Evoking Emotion: Well-aging Sensations


Read the full article in the October 2021 digital edition. . .

Integrating all senses and biology into consumers’ skin care routines based on physiological evidence is becoming more attractive for the industry. In fact, in previous columns, I have discussed how skin-feel often precedes the onset of visible consequences of skin barrier dysfunction, such as a patch of redness, particularly in the face.

The “looking good, feeling good” mantra has been leveraged by cosmetic branding but the orchestra of skin perceptions and biology should drive more interdisciplinary research and innovation. Having reviewed hundreds of recently launched products as a benchmark for innovative brands, I cannot stress more the importance of skin-feel and self-care aimed product application. Recent brain research utilizing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research confirms this.

Taking care of facial skin by applying makeup even activates brain activity in visually impaired consumers. According to one study, applying makeup is a personally rewarding activity as it strongly activates the reward system and the reward/memory system network—even in the absence of a visual area network. This study investigated the activity of different brain regions whose relevance we may not fully understand at present. However, it confirmed that beautifying and caring for facial skin is an activity that promotes many aspects of well-being.1

French research recently used another brain monitoring technique, electroencephalography (EEG), to evaluate consumers’ emotions during real-time topical application of different o/w emulsion formulations on the skin. EEG could shed more light on a consumer’s well-being—and the emotional impact of skin care is key in terms of consumer satisfaction.2

Skin Softness and Firmness

Merging effective science and psychological research, Shiseido has pledged to further pursue both the sensory effects and efficacy of their products to resonate with consumers’ minds and skin comfort. The company jointly conducted research with Nagoya University and reported on the perception of skin softness and firmness in Japanese women aged from 20-69. Here, friction and the elasticity of the skin surface were closely related to the perception of skin softness and firmness by consumers. Panelists ranked their impression of softness using five tactile skin models with step changes in surface friction; the results confirmed that the smaller the surface friction, the softer the feel.3

. . .Read more in the October 2021 digital edition. . .


  1. Behrens, M. (2021, Jul 6). Research finds applying makeup activates the brain in the visually impaired. Cosmet Toilet. Available at: https://www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com/research/biology/Research-Finds-Applying-Makeup-Activates-the-Brain-in-the-Visually-Impaired-574750021.html
  2. Gabriel, D., et al. (2011). Emotional effects induced by the application of a cosmetic product: a real-time electrophysiological evaluation. Appl Sci 11(11) 4766.
  3. Caldwell, G. (2020, Oct 12). Shiseido unveils research on skin softness. Global Cosmetics News. Available at: https://www.globalcosmeticsnews.com/shiseido-unveils-research-on-skin-softness/
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