BEAUTY After a pause due to the pandemic, Expo West returns with new trends in beauty and health, writes Elyse Glickman
Event photographs by the author
From issue 45 of Lucire and the May 2022 issue of Lucire KSA
During the second week of March 2022, excited crowds flocked to Anaheim, Calif. to rediscover the ‘happiest place on earth’ after two years of precautionary sheltering in place. However, if you were a specialty vendor, entrepreneur, or lifestyle journalist (or influencer) on the scene, that place was not Disneyland. Even with the ongoing buzz of the Star Wars attraction a few blocks away, the thrills the people were searching for included innovations in artisanal foods, pet gear, nutritional supplements, skin care, home accents, clothing and anything else falling into the categories of ‘sustainable’, ‘organic’ and ‘ethically produced or sourced’.
Unlike other trade events scaled back post-pandemic, samples were handed out and tastes of things served at Expo West as if the pandemic had never happened (save for preppers and servers outfitted with masks and gloves) along with festivities such as free morning yoga classes and an eclectic line-up of evening concerts. Think Lollapalooza lite, with free snacks on the midway.
Inside the exhibit halls, everybody was getting down to the business of bringing natural products of every stripe to market. We observed a few trends fading slightly off the radar (energy drinks, probiotic snacks, craft beers, organic colour cosmetics) based on past shows, but if there was a fresh angle to the form (especially with original flavours and aromas), we took notice. After combing two massive multiple floor buildings, here are our top 20 picks for the best-in-show reflecting what was trending (keto-anything, flavoured sparkling water, bamboo, affordability, multi-tasking things that travel), and what was peaking (CBD, plant-based meats, snack bars), along with websites so you can check out these wonders and their creators and inventors for yourself.
Mekhala Living Starter Packs
Co-created by Singapore-based Daphne Hedley and Jang Bauerle, one can enjoy a range of healthy, flavourful pan-Asian meals. These vegan meals, inspired by those served at Bauerle’s Chiang Mai yoga retreat, are almost as easy to prepare as Asian noodle kits, but loaded with clean, nutritious ingredients and free of chemicals. Also check out the sauce line.
Marco culinary ice-cream
While we will always enjoy a good bowl of green tea ice-cream, we loved the ‘global cuisine meets ice-cream’ concept of tasting one’s way around the world one surprising spoon at a time. Flavours include vanilla chai, Aztec Chocolate, Moroccan Honey Nut, Turkish Coffee, and Thai Coco Lime.
Pretty Thai seasoning and sauces
What came out of Austin, Texas-based chefs Robert and Kristin Strong’s Thai food truck (and Robert’s passion for the Thai food, culture and people) led to national exposure on the Cooking Channel, and later, appearances at farmers’ markets and food events around southwestern us. Inevitably, customers asked if their sauces and spices could be bottled and sold for home use, so they took on the challenge of bringing food truck to table, with striking results.
French-owned and family-run, bringing the delicate, sophisticated flavours (rose, orange blossom honey, pressed lemon, vanilla bean) and look (delightful reusable and recyclable pots) of the French countryside to North America. The next best thing to being there.
Sanzo sparkling water
There’s no shortage of fizzy, fruit-flavoured sparkling water. However, we take notice when it comes in flavours like lychee, yuzu, and calamansi. Sandro Roco, a Queens-born Filipino-American, managed to get behind a recipe delivering the essence of the fruit without added sugar or artificial chemicals.
Mixly cocktail mixers
Cocktail mixers for the times, combining the craft cocktail appeal of inspired fruit and flavour combinations with cleanliness and convenience.
Bon Dévil desserts
Proof positive that big, luscious flavours in ganache form comes in small packages and can be 100 per cent plant-based.
Pizootz nuts and trail mixes
Regardless of whether you prefer peanuts, almonds, pecans or pumpkin seeds, what’s refreshing about these snacks is that there’s no messy flavour dust or powder getting all over everything else. A must when snacking on the go or on an aeroplane.
