Making Up the Psyche

The act of applying makeup serves as a daily ritual for many consumers, as it once did for ancient Egyptians.1 Cosmetics have been used in ritualistic, decorative, camouflage and status-indicating roles, all of which influence the psyche in various ways, either by instilling a sense of confidence in, or by altering the persona of, the wearer.

While these effects are already well-known, research in this area has nonetheless grown and data is being generated to measure and validate the effects of cosmetics on the psyche. For example, the 2008 IFSCC Congress held in Barcelona featured a session from L’Oréal Recherche dedicated to cosmetics and well-being. During the session, Waly Fall of the Hôpital La Charité in Saint Étienne, France, demonstrated his work with elderly female patients whose incidence of falling and potential injury decreased when they were wearing makeup.

Waly’s theory demonstrated that, by wearing makeup, women felt a greater sense of self-confidence and thus their gait and footing became more steady and sure. In another paper by Korichi et al.,2 the authors measured the positive stimulation of the senses that makeup can induce, concluding that makeup has two major functional implications— camouflage and seduction.

In this edition of Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine, Sakazaki et al. also examine the psychological influence of makeup on elderly women. On Page 55, the authors first describe how consumer surveys led to the development of a foundation that is better suited for aging skin; they then recorded EEG readings of elderly subjects before and after makeup application. The authors suggest that makeup stimulates brain activity and thus could protect against deterioration and loss of acuity.

And so as not to lose acuity in other major product categories, this issue also highlights Mendrok-Edinger et al.’s quest to find the best butyl methoxydibenzoyl methane stabilizer for sun care; Farwick et al.’s update of ceramide identification, synthesis, function and nomenclature; and finally, Arif’s discussion supporting the smart use of sulfates in formulations. There’s a little something to stimulate everyone’s psyche in this issue.

2. J Cosmet Sci 59 (2) 127–137 18408870

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