Beauty and skincare products used to be all about the surface — that is, using ingredients solely to help skin or hair look its best. While looking good will always be at the forefront of an industry that’s built on the foundation of beauty, recently beauty and wellness have started to collide. This has resulted in new products popping up that are more about feeling good and performing optimally from the inside out rather than just the outside in.
Enter nootropics, also known as brain boosters or “smart drugs,” which are plant-based or synthetic ingredients that can improve cognitive function, memory, attention, creativity, and even boost mood and reduce feelings of anxiety. When your brain and body feel calm, those benefits translate to your skin, just as the reverse is true (we’re look at you, stress acne).
The word nootropic roughly translates from the Greek phrase “to bend or shape the mind.” After the last few years, it’s probably safe to assume that everyone’s mind could use a little beneficial shaping.
What Are Nootropics?
The name may be new to you, but you’ve already had experience with nootropics if you’ve ever had a cup of coffee to boost your brain power before a meeting; caffeine is one of the most widely consumed nootropics. Other common ingredients that fall into this category include L-theanine, which is found in green tea, ginseng, fish oil, and even resveratrol (one of the reasons red wine is often said to be good for you). Some adaptogens, like lion’s mane mushroom, ashwagandha, and Rhodiola rosea are also nootropics, meaning they help the body adapt to stress while also improving cognitive function and mood. Ginkgo biloba and creatine are two other popular herbal supplements that fall into this category.