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.