Mothers are the biggest influencers when it comes to beauty standards

Beauty is now more than skin deep. 

A new global survey by Ipsos shows that attributes such as kindness, happiness, confidence, dignity, intelligence, wisdom make men and women more beautiful, instead of only the physical ones such as appearance of skin, body type, hairstyle, sexiness. 

“Role of non physical attributes in defining beauty is an interesting trend. They are the over arching attributes which complete a person’s persona and thus makes a person attractive. Inner beauty that manifests itself as happiness or confidence is increasingly becoming relevant. At the same time, globally as well as among Indians there are ideal physical parameters of beauty (as expected) but inner beauty is the cherry on the top,” says Amit Adarkar, CEO Ipsos India & Operation Director, APAC, Ipsos.  

Key attributes that make Indian women beautiful

The survey busts myths.

The key attributes of beauty in the pecking order were – happiness (82%), confidence (82%), kindness (79%), dignity (78%), intelligence (77%), wisdom (77%), strength (74%), humour (70%), professional success (65%), youthfulness (64%), financial success (60%), sense of style (59%), body weight & shape(54%), spirituality/ religious faith (54%), facial appearance (54%), sexiness (53%), hairstyling (51%),  appearance of skin (51%) and make up/ cosmetic (41%). 

Billy Joel singing: I don’t want clever conversations, I never wanna work that hard - maybe a thing of the past – intelligence and wisdom are beauty defining attributes, for women.

Interestingly, these beauty defining attributes are in sync with the global verdict. Globally too women are adjudged beautiful if they embody: kindness (71%), happiness (71%), dignity (70%), confidence (69%), intelligence (66%), wisdom (65%), humour (60%) etc. Make up/ cosmetics (26%), spiritual/ religious faith (30%) are lowest in the pecking order. 

How about men? What attributes define beauty in Indian men?   

Other than happiness, all other attributes indicated are quite in sync with the popular perception for Indian men that make them stand out.  

Top beauty attributes that emerged for Indian men included: happiness (84%), confidence (84%), intelligence (80%), dignity (79%), wisdom (79%), strength (79%), professional success (69%), financial success (69%), youthfulness (63%), sense of style (58%), body weight & shape (57%), spirituality/  religious faith (57%), hairstyling (53%), sexiness (52%), facial expression (52%), appearance of skin (49%) and make-up/ cosmetics (39%). 

“Beauty defining non physical attributes for both men and women are quite similar. May be we should re-work the old adage- ‘birds of the same feather flock together’ to ‘birds of the same disposition & personality flock together !’” adds Adarkar. 

Key influencer for personal beauty routine

Marketers’ trust in influencers via influencer marketing is somewhat misplaced, for beauty tips.

84% Indian women say their mother is most influential in their personal beauty routine; 83% credit friends; 78% Indian women say their sister and other family members have influenced their personal beauty routine; 70% credit magazines and online videos; and 60% refer to Instagram and photo sharing for beauty tips.   

“While beauty routines are handed down from mothers to daughters, fashion magazines and Instagram have opened up new vistas for women to stay updated and fashion forward,” Adarkar added.


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