The biggest beauty influencer isn’t who you think it is

New global study looks at beauty standards, ideals, and routines. With all of the attention paid to online beauty influencers, beauty brands may be missing out on a key target: mothers.

The author(s)

  • Matt Carmichael Ipsos, US
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Mothers, as well as friends, sisters, and other family members, wield the most influence on women’s beauty routines, according to a new Ipsos survey of 19,029 adults from 27 countries. Nearly half of women surveyed said their mother (49%), friends (48%), and sisters or other family (45%) are somewhat or very influential. This compares with only one in three who said that magazines and print media, online videos, and Instagram influenced their routines. In the U.S., the results were even more pronounced. Women were twice as likely to say that their mother and friends influence their beauty routine compared to Instagram.

The survey also asked about beauty ideals and values. Beautiful people are seen as happy, kind and confident, which replicates the survey that led to Dove’s revolutionary “Real Beauty” campaign in 2004.

Ipsos surveyed more than 19,000 men and women around the world asking them to rate the importance of 19 characteristics of beauty. As in 2004, intrinsic characteristics outranked physical characteristics such as appearance of skin, body weight and shape, facial appearance and sexiness. This question was asked about both female and male beauty, and the results were largely consistent for both genders.

But at a time when there are growing calls for a more inclusive sense of beauty, the study finds that very definite ideals still exist across nations and cultures. The survey also asked people to describe a beautiful man and woman in their country based on height, body type, eye and hair color. A plurality generally said “no opinion,” but among those who offered an opinion, a remarkably consistent picture emerged.

Ipsos then commissioned artists in 12 of those countries to illustrate what a beautiful man and woman in their country would look like, based on the survey data. The results were published in Ipsos’ latest award-winning “What the Future” report, focused on the future of beauty.

The report, including the entire global dataset, can be viewed at the newly-launched

The author(s)

  • Matt Carmichael Ipsos, US

Consumer & Shopper