Published: 30 June 2022  (Updated: 01 July 2022)

BLOG: CTPA Survey reveals UK in ‘Self-Esteem Slump’ - Top Eight Self-Care Boosters that could support mental health


This World Wellbeing Week, new CTPA research reveals being confident in how we look helps us feel good.

The number of Brits reporting low self-esteem has tripled in the last two decades from 7% of UK adults in 2004 to 20% today according to a new survey that suggests the nation is in a ‘Self-Esteem Slump’ post Covid.

The poll, which was conducted by Opinium, is the latest addition to nearly two decades of self-esteem tracking research by the UK Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association. It reveals that more than a third of Brits (39%) think the pandemic has adversely affected their self-esteem, with this figure rising among women (45%).

Looking at the factors people cite as ‘very important’ for building up their self-esteem provides clues as to why the pandemic may have had such a negative impact on the way we feel about ourselves.

‘Confidence in my appearance’ was cited as very important for building up self-esteem by more than half of those surveyed (54%) - yet millions of Brits had to make changes to their exercise and self-care routines when gyms,  salons and stores closed during lockdowns.

‘Having a supportive family’ was seen as very important by nearly the same number (53%), suggesting that prolonged periods of isolation away from loved-ones may have taken their toll. Meanwhile, ‘having a rewarding job’ was very important to a third of Brits (35%), millions of whom were furloughed or working remotely during the pandemic.

Dr Emma Meredith, Pharmacist and Director-General of the CTPA, said: “Since 2004 we’ve run a number of research dips looking at self-esteem and the factors that influence this and we have never seen the nation’s self-esteem levels so low. Likewise, those reporting high self-esteem have dropped from 37% a decade ago to 29% today. It’s clear that the disruption the pandemic caused has significantly affected our mood and that self-care to support our mental health is a pressing priority”.

Self-care self-esteem boosters: the nation’s Top Eight

When asked what helps to give their self-esteem a boost, ‘positive mental health’ was cited by nearly nine out of ten Brits (88%), making protecting it the number one priority.

Top Eight Self Care pick-me-ups:

  1. Positive mental health88%
  2. Catching Zzzzs: Getting enough sleep - 87%
  3. Scrubbing up: Using toiletries for cleanliness and hygiene - 84%
  4. Weighing in: Maintaining a healthy weight - 83%
  5. Eating well: Eating a healthy diet - 81%
  6. Working out: Keeping fit and active - 78%
  7. Kitting up: Wearing clothes that make me feel confident - 73%
  8. Covering up: Wearing sunscreen to protect my skin from the sun - 65%

CTPA has tracked self-esteem, and the factors that influence this, over nearly two decades.  Our recent research, in partnership with research specialist Opinium, has uncovered more about how we really feel about ourselves and our cosmetics.  Not only does this research enable greater understanding of the role our industry plays in today’s society but it also allows us to gain insight into what drives the customers who use our products every day.

All 2022 results from Opinium research for CTPA.  Conducted 25.02.22 – 01.03-22 on nationally representative sample of 2000 UK adults

Find us on...