According to multiple studies, people with a positive view of themselves (SWB) tend to sleep better, eat well, and even seek guidance from health professionals more frequently. Overall, they’re taking better care of themselves. This can go as far as adding years onto their lives.
September 9, 2021
The global beauty industry is worth $511 billion. Clearly, we spend a significant amount of money on trying to appear better, but does this actually improve our wellbeing? Some say it’s better to look good than to feel good but why shouldn’t we expect both?
When you look good, studies show you often feel more confident. The psychological experience of feeling good about yourself is called subjective well-being (SWB). According to multiple studies, people with a positive view of themselves (SWB) tend to sleep better, eat well, and even seek guidance from health professionals more frequently. Overall, they’re taking better care of themselves. This can go as far as adding years onto their lives.
So, people that like themselves live better. Where does the beauty industry come in?
Remember What Not to Wear? Or maybe the more recent Queer Eye? Besides making you cry every episode, these types of shows all have something in common: the appearance of the contestants is changed. From clothing to hairstyles, each contestant is given a full makeover in line with the latest trends. They’re taught how to dress, take care of their hair and skin, as well as apply complimentary makeup. They’re given a crash course on how to look better, in the eye of current, mostly American, beauty standards.
Let me start by saying there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, I love it. I believe a makeover can do wonders for those struggling with confidence. This goes back to SWB - when you think you look good, you feel good, and therefore can more successfully take on the day ahead.
“Beauty and personal care behaviors enhance SWB, which in turn promotes other self-care behaviors. Over time, this thought/action cycle leads to a repertoire of enduring personal habits that can impact overall well-being.” - Vivian Diller, Ph.D
Let’s not forget that beauty is an evolutionary process. What we perceive as beautiful often directly relates to our health: radiant skin (healthy, hydrated) or youthful appearance (fertility). These attributes are signals to potential mates that we are good partners to procreate with. And, this isn’t new. Many animals and living creatures have some sort of tell-tell sign of being the best, healthiest match for mating.
“Traditional beauty—the outer kind—serves as a proxy of how healthy you are. It's the message you send to others about your health. Simply, beauty is an instant message to others that transmits youth, fertility, and health. That's why beauty is an extremely important evolutionary cue. Not convinced? Look at traditional images of ugly things—pus, blood, gore. They almost always correlate with something unhealthy.” - Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
An obvious contender for improving perceived beauty is taking care of your skin. It’s the largest organ in the body and is often the first thing people notice about us. A few companies within the skincare industry who are improving it for the better include:
Acaderma focuses on clean formulas that benefit both skin and mind
Hero’s philosophy is based on the fact that everyone has acne and it’s important to remove the stigma around it
Patricks is a male-focused skincare brand bringing a fresh positioning and perspective to the market