You often hear of beauty secrets from various regions of the world (we're looking at you, France and Morocco,) but innovations from Poland are also worth taking note of. The latest in the beautysphere hails directly from Warsaw and is part of the growing, neurocosmetic category. Last Skincare's brand ethos looks beyond beauty as a physical tool and embraces it as a way to enhance your state of mind. Ahead, its founder Katarzyna Janocha shares how your brain may help get you your very best skin.
What is the Polish Beauty philosophy?
The Polish beauty repertoire is all about healthy skin using natural products with high-quality ingredients. "Many of us have delicate, sensitive complexions, and we have very high expectations when it comes to our products," Janocha says. According to Janocha, the culture also values mental wellbeing, and sensorial beauty experiences are important. "It's a competitive environment, and you can't put out something average," she explains. "It's why I was cautious about entering this industry."
What is Neurocosmetics?
Neurocosmetics is rooted in the idea that the brain and skin are connected and that emotions can affect your skin. According to research, when certain active ingredients contact nerve endings in the dermis, they can influence one's mood. "By targeting the interactions between the skin and the nervous system, [neurocosmetics] can play a significant role in skin balance," a study says. "As the concept is still very new, we don't yet fully understand why only certain ingredients influence the skin and mind in this specific way," says Janocha. "What we do know is that neurocosmetics have an advantage by addressing concerns like dehydration and reducing stress."
Many ingredients (like copaiba oleoresin and frankincense extract) have mood-enhancing benefits when used on the skin. "This resin extract contains large amounts of beta-endorphins that interact with cannabinol receptors in the body to release beta-endorphins," Janocha explains. "Frankincense extract is also considered very balancing with anti-inflammatory effects, proven to regulate cortisol and ultimately restore collagen."
Ingredients like hemp and tephrosia purpurea are considered "heroes" by Janocha because they influence the nervous system while having anti-aging benefits on the surface when they penetrate the skin barrier. Rhodiola rosea root extract —one of Janocha's favorites — was used for centuries in Asiatic medicine to treat anxiety, fatigue, and depression. "We learned that this powerful antioxidant stimulates the production of beta-endorphins to improve mood by reducing tension," Janocha explains.
Janocha's personal history with stress and its impact on her life inspired her path to neurocosmetics. "In this difficult, post-pandemic world, I wanted to support everything that can improve one's wellbeing," she explains.
What Makes Last Skin Repair Unique?
Last Skin Repair has a thoughtfully composed (and highly diverse) ingredient deck, including aromatherapeutic components to play a role in mood enhancement. Janocha wanted to include elements like uplifting vanilla and anxiety-reducing lemongrass to elevate the skincare experience. "Inhaling these ingredients during application stimulates the limbic system, a set of structures in the brain that regulates mood, and is very closely related to the sense of smell," she explains.
Trees have been utilized throughout history for traditional medicine, and in recent years, their benefits have been confirmed in international research. According to Janocha, her products contain ingredients extracted from resins, barks, roots, seeds, leaves, flowers, and fruits of different plants. These components complement the peptides, ceramides, coenzymes, vitamins, and bioferments combined in Janocha's Polish lab.
It was important for Janocha to source ingredients from around the globe. "Our plant extracts are mostly sourced from sustainable plantations in Somalia, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and India," she explains. "The copaiba balm is from Brazil, our stable vitamin C is from Japan, the clean hydrosols are from France, and many other ingredients are from Poland."
The connection between beauty and wellbeing has become a meaningful practice for many people, and the science behind neurocosmetics seems additionally promising. In the end, if self-care alone improves your emotional health you're already off to a great start. Still, if your serum is spiked with happiness-inducing ingredients then trying products—like the Last Skin Repair serum—might be an added perk. A clear complexion enhanced glow, and a subtle endorphin rush might just be the perfect alchemy your routine has been missing.
Rizzi V, Gubitosa J, Fini P, Cosma P. Neurocosmetics in skincare—the fascinating world of skin–brain connection: a review to explore ingredients, commercial products for skin aging, and cosmetic regulation. Cosmetics. 2021;8(3):66.
Ingredient watch: Tephrosia purpurea. Dermatology Times.