If there was an Oscar for Cosmetics in a formula film, it would certainly be awarded to Professor Umberto Borellini, internationally renowned Cosmetologist, Psychologist and University Professor. Author of many successful books such as “La Divina Cosmesi” and the “Manuale di Cosmetologia”, which has been at the top of the Amazon charts for 110 weeks. A real record! A man of great cultural depth, who is ironic, histrionic, endowed with great empathy and with training that expands into complementary fields. A scholar and expert in Neurocosmetics and Cosmetogenetics, he is passionate about music, to which he has dedicated an entire chapter in his latest book ‘Tu Chiamale Se Vuoi Emulsioni’ (Call them emulsions if you like), describing how the power of music can make us ‘feel’ better and more beautiful. Music is a vehicle for emotions, which, if positive, amplifies the inner perceptions that surface on the skin, representing the best of aesthetic treatments and modulating the neuro-media molecules responsible for that unique light, that shines through an authentic beauty in each of us unbound by any stereotype. The skin is a superficially profound organ that tells, reveals and conceals, and when it is caressed with a good cosmetics, perhaps while listening to a beautiful song, it is able to send messages to the brain which in turn sends them back to the skin, illuminating it. Meeting Professor Borellini and working with him has been a great enlightenment for my life and my profession, as well as an important exchange of views and knowledge.
GA: What were the sources of inspiration for your books and what are the most significant messages they contain?
UB: The sources of inspiration came from the day after my graduation… that is at least 35 years ago.
That is to say, immediately after my schooling, therefore, from the day I started to really study, work, test, compare and update my knowledge. Proving that Eduardo was right: ‘the exams never end’ and the challenges are daily. Those who think they will stop after hanging their diploma on the wall are making a very big mistake. My books are initiated from the desire to share my readings and my studies, with the aim of divulging them simply and scientifically. Then, in the middle of the path, I also found myself definitively understanding that cosmetics, the main objects I handle in my work, could take on a new meaning, when the skin was nourished by vibrations of the soul. So I had given meaning to a very ancient artifice, the cosmetic, which is amplified by the psyche, because the skin and psyche dialogue with each other from birth…to forever.
GA: As an authoritative figure in the world of cosmetology, what do you think are the major contradictions in cosmetics? And how can they be resolved?
UB: I love the world of cosmetics because the contradictions there are, and there are many, they are slight, venial.
The cosmetics world is rightly fatuous and somewhat ethereal. A jar of cream, whether it is the result of super thorough research or the result of an imaginative mixture, gives you dreams, hopes, volition…
So when I read what I call ‘ghost-cosmetics’, I am the first to smile.
Every now and then, I marvel at the infinite imagination of marketing companies who combine an apple from Sodom (sic) with a vitamin, a fragment of regolith straight from the moon with a peptide… and again, oceanic pearls, extinct flowers, tropical fruit grown in Siberian greenhouses, roots and bark from fossilized trees…
I follow other formulation paths because my approach to the subject began in university and in research laboratories, so I strive to make ‘science fiction’ molecules truly scientific, but I think there is room for everyone, because it is always the consumer who decides the success of a cosmetic. And if the consumer likes to believe in fairy tales, that consumer will probably not be the one who will use cosmetic products formulated by me. But this is all part of this wonderful game!
On the other hand, I detest those who take advantage of and profit from pharmaceuticals, exploiting fragility and ignorance, who instil fear and prepare multi-billion dollar marketing campaigns. I hate those who think they can increase their turnover by colluding with conniving doctors who are willing to make comparisons.
Medicine is a mission, and it must be pure, without deception. Cosmetics, after all, are deceptions, in fact, many people have been calling them ‘tricks’ for centuries!
GA: What is your opinion on vocational training centres and what advice would you give to the young students who attend them?
UB: I would suggest that they take advantage of all the benefits that school can give them.
Cosmetics, for example, are offered in a thousand different ways and in a thousand different contexts, and being able to tell your potential client that they have studied skin, cosmetics, biology, etc., gives them an advantage. The advice of a professional has a different, higher value. To understand that specific culture is not an abstract concept, but a very concrete and useful one. So I urge young people not to think of school as a boring time where they acquire dogmatic notions, but as an all-round professional opportunity. Culture pays. Always!
GA: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing cosmetics and professionals?
UB: The challenge of the salmon, which proudly and tirelessly pursues its goal, against the tide.
The concept of Beauty that I believe in is a Beauty that is unrepeatable, unique, divorced from stereotypes and images constructed by the system.
The light that cosmetics must bring out comes from deep within. Good cosmetics will never give true beauty, but will enhance the imperfect beauty of a soul that emanates a very rare light called Charisma.
The true professional is the one who will mould and enhance those unique features that have nothing to do with those pathetic fake masks that invade television screens and magazine covers. True Beauty is intelligent, and surprises the beholder.
GA: During your intense and influential career as a cosmetologist, has there ever been anything that has deeply surprised you?
UB: Rarely, but when it has happened the emotion has been remarkable. I am thinking about the first time I listened to a dermatologist speak about philosophy, music and poetry, understood as aesthetic and salvific arts, to think about authentic Beauty (I am thinking of Alex Gezzi in particular), or the sensitivity and culture of an image expert who speaks to the souls of the people he meets (I am thinking of Diego Dalla Palma); or when I meet an established entrepreneur who, instead of asking me for formulas that could double his turnover, he invites me to raise awareness to students and professionals to a new concept of Cosmetics… Humanistic!
GA: How do you manage to keep learning and keep up with the changing times?
UB: Study, read, go deeper, attend industry conferences, travel, understand other cultures, listen. Always be curious and humble in being aware that every day we can learn new things.
GA: What are the topics on which you have been concentrating your research in recent times? And why?
UB: Today I am focused on some scientific formulation areas, but also in a certain romantic sense. Scientific areas such as Cosmeceuticals, where the protagonists are rational, scientifically validated functional substances which, first and foremost, respect our organ, the skin. Molecules that are based on serious studies and multi-specialist research. I am referring to, for example, the importance of epigenetic formulations capable of acting in that extremely important area where cells, including skin cells, can be protected and repaired from many aggressive exogenous factors such as smog, radiation, glycation, etc..
Romantic, like Neurocosmetics, where the multi-sensory approach of the formulations involves all the senses with sumptuous textures, scents of essences that reach the limbic system, positively influencing the results, just like the study of colours is essential. The skin and psyche dialogue from birth, and the multi-sensorially in cosmetics is a new universal code that will make our Beauty universe even more magical.
GA: Do you have a dream?
UB: Yes, to win the Nobel Prize in Cosmetology!