Takeaways From the 2017 Natural Cosmetics Conference | Naturkosmetik Branchenkongress

Some of the major takeaways from the anniversary edition of the Natural Cosmetics Conference.

The 2017 Natural Cosmetics Conference took place September 26-27 at the Ellington Hotel in Berlin.
Presented here are some of the major takeaways for those who attended the conference – and for those who missed it:
1. Trends and challenges
2. Sustainable packaging
3. Digitalisation, data and e-commerce

The Natural & Organic Cosmetics Conference returns September 25-26, 2018Don’t miss it in 2018!
Moleskines out:
The Natural & Organic Cosmetics Conference returns September 25-26, 2018.

Note the notation that appears new to me: Natural and Organic.
This is actually a more accurate translation of the German title due to the language asymmetry between German and English. The German word “Naturkosmetik” translates precisely as “natural cosmetics”, however, the term itself comprises both the natural and the organic cosmetics. The abbreviation “NK” that many German beauty bloggers use can refer to certified organic cosmetics or to brands self-identifying as natural cosmetics.
One of the rare cases in which a German expression is shorter than an English one. Take that, (dearest) Mark Twain! 😉

Takeaways and Highlights
From the 2017 Natural Cosmetics Conference


The 10th Natural Cosmetics Conference was the first to be accompanied by an attendee-exclusive and password-protected app. The app offered a neatly arranged overview of the programme, the speakers’ profiles, access to on-the-fly live polls and a truly helpful, introvert-friendly feature that enabled attendees to ask questions comfortably via text message.

Programme chair and event organiser Wolf Lütge, programme chairwoman and conference founder Elfriede Dambacher
Programme chair and event organiser Wolf Lütge, programme chairwoman and conference founder Elfriede Dambacher

As per the conference’s very own tradition, day one kicked off with Elfriede Dambacher’s (naturkosmetik konzepte) data breakdown.

Bottom line: the saturated cosmetics market benefits from the growth of the natural and organic cosmetics segment that doubled the market volume over the last decade; with the long history sustainability has here, Germany is unsurprisingly the strongest European market. Product trends include free-from and/ or waterless formulas, versatile formulations and customisable products; with sustainability – in the broader meaning – being a “trend” in itself. Consumers have more access to information and higher product and experience expectations as well.

But not only was the conference celebrating its 10th instalment, there was another important jubilarian to be mentioned – the iPhone. The advent of the iPhone changed the way we behave, move and live online forever and drove the innovation that keeps making, breaking, disrupting and challenging businesses and industries today.

“Essentially, there are two forces that the industry needs to stand up to: the worldwide increase of demand – and digitalization. They are affecting the entire market and changing not only the purchasing behavior.“
– Elfriede Dambacher


An excellent breakdown of lifecycle accessment benchmarks and best practices for sustainable packaging was delivered by Alan Campbell (The LCA Centre), busting indefensible sustainability claims and warning brands from accepting packaging supplyer claims unverified. A holistic approach to sustainable packaging should include all the facets of sustainability – toxicity control, circular economy practices, the use of clean energy in the process, litter considerations on the “green” side, and on the “sense and sensibility” side: product protection, possible packaging innovation, aesthetics and design.
The scientific approach received strong emotional support during the fierce Sea Shepherd – Marine Debris Campaigner presentation. The (micro)plastic problem isn’t going anywhere and affects us all without exceptions, and there is still a lot of plastic in use across the industries.


Natural Cosmetics Conference, the app
Natural Cosmetics Conference, the app

Karel J. Golta (INDEED Innovation) tied together packaging and digitalisation challenges in his talk on digital packaging, adding another dimension to Alan Campbell’s holistic approach. UX is the future – such is the main takeaway (be still, my geek heart, for customer journeys in the digital age are a big passion of mine).

The importance of mastering e-commerce – with 10% growth in 2016, the fastest growing sales channel – and the data was highlighted in the presentation by Stefan Bures (metoda) “Setting the course for the future”. Just like Google is THE search engine (NB: nothing against Google, heyyyy Google 😉 but remember you can also use Ecosia.org and help support reforestation projects), Amazon is THE PRODUCT search engine, period. In the US, 55% start their product search directly on Amazon, and 28% only make use of search engines.

So, what’s the next stop in terms of natural cosmetics?
Vivaness 2018 of course. See you in Nuremberg!


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at BEAUTYCALYPSE.com (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)