Emotional cosmetics: oxymoron or pleonasm? Old hat or new paradigm?

Dr Karl Lintner, President of KAL'Idées will lead a session on ‘Emotional cosmetics: oxymoron or pleonasm? Old hat or new paradigm? The impact of the concept for formulators’ at the in-cosmetics Formulation Summit on Wednesday 20 November at 15:15.

In his talk he will discuss the brain-skin connection and review a few examples of this new approach of measuring the emotions involved and the specific benefits of this avenue for consumers and brands. Personal Care spoke with Dr Lintner to find out more:


In what ways are ‘emotional cosmetics’ currently manifesting in the industry?

Cosmetic products have always had a close relationship with emotions (mostly in the sector of perfumes). Pleasure, wellbeing, and happiness have all been part of the picture for many years already. The difference today is that we can measure and evaluate these terms and notions scientifically. The number of relevant conference talks and published papers that touch on neuroscience is steadily increasing. As Lord Kelvin said: "to measure is to know". While we knew that a pleasant cosmetic product produces ephemeral or long-term positive emotions, we now know more about the mechanisms and the actions that positive emotions have on the skin via cosmetic products. 

Is this an extension to the ‘wellbeing’ trend?

Yes, absolutely. Wellbeing is more than just emotions, it is a good part based on positive feelings, on personal relationships, activities and perceptions.

What are the immediate challenges for formulators?

The challenge is to translate the science (often complex mechanisms are invoked to explain the skin-brain connections) into marketing concepts, or ‘stories’, that can be communicated successfully to the consumer. However, after more than 40 years of ‘anti-wrinkle’ and other common claims, the field needs new ideas, and a new language. The other challenge is to formulate products with the widest sensorial appeal where hedonist details go beyond texture and skin feel but also integrate today's search for sustainability, naturalness and reduced environmental impact. The advantage of this approach is it is less likely targeted to ‘outrageous claims’, for futility and other arrows shot at the industry. On the contrary, the emotional and psychological benefits of cosmetic products and usage will be better evidenced than by claiming a 15% elasticity increase or 2cm thigh perimeter decrease.

How can innovative ingredients really make a difference here?

Innovative ingredients are at present not a viable solution, as long as no truly innovative substances can be developed in view of the Chinese IECIC list that does not allow for the use of novel ingredients. The search must at present be based on new ways to use and test existing compounds, to find synergies in both chassis formulations and choice of special actives of which many may find new unsuspected applications. The emotional contribution of cosmetics to wellbeing will not be obtained by just one miracle peptide or flavonoid.

For more information on the in-cosmetics Formulation Summit 2019, visit: https://summit.in-cosmetics.com/