Cosmetics are Essential - Wellbeing and Self-Esteem

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

For the full article, 'More Than A Feeling', see the section within the CTPA Annual Report 2021.

In this section:

In our bathroom cabinets, our toiletry and make-up bags, work drawers, handbags, baby bags and glove compartments are pots, wants, sticks, tubes and bottles of incredible science that play an essential role in our daily lives.

As consumers, we feel the impact of our cosmetics and personal care products acutely. From our morning routines to our bedtime rituals. Who hasn't felt their stomach drop when they realise they forgot to apply deodorant? Or felt their mood lift on a good hair day? Anyone who knows me knows I am a great proponent of the 'lipstick effect'. My mantra, even when working as a hospital pharmacist, was and is, "no lippy, no work"!


As an industry, we feel our responsibility to consumers keenly. We acknowledge the additive role we play, from enabling good hygiene and health, to supporting self-esteem and wellbeing. It's why companies innovate at such a pace to stay in step with society's needs while harnessing new scientific breakthroughs.

Yet at CTPA, we recognise that the positive influence of our industry’s products on the individual’s self-esteem is far more than just a feeling. It’s a proven fact; and one we’ve been following closely for nearly two decades with the help of independent research partners. At intervals since 2004, our self-esteem studies have charted new highs and lows in the nation’s self-esteem, and explored how contributing factors have evolved. It’s telling that over this time, ‘physical appearance’ has remained a top contributing factor, while perceptions of the positive influence our products have on self-esteem haven’t waivered.

See these self-esteem studies ('The Self-Esteem Society' and 'Me, Myself and Work') here:


However, as we emerge from a tumultuous two years, which have taken a toll on the nation’s physical and mental health in so many ways, it felt like the right time to revisit this research.

Has the pandemic affected our sense of self-worth, or the factors we regard to shape this? Has the trend for remote working changed the emphasis on physical appearance? Has the shift we’ve seen to social media, to combat isolation, helped or hindered our self-esteem?

Our many new normals have raised many new questions in recent months. Therefore, CTPA commissioned research specialists, Opinium, to help answer these questions, while adding to our self-esteem archives. Opinium put a series of polling questions to 2000 UK adults between 25 February and 1 March 2022. Always with that ‘million dollar’ question in mind:

Are our products still as essential to consumers’ lives as ever?

Look through the other pages in this section to find out the results!



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...