Formulating neurocosmetics


Element 44 Inc, Chicago, USA

Neurocosmetics is an emerging area of interest for the cosmetics industry. It is not widely known by consumers yet, but it is a topic with enough interest that a variety of raw material suppliers have launched products in the space. For a cosmetic formulator it is helpful to keep an eye on this space as it may impact formulations of the future. Let’s look at what neurocosmetics are all about.


The term was likely first coined by Dr. Marcel Kinsbourne in his 2009 essay about Neurocosmetics. In this work, Dr. Kinsbourne hypothesized that deep brain stimulation (DBS) using electrodes to change aspects of a person’s personality would become as commonplace as cosmetic surgery. No doubt a cosmetic raw material company saw this and seized on it as the next new avenue for innovation. Later that year, the term showed up in marketing materials at the in-Cosmetics trade show. Here the term was used to suggest cosmetics could change the brain while it also improved the skin. Now, the term encompasses a variety of brain/skin connections like ingredients that improve mood, a sense of well-being, or even stimulating nerves.