hemp in skincare, they usually mean hemp seed oil or hemp extract, which does not contain any CDB or psychoactive components.






Hemp seed oil is a great skincare oil, rich in omega fatty acids and wonderfully nourishing for dry, cracked skin. I must say that I am still somewhat confused about the benefits of CBD for the skin, but the trend is pretty unstoppable at the moment — I suspect the benefits are pretty much similar to those of hemp extract or oil. Many brands sell both organic CBD oil for consumption as well as skincare products, especially rich salves and thicker creams targeted at very dry skin.





Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future protests she started have really brought new life to the eco-conscious movement, and sustainability was an issue pretty much every brand I visited consciously addressed.


Some of the measures implemented to reduce waste were the use of recycled and recyclable materials; biodegradable, plant-derived materials such as Codex’s amazing packaging made from eucalyptus; and biodegradable soy ink for their cardboard packaging. Bioturm, a German organic brand, uses cardboard made out of grass for their solid shampoo bars, which I found endlessly fascinating!



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Sheet masks were extremely popular at the Vivaness, but of course many organic brands are striving to find biodegradable or low waste versions. Taiwanese organic brand Naveen has been a pioneer in that regard, though I do find their sheet materials to be a little bit too thick and stiff, if I’m being honest. I also saw reusable sheet masks made from cloth at the expo, but I don’t know how I feel about those. Supposedly, you can just wash them and use them with toners or serums, but I wonder if the material won’t absorb too much of the product?



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Asian organic beauty


I was so happy to see many Asian organic brands represented at the Vivaness, and you could tell that visitors were very excited about them. Not only did I catch up with beloved organic K-beauty brands Whamisa, CHOBS, and URANG, I also saw some very cool Taiwanese and even Japanese organic brands showing at the trade expo.



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Speaking of Whamisa: There is so much exciting new stuff coming out from this organic K-beauty superstar! They are overhauling pretty much their entire product range and adding a number of new products, such as a trio of lovely face mists and facial oils. And K-beauty darling CHOBS is launching their organic ginseng skincare line soon, with the organic ginseng serum an instant favorite of mine (they gave me a little sample size to try out).



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Apart from Naveen, who were showing a very cool new organic sunscreen with a lovely lightweight texture, Inna Organic was another winner from Taiwan attending the Vivaness. Their sheet masks are some of the thinnest, best fitting masks I’ve tried from any organic brand! I was particularly drawn to their essential oil-free Green Tea Rose Hydrosol Sheet Mask, which is great for fragrance-sensitive skin.



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Japanese organic brand ARTQ Organic is another one of those brands that just warm my heart with their sincerity and passion for sustainable beauty. The brand founder, Annels Azusa, is a certified aromatherapist and uses her extensive knowledge to create beautifully elegant essential oil blends for ARTQ Organic. My favorite product from the brand is the delightfully thick, hydrating Aloe and Rose Fresh Toner, which can easily compete with my favorite K-beauty toners.


I feel so privileged to have been able to attend this very special trade expo, given the global mayhem that followed soon after, with pretty much all other beauty expos cancelled for the next few months. Organic beauty has always been a trendsetter, and now that sustainability and eco-friendliness have become a mainstream phenomenon, I suspect that the industry will only continue to grow its influence.


What natural beauty trends are you excited about?



Ulrike has been fascinated by skincare since her teenage years. Her love for both writing and beauty led her to start her blog, “Sugarpeaches…loves”, where she writes in both German and English about Asian, indie and niche brands, as well as European pharmacy gems and organic skincare. She also started her own podcast, The K-Beauty Podcast, which apparently makes a lot of people fall asleep — a fact that she sees as a compliment and totally not a worrying commentary on her content or voice qualities. You can also find her on Instagram @sugarpeachesloves!




Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

I love this natural, clean beauty movement! Sustainability is so important for our planet today. I am interested in the organic sheet masks.


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

I love the ingredient hemp for the skin. It helps to calm inflamed and irritated skin. It’s so beneficial for dry skin, I love it!


I am so excited to see where the future of all things beauty goes!


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

I’d love to attend that expo next year if they’re having one!! Expos are my favorite!! I love the education you get from the vendors and the products they have available!


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

What an amazing expo! So glad there is are a variety of eco-friendly skincare brands! I am excited to see CBD in skincare because of its anti-inflammatory benefits.


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

I love the eco-friendly and minimal packaging options! If we can do better to help the planet, why not?! Natural brands are so much more innovative these days, its not your grandma's bar of soap any more!

Becky I.

My facial cleanser is actually a bar soap that I've been using for almost two years in my attempts to be organic/sustainable. I'm glad there are more options- I actually love bar soaps!
This article was so intriguing and I'm cheered up to think that certain companies are trying to launch biodegradable sheet masks- will definitely have to bookmark this page for future reference. It seems that the Taiwanese and Japanese companies you mentioned are courageous enough to innovate and experiment more with natural/sustainable options.


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

I love this article! I’m so excited about the direction skincare is going because I’m a big fan of organic/natural products as well as packaging that will help the environment. I used to use a bar of soap when I was younger to cleanse my insanely oily skin. It worked until I started getting older and my skin changed and became more dry. At this point soaps were too harsh and I had to switch it up. I would actually love to use soaps again so it makes me happy to see that they are being reborn with gentle ... Read more


I think the newer "solid shower gels" as they are called here in Germany are often based on gentler surfactants than classical soaps - I'm sure they will soon be more widespread worldwide! I'm rather excited about the new solid shampoos and intend to try some of them out soon. Reminds me of my 20s, when everything in my bathroom was a soap-like, solid product from Lush. They were quite the pioneers in that regard, although that Jungle solid conditioner was a bit of a mess back then, to be honest...


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

Such an amazing and informative editorial! I can’t wait to try out all of these brands! I have seen and heard about a lot of these trends and it is amazing how quickly the beauty community has capitalized and embraced them all!


Thank you for the kind words! I agree, it's always amazing how fast those trends start to influence the broader beauty community!