Let's Talk Beauty

06-22-2009 3:55 PM

In our recent conversations with women around the globe, we learned the "10 Things Women Want Now", which I've shared in previous posts.  Mary Kay  also wanted to hear what they were thinking specifically about beauty.  When it comes to what women want in beauty, the list is short and simple. 

1.  Women Want . . . Natural Beauty

Women believe that "true" natural beauty is about enhancing what you already have; that the way you "make yourself up" should be complementary to your assets or features, and not overshadow them. For some, natural beauty is associated with youth and staying young (notice that I didn't say "looking young"), and many admit that it does become increasingly more difficult to achieve as you age.  In many ways, this aspect of beauty has little or nothing to do with makeup, and is more about acknowledging what is already naturally beautiful in themselves.  (But don't think that means women don't want to wear makeup.  See #3.)

2.  Women Want . . . To Be Noticed

Women want to create an impression.  They want to be noticed.  It is an important source of their strength and confidence.  Right or wrong, like it or not, exterior beauty is one, if not the primary, channel to get noticed.  Being "put together" with a great outfit, good jewelry, shoes and purse get her noticed.  External beauty is perceived as being connected to success.  This is one way of being recognized and valued by family, friends and co-workers and demonstrating to the world that she is achieving self-actualization.  While it may seem counterintuitive, and goes against what many a feminist would argue for, dressing well and being made up is an expression of feminine power; it's a way to show the world that you care.

3.  Women Want . . . To Wear Makeup

These women told us that they view makeup as an opportunity, an enhancement.  While the degree of importance varies greatly across cultures and lifestyles, all agreed that makeup was important to them.  For some, it makes them more secure about themselves and they feel more beautiful and alive.  Others thought it showed effort and professionalism.  One Korean woman said, "In Seoul, if you don't wear makeup, people ask if you're sick, and men think you're lazy."  In Eastern Europe, the ritual of makeup is a visible indicator of someone who is aspirational and self-realized, and was described as "a condition of the soul -- it is a necessity, like breathing."

4.  Women Want . . . Their Beauty Products to Change With Their Needs

Whether its a simple moisturizer change with the different seasons of the year, or responding to the needs of her aging skin, a woman wants to make sure that she is doing what her skin needs RIGHT NOW, and she realizes that changes over time.  Many women say they commit to a more thoughtful regimen of skin care and higher quality products as they age.  At the same time, they shift to more subtle and nuanced color cosmetics with passing years.  They expect innovation and customization from the brand that they use and are always on the lookout for something new or better.  Some women are driven to rotate among favorite products every now and then because they believe that, after a while, their skin stops responding to the efficacy of specific products. (This is totally a myth, by the way, that drives our entire industry crazy.)

The final question we posed in the area of beauty products was this one:  "If you could create the IDEAL beauty product, what would it be?"  Here's what they said:

The IDEAL beauty product must be EFFECTIVE; it works and delivers on the promised benefit.

The IDEAL beauty product must be FOR ME; it's personalized for MY skin type, MY skin tone, at this stage of MY life, in THIS season and matches MY beauty regimen.

The IDEAL beauty product must be RELEVANT AND CONTEMPORARY; it has to be up-to-the-minute, beautiful to look at, technologically-advanced, derived from the latest ingredients and from a brand that "gets me".

The IDEAL beauty product must be A GOOD VALUE; it has to be affordable, not so inexpensive that it fails to be credible or impress, but not so expensive that I can't afford it.

They also had a lot to say about how they wanted to shop for and purchase their IDEAL beauty products.  But for that, you'll have to wait until the next post!