Bliss, some say, is all a state of mind. If that’s the case, some might say so is… beauty? Expounding on this to a group of beauty journalists, including myself, is not some New Age wellness guru, but Dr Ken Inomata of the Pharmaceuticals and Effects Research Group at Kose Research Institute in Tokyo.
“We discovered that when your brain is happy and relaxed, it gives off healing signals, which is why maintaining a relaxed state of mind is so important,” he says. According to him, these signals, which include glycine and other amino acids, help keep skin looking youthful by rejuvenating cells and increasing their number.
“This is why we believe that the smell and texture of your skincare is so important, as it can help to relax you and keep you feeling calm,” he adds.
Certainly, creating skincare that offers such sensorial pleasures is far from new. I, for one, know many women who are addicted to beauty products precisely because of how they smell and feel. Often though, texture and fragrance are side notes and – depending on personal tastes – a bonus to the tech and nourishing ingredients that go into, say, a moisturiser or cleanser. With Cosme Decorte’s AQ range that’s launching here this month, they’re the soul – a particularly refreshing approach when you also factor in how it targets ageing. The Kose-owned brand, it turns out, was a pioneer in studying the link between mental relaxation and its effects on skin almost 30 years ago, according to Hiroko Ishii of its product development department.
“We believe in using cosmetics to relax the mind and bring out the benefits of stress-free skin, because stress has a physical effect on your complexion,” she says.
This is especially important with age as one’s metabolic rate slows down, causing a decrease not only in cell turnover, but also healing, repair and skin’s responsiveness. Shake off the stress, and you’ll not only help boost those healing signals, but also cells’ reaction to damage and skincare, the brand posits. To help one find inner peace, the AQ line boasts the warm yet clean, floral scent of “Queen of the Night” orchid cactus, so named because it only blooms after dusk (it’s not commonly used in skincare). One whiff and, indeed, the mildly sweet fragrance soothes, making me hanker for some real spa time. Adding to the feel-good vibes: Every product is said to melt into skin at body temperature (in short, instantly). Banking simply on indulging the senses to fight the signs of ageing, though, would be naive (if it were as simple as that, hand over the fried chicken, pronto).
Tapping on the fact that skin is more responsive when the brain is relaxed, the brand has added mucuna birdwoodiana stem extract to almost every product. It supposedly boosts skin’s energy levels and, in turn, responsiveness, as well as the production of healing signals. The result: a one-two punch of a skincare range that not only calms the mind, but also builds skin’s resilience.
My favourites from the comprehensive 10-piece line, which includes two types of cleansers and a massage cream, are the facial oils. Hydrating and extremely lightweight, the Oil Infusion helps to treat breakouts and balance the complexion, and can also be used as a makeup base. The Botanical Pure Oil is made with 100 per cent plant-derived oils and boasts amino acids to plump and firm skin for a healthy glow. With skin like that, one can relax even more.
This story first appeared in Female’s October 2017 issue.
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