Miami-based architect Leo Cotter has drafted out and built an inspired collection of cracker–chip hybrids, the foundation for it being the Arepa of his native Venezuela. In addition to being gluten-free, vegan and kosher, several of the flavours are positively addictive, especially the Coconut and Everything.
Daring plant-based chicken
The founders’ cause is noble—to develop a chicken substitute that makes a statement about the benefits of eating more plants and being mindful of the troubling aspects of the animal chicken industry. The effect is that the product tastes and feels like chicken, breaded, grilled, subtle (lemon herb) or spicy (Cajun). Check out recipes at www.daring.com/recipes.
The Tea Book Teas
The founders’ packaging (featuring historic figures, artists, musicians and other luminaries) got our attention. What kept it is the binder-like device to store and display one’s tea collection to offer guests or oneself a cup of flavour and fun.
One of Los Angeles’ favourite boutique coffee brands is poised to go big, and from the ground up. From finding sources for ethically sourced organic coffee to aiding in the development of dozens of new organic coffee farms around the world, we project this company will continue to build steam.
These got our attention a few years ago with their clean, vegan and delightfully fragrant deodorants. This year, they’ve done one better with an entirely plastic-free, biodegradable format in Moroccan Rose, Mountain Lavender, Palo Santo and Frankencense (the best seller), Bergamot and Ginger and nostalgic Patchouli and Copal.
Herbanology Personal Care Products
While cbd appears to be in everything these days, an industrious couple decided to find a way to combine plant-based aromatic terpenes and organic soap ingredients to create things a different way to get a natural (drug-free) high without actual THC and CBD that’s caused a stir in recent years.
Dani Naturals Lotions and Candles
Two words: Coconut Hibiscus. This truly unique scent is infused into candles, lotions, body scrubs and reed diffusers. The other scents include fresh versions of the familiar: Grapefruit Ginger, Bamboo Bergamot, Sandalwood Vanilla and Lemongrass Lavender. a natural (drug-free) high without actual THC and CBD that’s caused a stir in recent years.
EMU (Everyone Must Use) hand sanitizer mists
While many are over the whole hand sanitizer thing at this point, the game-changer here is the quick-drying, never sticky, and good-for-skin spray formula that also makes everything it touches germ-free and sweet-smelling.
Koala Eco plant-based household cleaners
Bringing the aromatics of the outdoors inside comes naturally to this line, which is safe, natural, plant-based and made in the us with Australian essential oils. Bonus: the pretty, botanical packaging makes the products almost too pretty to hide. Having them visible, in turn, makes one want to clean more often.
The organic bamboo fabrics used to make this growing underwear and athleisure collection for women, men and infants is a worthwhile indulgence because it feels absolutely amazing against the skin. However, Boody’s proprietary bamboo fabric makes the entire line a “feel-good” proposition, as the bamboo grown for the collection requires much less water than cotton plants.
Conscious Step socks
Lots of companies say they offer something for everybody. This New York City-based company delivers, with different sock designs created to highlight and benefit the efforts of more than a dozen beloved charities and causes, including animal rescue, LGBTQ communities, the environment, wildlife, women and children, literacy and many others. All of these small steps leading out from a cleaner supply chain that not only protects the environment but ensures fair pay and safe conditions for those producing them.
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down—that’s the idea behind the many gummy-based supplements on the market. However, InstantVita offers a much more direct way—oral sprays—to get one’s nutrients of choice or necessity working without having to be digested, and without the excess sugar, and unwanted toxins or other fillers such as yeast and wax. These tiny-but-mighty pen-sized sprays include multivitamins formulated for men, women and kids as well as those promoting immunity, better sleep, bone strength and energy support.
And a shout out to Cask & Kettle (caskandkettleusa.com), whom we featured back in mid-2021. It’s nice to see founder Lucinda Wright in her element at the show! •
Elyse Glickman is US west coast editor of Lucire.
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