This article appeared in WWD’s Beauty Report International, a special publication of WWD.
Newfangled treatment is billed to go more than skin deep.
Some brands are taking beauty therapy to the next level.
A handful of manufacturers have concocted skin care and fragrance products that are billed to trigger psychological activity, which—in turn—affects a user’s complexion. Others claim to have added mood-altering ingredients to their product formula.
“It’s the new manifestation of the search for well-being,” said Pierre-François Le Louet, director of Paris-based Nelly Rodi forecast trend agency, who added that spas and beauty institutes are already catering to this need. “There is a demand from consumers.”
Of course, “mood-enhancing” beauty products have stocked shelves for years now in the form of aromatherapy remedies. But this new crop of psychologically linked products differs in that they purportedly contain high-tech ingredients that alter the skin’s relationship with the mind, thereby improving skin’s appearance.
“When the brain suffers psychologically, the skin suffers physically,” said Raffaella Giraudi, brand director of Paris-based Orlane.
To combat this, the brand concocted Hypnotherapy, a cream it calls “the first antiaging, psychodermic treatment.” The skin care product contains a psychorepair complex, which includes a neuropeptide, said to moderate the effects of negative emotions arising from unpleasant sensations, and a neuroprotector, said to fight the degeneration of the neural system when it is in a state of shock.
Orlane executives say that when Hypnotherapy is applied to skin, it goes into a state of “hypnotherapy,” a happier condition that’s removed from any negative emotions possibly experienced by the brain.
Hypnotherapy, which comes in a 50-ml. jar retailing for ?430 (£294/$512), is being rolled out worldwide in 2006, following its launch in Orlane institutes and Galeries Lafayette department stores in France, and department stores in the U.S. last year. One thousand pots of the cream were sold in Hypnotherapy’s first month at Neiman Marcus.
French salon brand Institut Esthederm has also banked on a mind-beauty relationship for its latest treatment line Bio-Equilibre, which is due out in March in France.
“If you are healthy in your mind, you will have a beautiful complexion,” said Jean-Noël Thorel, the brand’s chief executive officer.
Jean-Claude Hubaud, Institut Esthederm’s research director, said that for Bio-Equilibre, the company synthetically recreated tryptophane, a substance found in amino acids that is converted into serotonin—the “happy hormone”—as the brain requires.
“Serotonin is the mediator between the skin and the brain,” said Thorel.
The 12-unit Bio-Equilibre line includes products that range in price from ?19 for a 150-ml. tube of shower gel to ?65 for a 200-ml. pot of Bio-Svelt multi-target lipo-reductor cream. Industry sources estimate the line will generate around ?3 million in first-year retail sales.
The diversified Smiley brand—as its name suggests—is also out to uplift people emotionally with its Happy Therapy line of fragrance and skin care products, which its executives call “psycho-stimulants.”
Each product in the nine-unit collection includes what’s reportedly a mood-enhancing scent blended by Firmenich perfumer Jean-Pierre Bethouart. The juice includes notes of cocoa leaf extracts, selected to give a euphoric feeling, and orange and bergamot notes, for energy.
“Given that Smiley is a symbol of happiness, we decided to incorporate these molecules to make people happy and to bill it as a treatment,” said Thibaud Perrin, marketing director of Grasse, France-based Groupe Arthès, which manufacturers Happy Therapy.
Of course the product packaging includes a round yellow smiley face, Smiley’s ubiquitous symbol that can be seen on everything from T-shirts to water towers across the U.S.
The Happy Therapy lineup includes products priced from ?20 for a 150-ml. deodorant to ?69 for a15-ml. perfume extract. Industry sources estimate the collection, which is to debut in June in France, will generate ?2 million in its first year at retail.