"In 2001, we started investigating this area on behalf of the Sederma company, a manufacturer of cosmetic actives. In the past, science research mainly focused on so called ’negative’ emotions such as stress, anxiety and depression and concerned the medical field. Now, it is proven that well-being is also the result of so called ’positive’ emotion which can be evaluated in cosmetics, such as those triggered when inhaling a perfume or applying a cosmetic product " explains Stéphanie Esnault, in charge of Marketing and Communication at Spincontrol [1].

A multiparametric evaluation

Measuring emotions involves working on an multiparametric evaluation using three components: subjective, expressive and visceral. The whole purpose being to decrypt the mental content, the behavioural and postural changes and the physiological reactions inherent to an emotional impact. To have a knowledge of what is happening in a person when she opens a luxuriously wrapped product but also how she feels when she is wearing make-up, in short: to better understand the emotional state of the consumer.

Psychometric questionnaires and instrumental measurements

To achieve this, a whole series of means come into play because the purpose is not only to collect the feelings of panellists but also to measure them. "We work with Dr. Arnaud Aubert, neuropsychologist, and use different methods both subjective and instrumental," points out Esnault.

Thus, can be performed, measurements on pupil dilation (mydriasis), eye tracking, analysis of facial expressions as well as salivary assays. Tests of alertness and of well-being like the Bradley’s well-being questionnaire are other ways of measuring and evaluating a feeling. "We have several tools available that we adapt according to the purpose of the study."

Although scientific literature is still scarce in the cosmetic field, all the major players of this industry are taking an interest in the matter. And for example at the 2009 IFSCC Congress, a scientific publication from LVMH concerned the impact of make-up on well-being [2].Prosody (vocal frequency and intensity), measurements of the skin temperature and hormonal assays showed that make-up regulated emotions in stressful situations, particularly in anxious and introverted women lacking self-confidence.

For some, it is only the demonstration of a clear evidence but the measurement of emotions will maybe one day enable to broaden the scope of cosmetic claims to other new topics.