We know the heritage brands that front our favourite beauty products, but have you ever wondered about the folks who actually formulate them? Cosmetica Laboratories Inc, is a custom innovation house and cosmetic manufacturing company developing breakthrough beauty products for the world’s most iconic brands (though specific clients are propriety, we can tell you they work with about 60% of the brands you see in Sephora). A global leader with a manufacturing facility in Toronto and an Innovation Hub in Los Angeles, they specialise in research, development and manufacturing colour cosmetics, skin, hair, and personal care products, and collaborate with established, iconic brands and high-profile market entrants to create innovative products. We had the opportunity to chat with Maria Osorio, director of marketing and product development, for a revealing look at Cosmetica behind-the-scenes! (Psst: she filled us in on trends to watch for in 2023!) —Noa Nichol
Hello Maria! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I am a creative strategist with a 15-year love affair with the beauty industry. My career began in the beauty start-up world back in South America, and I have slowly moved up north looking for the next adventure. I am currently the director of marketing and product development at Cosmetica Labs in Toronto, where we co-create the future beauty products with the world’s most notable indie and heritage brands.
When and why was Cosmetica Laboratories Inc. launched? What does the company do, and what niche was/is it aiming to fill?
Cosmetica was founded 30 years ago in Canada, as a cosmetic manufacturing and custom innovation house. The goal was to develop breakthrough, high-quality beauty products for the world’s most iconic brands. Cosmetica specializes in product development and manufacturing for color cosmetics, skincare, and personal care. Our extensive team of experts collaborates with established brands and high-profile market entrants to create award-winning formulas.
Are you able to let us in on any of the iconic brands that Cosmetica Laboratories develops products for?
As a manufacturing partner, we must always respect the privacy of our customers. So, that is a tough one, as I am not able to disclose. But let’s say, if you walk into a major beauty retailer, 60 per cent of the brands you see have at least one product developed and manufactured by Cosmetica. So, I would say that I have had the pleasure of working with the viral indie, the traditional icon and everything in-between.
What types of products does it focus on, and what does the process look like (in terms of working with a client on developing a new product)?
Our core competencies are colour cosmetics and skincare, although we compete in hair and body products as well. Our process usually starts in the marketing and product development department where we invite customers to discuss category innovation, market trends, and potential opportunities. The customer then submits a brief to our R&I lab to bring the texture to life, while our packaging team identifies the perfect component for the project. The approved formula is rigorously tested, including stability, compatibility, and even clinical and SPF testing. Once the requirements are met, we transition to production, where the final product is manufactured with modular technology and assessed for outstanding quality. That is how your favourite beauty products are born.
How does Cosmetica Laboratories help established beauty brands innovate, and remain relevant?
Our Marketing Department has a team exclusively dedicated to market and trend analysis. We launch semi-annual product collections to our customers focused on texture, colour, and new active ingredients to inspire them. This sparks all sorts of conversations around the future of beauty and helps our customers fuel their product innovation pipelines.
As a beauty expert, can you give us a glimpse into key upcoming beauty trends, formulations and ingredients that will be seen in 2023?
In 2023, we will see a lot more colour expression for eye and lip combined with a natural skin look. In other words, minimalist skin with maximalist colour features. We will also see an evolution around the childhood nostalgia trend, known on social as #kidulting. This evolution is about this “kid” becoming a teenager, with a focus on nightlife, party culture and free-spirited fun with bold colours, hyper sensorial and transforming textures. As for the ingredients, brands will incorporate in their formulas a combination of actives to provide both product instant gratification to consumers as well as desired long-term results. Science-backed and sustainable actives will play a critical role in fulfilling consumer expectations.
What are, in your opinion, five beauty ingredients we should watch out for in the new year, and what they will do for our skin?
I would say there are three key ingredient groups to follow:
- The first group would be upcycled superfoods. These materials are repurposed to eliminate waste as part of a circular economy practice. Many of these actives are focused on delivering antioxidant properties to promote healthy aging. Top ingredient manufacturing companies are even using artificial intelligence to run predictive studies for ingredient efficacy.
- That leads me to the second group. Clinically proven ingredients with quantitative results that go beyond consumer surveys. These science-backed ingredients are thoroughly assessed through protocols where there is no space for subjectivity. These ingredients target specific skin concerns such as wrinkles, dark spots, fine lines, and acne.
- The third one is what I like to call the old faithful group. All these hero ingredients that are proven to work and are still relevant to consumers and formulators. Niacinamide, HA, Retinol, you name it.
Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2023 is Viva Magenta, a crimson red. Will we see more of this shade in makeup?
Of course, we will. You know every year Pantone drives a lot of product development around their colour of the year and 2023 will not be different. Viva Magenta also speaks to a long evolution of red shades that we have been seeing in colour cosmetics over the last couple of years. So, we will see this colour range not only in lip products but eye as well, with bold eyeshadow, mascara, and eyeliner launches.
What is the latest and greatest in terms of natural, organic, non-toxic, and sustainable cosmetics?
Year over year, as consumers become more knowledgeable, retailers must respond to their expectations. Each major retailer has a list of restrictions that brands need to follow often referred to as the blacklist. These lists drive the direction of the market making each new generation of products cleaner, safer, more naturally derived, and sustainable. Lately, I am seeing many creative sustainable formats to reduce waste such as solid, refillable, and component-free products. In addition collaborative initiatives are unfolding between brands, retailers and external entities to drive positive change.
Virtual storefronts and showrooms, gaming integrations, and the NFT boom: more and more, we are seeing beauty crossing the divide between physical and digital worlds. Can you speak to this a little bit more, especially in terms of how we can expect to interact digitally with our beauty products and trends in 2023 and beyond?
The line between digital and physical spaces is blurred more than ever. Both realities are becoming one big dimension where digital imitates the physical world but makes it more perfect, while physical integrates digitally inspired fantasies. Some digital retail aspects in the beauty world such as virtual try-ons and AI powered personalization are slowly becoming threshold attributes for consumers, as they expect brands to create more tools to facilitate their decision-making process. And from those aspects, the one I find the most interesting is the AI powered personalization, where a simple questionnaire can shade-match your perfect foundation or create a five-step skincare routine specially customized for your specific concerns. This is something that brands will be adopting more and more as part of their retail strategies.
Personal question: what are you most looking forward to, beauty wise, in 2023?
There is a big movement around natural beauty and non-invasive treatment alternatives to cosmetic procedures. I am looking forward to seeing new launches in the market following this “tweakment” trend. Needle-less Botox substitutes better known as “no-tox” ingredients, plumping and filling natural actives, and innovative tools to complement hero skincare products are a few examples of what we should expect to see.
Win! An $800 Beauty Prize Pack From Cosmetica Laboratories!
Congrats Lillian B. of Hants County, NS, who will receive an approximately $800 beauty prize pack from Cosmetica Laboratories, including the next generation of beauty product innovations! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.