Ten things I learned at Cosmoprof

Which is the massive, world-renowed, hyper-promoted event dedicated to beauty, make-up, haircare and all of this glamorous, deliciously frivolous girlie stuff. Held at Bologna Fiere, Cosmoprof has been running for 50 years, but I had never gone. So this year I decided it was time to stop being snobbish and give it a try. After all, what’s better that a huge, apparently limitless perfumery? So here’s what I found out.

1) Plan your itinerary in advance

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A town more than an exhibition. Photo: Marina Nasi

I repeat: plan your itinerary. Or you’ll end up just like me: a miserable-looking headless chicken jumping from nails to massages, from a golden facemask to a multitasking lips ‘n calves balm. Seriously, this exhibition is huge (bring comfortable shoes).

2) Beware of the hordes of girlfriends

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Photo from the movie “Bridesmaids”

Groups of young females are typically spotted within the natural habitat of Cosmoprof. While their enthusiasm is endearing, their cheerful screams tend to be rather loud and said girls also like walking in big noisy compacts groups, so always avoid them if you’re around a queue, a beauty demonstration, or the restroom.

3) Disco is for nails, chill-out for hair

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Nails: an orgy of possibilities. Overwhelming. Photo: Marina Nasi

Yes, every sector has its own music and atmosphere. My first impact was brutal as I started my tour by the nails’ pavilion and was bombarded at 11 in the morning with club music and disco lights. A europop remix of the Twin Peaks tune was particularly disturbing. People in the nail sector are restless and restlessly painting, panting, polishing, sampling, speaking on the mike, photographing, clapping… It was intense. Luckily, I later discovered that a gentle heaven exists: all of the areas dedicated to hair products are spacious, classier, soffused with lounge music and furnished like an Aveda salon, all leafy and organic-oriented.

4) Face masks are HUGE in Korea

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Chorean model demonstrating that grace can be achieved. Photo: Marina Nasi

And they all look intriguing. Plus, Korea is huge at Cosmoprof this year, with lots of dedicated spaces. Said masks come in all textures and styles: charcoal black, translucent, transparent with real flowers, glittery, golden, made of rice, paper or rice paper… Many are sold individually on discounted priced. And all Korean hostesses, bless them, are gentle and pretty with incredibly bright and beautiful skin. So yes, of course I have sinned: a box of collagen-filled ones from super-posh brand DPC Derma Pure Clinic and a lovely pineapple flavored one from Kokostar. No I had never heard of those brands either. But I am ignorant.

5) Ask, don’t grab

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One of the promising products from Korea. Photo: Marina Nasi

It’s a fact: many people come to exhibitions only to gather as many courtesy items as possible. The people behind Cosmoprof know it and keep the entrance prices high in the hope of keeping it business-oriented, just like the press office only gives journalists a file with the main info and not a single sample (sad face). Still, with such an orgy of bright objects and glossy little make-up items, the temptation to take some of the little stuff on display in the most prominent parts of every stall is persistent. My advice is to smile and ask: «Is this for sale?». Chances are, you’ll be rewarded for you honesty with a complementary item (that’s how I got my pineapple mask!).

6) You’d better bring your own food

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The China pavilion at lunchtime, photo: Marina Nasi

This actually applies to all events at Fiera di Bologna. Sorry Camst guys, but the food of the various bars and cafés (all owned by the above mentioned Camst franchising) is barely tolerable, to be kind. So, if you don’t want to lunch on a pale sandwich that oozes depression or an overpriced micro-slice of cake that saw better times, do bring your own lunchbox. Or become friends with the guys at the China pavillion: I walked there at half past 12 and they were all eating some much more promising Chinese food, sauce and chopsticks and everything, oblivious of costumers, from identical boxes delivered to each and everyone out of some mysterious provider. Respect.

7) Papaya will never go out of market

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a papaya (Surprise surprise)

Same to be said for coconut, shea butter, argan oil, aloe vera: with that exotic charm and that promise of natural beauty, they are the evergreen of skin-care.

8) Glow in the dark is the new blak

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Photo: Pinterest

Were you feeling too old for sporting a rainbow hair? Wait ’till you see the new make up products that glow in the dark: lipsticks, nail polishes, eyeshadows, eyeliners, temporary tattoos. Why should you wear them? To go clubbing my dear, what else. Even when, to quote stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo, «The only way to get admission into a club is to tell the bouncer that you’re looking for your daughter».

9) Be suspicious of queues

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photo: The Daily Mail

No, I didn’t say “jump the queues”, you helpless fellow Italians. What I mean is: since most people are sheep (my heartfelt apologies to all sheep and to goats too, just in case), most of them will passively queue anywhere, while chances are that a much shorter queue for the same thing is just round the corner. Which is why now I’m here writing while others are still there queuing. Har har har.

10) Only the brave survives

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A cougar! No, not Courtney Cox

Exhibitions can be exhausting. This one in particular is tough and requires you to ignore the massive crowds walking the opposite direction (where are they going?), don’t succumb to Fomo (What am I missing out?!?), and put on your poker face. That’s to say, maintain a professional aplomb even if you cross a perfectly shaped, almost naked man (he didn’t escape from Eden, he’s just advertising a tan spray), or when a clerck all wrapped in towels tells you the actual price of that lovely natural looking body cream you’re destined to live without.

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