Does Beauty Matter?

Beauty is more than skin deep, we know that personal confidence, self-esteem and self-reliance are underpinned by confidence in one’s appearance. There are numerous examples of this and, in 2004, as part of a research project commissioned by The Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) with the independent think tank, Demos, consumer polling revealed that just over half of women rated their looks as a very important factor. Since then, the CTPA has re-commissioned the poll to see what, if anything had changed. It was discovered that the figure had risen significantly to nearly three-quarters of women* indicating that the relationship between appearance and self-esteem is becoming ever more significant.

The CTPA held a media panel on 28 February 2011 when a psychotherapist and a psychologist met with representatives of the media to debate the different aspects of why beauty matters. The panel discussed where definitions of beauty come from – from our genetic disposition towards symmetrical features to historical literary references – and heard the personal story of a cancer patient; in particular, how devastating the appearance-related side-effects of cancer treatment are. The conclusions were obvious – self-esteem is a positive asset to society and it’s one to which the cosmetic, toiletry and perfumery industry can make a significant contribution.

This link between appearance and self-esteem forms the foundation of the beauty industry’s charity, Look Good… Feel Better (LGFB), a programme of free skincare and make-up workshops to help women with cancer cope with the appearance-related side-effects of cancer treatment. Sharing experiences with other women whilst learning how to use make-up to disguise hair loss and put on their ‘normal face’ is shown to provide a huge boost to a woman’s self-esteem at a time when it is most needed.

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CTPA Media Panel 28 February 2011 – factsheet ‘Why does Beauty Matter?’

The CTPA’s Annual Report for 2010 – article ‘Does Beauty Matter?’.

The Times published a supplement ‘The Beauty Economy’ on 10 May 2011.

Psychologies Magazine has published an article on positive beauty (June 2011)

* YouGov survey among 2013 UK adults aged 18+ carried out between 1-3 April 2009