Dopamine dressing: How beauty packaging is finding its fun

By Julia Wray | Published: 17-May-2023

Gen Z has turned to bold and bright clothing and make-up since the end of lockdown for the feel-good factor they provide, so how can cosmetic packaging help deliver a dopamine hit?

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Dopamine is a chemical released in the brain that makes us feel good.

In recent years, beauty has emphasised products’ power to give our moods some oomph, be this via active ingredients and scents claiming to hack our moods, or formulations whose feel upon application provides a shot of happiness to otherwise humdrum morning routines.

Then there is make-up’s role in #dopaminedressing, which has 146.5 million views on TikTok, with spin-off term #dopamineglam racking up 273.5 thousand.

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell is a fashion historian, curator and journalist, and author of titles including Worn on This Day: The Clothes That Made History and Skirts: Fashioning Modern Femininity in the 20th Century.

She defines ‘dopamine dressing’ as “dressing to boost your mood”, elaborating: “That can mean different things, simply wearing a favourite outfit, or one that makes you feel tall, powerful, or attractive.

“It can also express the general exuberance of a period of economic prosperity or social liberation. Think of the fringed, sparkly flapper dresses of the 1920s, or the neons and shoulder pads of the 1980s. The 1990s are remembered for minimalism and grunge, but there was also a lot of colour in hip-hop fashion and sportswear.”

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