"Ugly" Is the New "Beautiful"
Beauty Ideals That Are Detrimental to Health Are Out
Market researchers at Mintel have examined a new trend. According to the analysts, "ugly beauty" aims to put an end to strict beauty standards that are proven to have a negative effect on mental and physical health. The trend originated on the social media platform TikTok. The analysts observed that features previously seen as "blemishes", such as imperfect teeth, acne, stretch marks and female body hair, are now being presented as stylish statement accessories.
Looks as an Expression of Personal Life Stories
According to the researchers, the ugly beauty trend recognises a person's looks as an expression of their personal past and individuality. An increasing number of beauty brands are creating advertising campaigns that celebrate supposedly "unattractive" or "ugly" features. In 2019, Gucci launched one such campaign for lipstick starring the model and singer Dani Miller, but mainly featuring the large gaps in her teeth.
However, Mintel has also found counter-reactions to the ugly beauty trend. One criticism is that only people who conform to normal definitions of beauty can afford to have additional "ugly" features. It is a privilege to have imperfect looks and still be regarded as cool. The researchers report that the real problem of being under permanent pressure to look perfect has not gone away and critics think the issue cannot be solved by the new trend.
Recognition of "Imperfection" Must Be Meant Seriously
Data collected by the analysts confirm that more than every third person in Germany and 44 per cent of under-25-year-olds do not believe beauty and care brands' attempts to appear diverse and inclusive are authentic. Therefore, Mintel recommends that beauty brands critically reconsider such efforts in order to avoid being rejected by the younger generation in particular. For this age group, the issue is not merely superficial, the market researchers continue. Young consumers want to see real change.