Mental health vs. physical beauty – which comes first?

Mental health vs. physical beauty – which comes first?

Self-care is not a new term in our industry. With this term, and this revolution, has come the inevitable connotations to mental health – about time I say. It’s nice to be able to have a conversation with someone about mental health and to not feel like there’s a taboo lingering.

The reason it came to my attention recently is thanks to the word “recalibrating”. I was asked “what are the feels at this present moment in time?” To recalibrate is to change the way you do or think about something. So, what’s changing?

In the personal care industry we have always targeted the physical appearances, wrinkles, anti-ageing, younger skin, smooth, glowing, energised.

With the exception of ‘glowing ‘ and ‘energised’ – two words which can be felt inside and out – this list of descriptors focuses on the outside. Our physical appearance. Sometimes known as one’s vanity. Thanks to a rise in the number of products that are embracing individuals’ unique selves as beautiful, full stop, another word, “negativity,” is not welcome around the table anymore. Oh no, negativity is out. Gone. Kaput. See ya later, you were never welcome here anyway.

Focusing on positivity has indeed been proven to lift spirits, change a person’s outlook on their day, and.. well bring positivity to the fore. I know I am speaking on behalf of the whole world when I say that without a bit of positivity, getting through the rough times of the pandemic would have been virtually catastrophic.

The beautiful thing about this series of events, is that it has also brought mental health and wellbeing smack bang into the middle pf the limelight.  Because let’s face it, the pandemic has shown us that it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you may have or how beautiful you are – you’re not immune to what has been happening to our world.

There’s been a shift in our internal narrative from ‘do I look OK?’, to ‘am I OK?’.

For the record, yes.. you look amazing. Beautiful. Because you are your own unique self. But are you OK inside?

Thanks for asking… and no, I’m not. Everything feels a bit out of control at the moment. I miss travelling. I miss my family. I’m stressed about working from home. The one thing that’s keeping me going in this very moment is knowing that I’m not alone in this struggle, because we’re all talking about it a bit more.

Let that sink in for a moment. We are all talking about it some more. Consumers are talking about this stuff. Consumers are looking glaze-eyed at vanity purchasing and looking to products and brands that connect on a deeper level. They are looking to feel better. Not look better.

So how about this for an interesting association to this exact topic by well-known dermatology brand, Aquaphor.

“Inspired by the growing field of “psychodermatology”, Aquaphor understands there is a real symbiotic relationship between our skin health and emotional health: when our skin is healthy we feel good, and when we feel good, our skin is healthy. In today’s COVID-19 world, this undeniable link between emotional health and skin health has been magnified further, as more consumers have become actively health conscious: new research shows that 62% of Americans believe their health is more important to them now than before the pandemic.”

Enter a new ingredient and products on the block.

Inolixir™: the wellness elixir for healthy skin – Skin-to-Soul care slowing it down

BASF scientists have harnessed the chaga mushroom’s power for use in skincare products, catering to the worldwide consumer trend of changing perceptions of beauty and the increasing popularity of a more holistic approach.

For the countries that are not regulated to include CBD into our personal care products, Beraca has the next best thing: Beracare CBA – Cannabinoid Active System  which is an active compound with proven efficacy to decrease the effects of premature ageing related to inflammatory stress, as well as being an ingredient with de-stressing and well-being properties.

Sensityl from Givaudan The sensitive skin good mood influencer

Natural & marine origin, sustainable, great for the planet, good for your skin, good for your mood! Main claims Soothing/Calming , Neuro-soothing, Indirect mood enhancer (through skin calming), Skin reactivity inhibitor

Finished products on the market:

‘Psychodermatology’ is a controversial term, linking brain, mood, and skin conditions is already there in the market, here are a few examples:

So the key to this category design and formulation is to include mood enhancing ingredients,  comforting textures, enhancing positive emotions and user experiences, and adding a sensory experience with aroma to compliment the product.

Like other recent revolutions in the modern world, the latest trend is actually built on reframing our perspectives, inviting us to revisit simpler times, and encouraging us to embrace what really matters to us as individuals. As humans. As souls who thrive on connection.

Perfectly summed up by the inimitable Christian Dior, it goes something like this: ‘Happiness is the secret to all beauty. There is no beauty without happiness.’

So – happiness first. Mental health first. Beauty will follow.

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In my role as a Design Practice Teaching Fellow at the University of Canterbury's School of Product Design, I leverage my extensive background in entrepreneurial ventures and industry experience spanning cosmetic chemistry, marketing, design, and brand management. My mission is to empower and guide the upcoming generation of product designers. With over three years in this position, I have supported numerous students in honing their abilities, fostering their creativity, and building their confidence to craft innovative and impactful personal care products and brands. My dedication lies in bridging innovation, curiosity, and creative expression to produce formulations, products, and brands that truly differentiate themselves. Holding a Diploma of Personal Care Formulation from the Institute of Personal Care Science, my involvement has stretched across various initiatives and bodies within the cosmetic sector, including Cosmetics New Zealand and NZSCC New Zealand. I am perpetually in pursuit of fresh challenges and avenues for personal and professional development, finding my deepest fulfillment in witnessing the achievements of others.

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