MakeUp in World

2025 February, 12 & 13

LA Convention Center

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Cosmetic applicators: how to make the right choice?

MakeUp in LosAngeles 2019

On next February 8th, from 2:30 to 4 pm, you’ll know (almost) everything you always wanted to know (without daring to ask) about the most widely used cosmetic applicators. Seven experts will provide a comprehensive view about:
– What are the most important parameters for each technology?
– What are the growth drivers influencing the category?
– What are the most notable innovations in the field?

The first debate will be dedicated to the mascara applicators.
The second one will concentrate on applicators for tubes, pens and airless systems.
The last –but not least – of the round tables will cover makeup brushes…
Not to be missed!
Overview presentation and moderation by Gerald Martines, founder of IN•SIGNES, consultants in Strategy, Marketing and Innovation.

MakeUp in…™: Perhaps more than in any other category, the Mascara science is determined by the intimate interaction between the three fundamental elements of any cosmetic product: that is the trio Formula-Applicator-Packaging. What do you think?

Gerald Martines: Starting with the formula, of course, which drives the target application – be it lengthening, curling, defining, coloring or any combination thereof. But the formula alone can do little without the proper applicator, which determines how much of the formula should be sampled from the bottle (in combination with the wiper – this is the role of the pack), and how it is distributed and applied onto the lashes.
It is commonsense wisdom that the applicator must be closely paired with the formula to obtain the looked-after result, but, even more significantly, the professionals know that using the same formula with different applicators delivers strikingly different results, hence illustrating the critical role of the applicator, which is not here merely ‘at the service’ of the formula, but an equal partner in the diligent service of the beautista.
This notion is at the heart of some recent initiatives proposing a system of mix-and-match between a set of formulas and a collection of applicators, providing the expert user with a ‘made to measure’ solution, highly valued by the younger generations.

MakeUp in…™: But does innovation, which has been boiling intensely for years and decades on the field of the applicator, stop there?

Gerald Martines: Certainly not! Many initiatives explore improvements to the ergonomics, challenging and renewing the age-old application gesture, seeking clues from professional makeup artists and putting them at the reach of the ‘girl next door’. Similarly Brands and Manufacturers alike invest a lot of thoughts and energy in providing even more ways to personalize the application, through adjustable wiping systems, variable geometry applicators und so weiter.
To learn more come and meet some of the world greatest experts in the field that will share their insights about how this seemingly borderless category still has many surprises in store.

MakeUp in…™: The second round table will be dedicated on applicators for tubes, pens and airless systems. A lot of innovation here also?

Gerald Martines: This is another category that has seen a giant burst of creativity over the past few years. Obviously tubes are an ubiquitous cosmetic packaging, capable of containing, protecting and delivering almost any makeup or skincare product. Tubes’ convenience, protection performance and competitiveness have been known for decades and are the driving reasons for their sustained success.
One area where tubes could do a better job, however, was in the application of the formula – and this is where Brands and Manufacturers have invested a great deal of creativity and innovation recently, to the point that now the choice is almost infinite. As a matter of fact, since you are handling and pressing the tube, why not directly applying the formula onto the dedicated area of the face or body, rather than transferring it to a separate brush… or most frequently the finger – The finger is undoubtedly a highly flexible applicator, which we all come equipped with by birth, but which also comes with its own limitations in terms of cleanliness, reachability, texture, temperature and so on.
Hence the motivation to develop brushes, spatulas, rollers, sponges, and nozzles of all kind and all dimensions to accommodate and optimize the application and efficiency of the formula.
The efficiency is, by the way, a rich field of research since it has been shown that the efficacy of a skincare formula (and most makeup products nowadays encompass at least some degree of skincare ingredients) depends to almost equal parts upon what it contains – the actives – and on how it is applied. The cooling effect of a metal or ceramic applicator, for example, greatly enhances an eye contour treatment, whereas the massaging effect of a properly designed silicon spatula or rollers boosts the epidermis capability to assimilate and make the most of the formula’s active ingredients.
It is then so surprise to see the recent developments of this burgeoning category; we could only wonder what take us so long to get there! And this new applicator bonanza doesn’t stop at the tube, but could as well be fitted to airless dispensers, twist/click pens and more.
Some of the greatest experts in this highly dynamic field will share their insights about how we can improve convenience and efficacy of tubes and the likes, and what to expect in the near future.

MakeUp in…™: The last – but not least – of the round tables will cover makeup brushes…

Gerald Martines: Makeup brushes seem to have been around forever, so, one could think, they must have reached their canonical form and the asymptote of perfection. Well… one should never underestimate the creativity and passion for innovation of the specialists, and the category is actually extremely dynamic.
Like for any other applicator category, experts are still improving the performances of brushes in significant ways, by fine-tuning their ergonomics and functionality and inventing clever new shapes to reach even the most remote and tricky parts of our Face’s convoluted geometry – a painter’s canvas is indeed no match, on that respect, for our eyelids or eyebrows!
But the field is also dominated by an ongoing effort to replace natural hair by synthetic fibers. Indeed consumers are more and more inclined toward protecting those cute sables and squirrels out there, and vegan and cruelty-free activists have a great influence on the industry. Well OK but as it turns out this is not so easy! Animal hair have great qualities after all, and our caring beautistas are not prepared to compromise on their performance expectations, even for the sake of these gentle beasts. And this has been perhaps a quite invisible challenge ongoing for some time: the industry was behaving like the proverbial Duck, apparently calm over he surface, but paddling furiously underwater. The good news is that solutions are now becoming available and, as often, are even capable of going beyond the performance of natural hair. Low retention fibers deliver a higher payoff of product while wasting less and being easier to clean; fibers loaded with charcoal or copper provide a welcome anti-bacterial effects without the adverse properties of the once popular silver ions; and fibers infused with skincare actives complement the color-cosmetic effect by actually doing good to our skin! – to cite only a few.

Be welcome to come in great numbers to hear the predicament of some of the industry best experts at this fascinating round table.