The Products Voted Most Essential to our Lives

Will new research provide proof that cosmetic and personal care products are as essential to our lives as ever?
Here is what we uncovered...
by Dr Emma Meredith, Director-General, CTPA

we wanted to know what particular products we place most importance on in our lives. Which ones do people class as essential to them? Looking at the figures for all UK adults, the clear front-runner is deodorant or antiperspirant, regarded as essential to the lives of 71% of women and 46% of men.

This is closely followed by oral care products (68% of women and 38% of men) then hair washing and conditioning products (68% of women and 30% of men). Nearly half of us class soap or liquid soap as essential (48%) - perhaps not surprising with handwashing being the first line of defence against the spread of COVID - and many see moisturiser as essential too (52% of women and 16% of men). However, sunscreen is seen as essential by only 20% of us, putting it on a par with lip balm. Women, more than men, regard many types of colour cosmetics to be essential to their lives. Mascara takes the top spot in this regard, for 33% of women, closely followed by foundation or concealer (32%). More than one in four women (26%) cite lipstick or lip gloss as essential, while eyeliner is an essential for just under one in five (18%).

Meanwhile, just under a third of men see shaving or hair removal products as essential to their lives (30%), while nearly one in five feel this about fragrances (18%) and hand sanitisers (18%). Perhaps another lockdown legacy?

Facts to make us feel more than proud

This article was started by posing the question of whether our industry’s products are still as essential to our lives today as they ever were? I’ll finish up by saying the answer is a categorical ‘yes’! Today more than eight out of ten of us (85%) class cosmetics and personal care products as essential to our lives, rising to an incredible 94% among women.

In fact, given our low levels of self-esteem at the moment, the growing emphasis on appearance as a factor in building it, and how many people say they turn to our products for a welcome boost, it would seem our industry has an increasingly important role to play.

This is a fact that plays out in the research in so many of the findings. It’s a fact that plays out every time the industry’s incredible charity, Look Good Feel Better, hosts workshops for men, women and young adults undergoing cancer treatment, helping them to transform the way they look and how they feel. It’s a fact that we feel the truth of in our daily lives. In my case, every time I put on my lipstick throughout the day. It’s a fact that everyone working in the industry should feel incredibly proud of as you head into the office, laboratory, factory, shop, salon or wherever else you may be working your magic today.



CTPA market research with Opinium polled 2,000 UK adults between 25 February and 1 March 2022. See more information about this research in CTPA's Annual Report 2021, More Than A Feeling...