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Over 200 cosmetic firms from 25 countries are headed to India to participate in the International Beauty Expo to be held here February 6-8.

The first and the largest of its kind to be held in the country, the event will further boost India's beauty industry here that is growing at the rate of 20 percent per annum.

Six national pavilions from Singapore, Turkey, South Korea, Indonesia, Europe and Taiwan will take part in the three-day exposition. Countries like Australia, Monaco, the US, Italy, Spain and Germany will also exhibit their beauty products.

"The beauty industry was very unorganised until recently. But now, with greater awareness among the people and globalisation, this is no longer the case," said Blossom Kochhar, president of the National Hairdressers and Beauticians Association India (NHBA) who are the co-organisers of the expo.

"The expo will bring the world to our doorsteps and it will be a big boost to our industry," she said.

The Indian beauty industry is growing at over $3 billion per year and the sale of cosmetics rose by six percent in 2005. More and more foreign cosmetic brands are hence willing to come to India and explore the market here.

Kendra Lee, official spokesperson of CitiExpo, the main organiser of the event, said: "India is an important new market to be explored. It has a huge potential and many international companies believe that the demand for their products is increasing here. The expo will provide an opportunity to gain a foothold in the market."

Apart from showcasing global brands, the lifestyle event will include seminars to educate industry professionals about service skills in salons, demonstrations on make-up and hair trends and exhibit latest technologies and products like 4U cosmetics which is a non-surgical alternative to liposuction.

New therapies like oxygen therapy and the 24kt revitalisation will be demonstrated. Discussions on retailing and franchising, another facet of the beauty industry's rising graph, will also take place.

Well-known fashion and make-up artists Clint Fernandez, Elina Damen, Robert Werner and Blossom Kochhar will be part of the demonstration programmes.