One thousand French women took part in the beauty survey – let’s look at their views on attitudes toward beauty and ageing (perceptions of internal and external age) and concerns about skin ageing and “preventative” measures employed (lifestyle choices and skin care). The research shows that the majority of women become aware of facial ageing in their mid-30s, when fine lines appear and they feel looking tired. This survey captures the views of French women – it would be interesting to identify cultural variations in Britain.
- Attitudes towards beauty. Younger faces are considered to be more attractive than older faces – with older female faces being the least appealing.
- Skin condition – in particular colour and texture – is an important indicator of youth, health, and physical attractiveness.
- The peak of beauty was judged at an average age of 36 years.
- Nevertheless, 92% also thought it was possible to grow old “beautifully” – the main factors for facial beauty were a natural look, self-confidence, and attractive skin.
- Nearly 80% of women feel younger, and believe themselves to look younger, than their true age.
- As women reach their mid-30s, a gap starts to develop between the age they feel inside [internal age] and the age reflected by their faces [external age] – even though they still may not look as old as their true, chronological age. This disparity between internal and external age leads to tension and dissatisfaction with facial appearance, which increases over time.
- Concerns about facial ageing increase and evolve as women grow older. Younger women worry primarily about signs of tiredness and dark circles around the eyes.
- Older women complain about fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. Slackening of the neck becomes a problem from 45 years of age onwards.
- Maintaining good facial skin was a priority for all age groups: respondents believe that anti-ageing skincare should start when women reach their mid-30s.
Despite this assertion, only 21% of women in the 35–44 years age group and 40% of women over 45 years claimed to use anti-ageing products on a regular basis.
The QUEST Observatory was carried out in France in December 2013 by a global market research company (Ipsos, Paris). A panel of experts in dermatology, esthetic medicine, and social anthropology worked with Ipsos to develop the study questionnaire. Financial support was provided by Johnson & Johnson Santé Beauté France.