Take a look at this.
When I first saw this logo on some Zen-looking black packaging in a beauty store (in Dutch, we call such a store parfumerie) a couple of years ago, I thought: Japanese brand. I picked up one of the black boxes with simple white prints to have a read. It was a brand of nail care products. The explanation was in English, Dutch, French, German and Japanese. By then, I was convinced it was a Japanese brand targeted for the European market and a quick peek at the price tag told me that it was a luxury brand.
I didn’t think much about it after that but I did regularly notice the products whenever I visited a parfumerie. That’s the irony of being eye-catching just by looking simple! So, one day, I made it a point to check out its website. I was curious about the origins of this brand and guess what I found out: It’s a Dutch brand! How curious that I got it so wrong. Aaah, the power of brand perception! Kudos to the creators!
Ladies, let me introduce you to KOH Cosmetics. KOH was founded in 2002 in the Netherlands by Margreet van Roemburg who was already a very successful entrepreneur. In the early 1980s, she had launched a brand of hand and nail care products called Herôme. Herôme, whose products are in the mid-price range and are easily accessible in the market, proved to be a success. However, Ms van Roemburg wanted to push the envelope and so she launched a premium brand of hand and nail care products incorporating the influences of Japanese lifestyle and rituals, which must explain for the Japanese-ness of the brand image. Expertise from Japan was enlisted in the creation of the products and that was how KOH Cosmetics came into being.
The philosophy behind this exclusive brand is that there is always a strong bond between body and spirit. Our outward appearances reflect our inner emotions and that’s why there can only be pure and true beauty if there is harmony between the body and the soul. Looking beautiful on the outside isn’t complete without also having good health and feeling positive and self-assured. One needs to set time aside to relax and pamper oneself. Self-indulgence – that’s been a very popular theme among brands lately.
This is what KOH says about its role in helping to create harmony:
KOH contributes to your physical well-being through its very specialised and highly effective products.
KOH contributes to your mental well-being through its velvety textures, heavenly fragrances and pure harmonious pampering.
KOH was initially focused on hand, nail and cuticle care products. Gradually, its assortment of products was broadened to include a line of hand and nail care products for men called KOH For Men (right) and a line of body care products called KOH Body Sensations (below). This range of luxurious body care products, also based on the same aforementioned inspiration and philosophy, carries extracts of the Japanese cherry blossom as a central ingredient.
Yours truly was totally oblivious to this (as usual!) until a couple of months ago when I spotted the display of colourful KOH nail polishes juxtaposed against the minimalistic black and white boxes of its hand and nail care products. Curiousity got the better of me this time and I bought two shades. One was called Rain Forest, a glossy shade of sap green (right) and the other was a limited edition turquoise colour called Douglas. The latter was specially developed by KOH for the parfumerie chain called Douglas whose corporate colour is, yes, turquoise.
I was very impressed with the quality of the nail polishes and in the weeks that followed, I purchased two more KOH products, this time from the nail care range.
L-R: KOH Colours! in Douglas and Rain Forest, Essential Nail Serum, Nail Hardener Bamboo
I would have written a post about this much sooner but I had an issue with one of the nail polish bottles that I had bought. I brought it up with KOH but, unfortunately, the heavenly gods of smooth communication had taken leave and it all turned out to be quite a fuss. I will of course spare you the details. My issue with the bottle turned out to be more the fault of the parfumerie. KOH was however very nice to send a few products to appease this by-then disgruntled customer. Bedankt, KOH.
You might be interested to know that the KOH Colours! nail polishes contain the gemstone topaz which according to KOH, gives a crystal clear gloss and a unique hardness to the nails. Scrutinising the list of ingredients for the KOH Colours! nail polishes, I didn’t find formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and toluene on the list. I don’t think I know enough yet to be able to say the same for its other products.
I’m pretty sure you would have noticed from the photo the lovely packaging that came with the products that I bought. I’m a real sucker for cool packaging and well, I must admit that KOH’s packaging has been a big attraction factor for me. Every Colours! nail polish comes in a beautiful case with embroidery. The case looks pretty much like a lipstick holder, only bigger in size to accommodate the bottle of nail polish. Is that awesome or is that awesome?
Price-wise, KOH is indeed on the higher end. Its nail polishes retail here for a little above the price of OPI nail polishes but are less expensive than those of luxury brands like Chanel and Dior. That’s not bad considering the impressive quality of KOH’s nail polishes.
At the moment, KOH products are exclusively available in upmarket beauty stores in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Further information can be found on the KOH website but please be warned that the English version is less extensive than the Dutch version.
Do stay tuned. You will no doubt be hearing more from me about KOH Cosmetics.
Update: Here's my review of the KOH Rain Forest nail polish.