New Beauty Study Reveals Days, Times And Occasions When U.S. Women Feel Least Attractive

Mondays, Mornings and Emotions Top List of Negative Influencers

Oct 02, 2013, 10:00 ET from PHD Media

NEW YORK, Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Beauty product marketers – not to mention husbands, significant others and anyone who talks to women – may want to pay special attention to a new study from media planning agency PHD revealing the dates, times and occasions when U.S. women feel their least attractive. 

The quantitative survey of women 18+ across the U.S was designed to identify when women feel most vulnerable about their appearance throughout the week in order to determine the best timing for beauty product messages and promotions. "Identifying the right time to engage with consumers with the right message is Marketing 101," says Kim Bates, who heads Brand Planning at PHD, " but when you are trying to connect with women on so personal an issue as appearance, it can be even more important to understand the wrong time as well."  

While the study was designed to provide insights to marketers, the results may be valuable on an interpersonal level as well – especially for anyone who may need to speak to a woman on a Monday morning.

Just Another Manic Monday

Overall, women across all age groups and geographies (urban, suburban, rural) have strong commonalities when it comes to feeling vulnerable about their beauty, especially the day of the week they feel their worst, with almost half of all women (46%) of respondents saying that they feel least attractive on Mondays.

Not surprisingly, responses indicated that the negative attitudes seemed tied to the traditional bias against Monday as the first day of the workweek, and inherent effects of stress on their appearance, as well as the lack of motivation for making an effort. However, a number of women also mentioned the visible and emotional effects of weekend social activities on their faces – which may explain Sunday taking the number two slot on the "ugly day" index, with 39 percent of respondents identifying it as their worst day.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, women feel best on Thursdays, as the workweek is winding down and they are emotionally preparing for weekend socializing.

Mornings Are Ugly… and Late Night Isn't All That Pretty Either

When it comes to feeling good about themselves, women aren't morning people. When asked to name the time of day when they feel they look their worst, a combined total of 69 percent of respondents identified the hours between 5-7 am, and 7-9 am. On the other hand, they aren't night people either with 54 percent saying they also feel least attractive after 10 pm, when they are worn out from the day.   Positive feelings about their appearance seem to be strongest in a relatively short window between noon and 3 pm.

Seeing Emotions in the Mirror

When the survey went beyond day parts to ask about the occasions they felt least attractive, the responses were more situational or emotional in nature. Among the top situations in which women feel least attractive, the top mentions included when they are waking up (69 percent), when I am sick (67 percent), sweating (62 percent), stressed (61 percent), crying (60 percent, and the end of a long day (54 percent). No surprises there. 

What was surprising were some of the other triggers that women listed for feeling unattractive – feeling depressed, feeling angry, worrying, feeling lonely -- none of which had to do with the actual  condition of their skin or face. "The cultural and psychological implications of that response are significant," says Bates, "and from a marketing perspective, it could be a factor in everything from creative concept to media platforms to promotional offers."

The Marketing Opportunity: Encourage/Empower

According to Bates, these results point to an opportunity to heavy- up and wrap marketing and media activity around the days that the beauty consumer feels the best and worst about her image, using a contrasting "Encourage/Empower" engagement strategy. 

In this scenario, Monday becomes the day to encourage the beauty product consumer to get going and feel beautiful again, so marketing messages should focus on feeling smart, instant beauty/fashion fixes, and getting things planned and done.  Concentrate  media during prime vulnerability moments, aligning with content involving tips and tricks, instant beauty rescues, dressing for the success, getting organized for the week and empowering stories.

On the enhance side, Thursday offers prime opportunities for  marketing messages and in-store/promotional activity around celebrating  best beauty looks, dressing for the weekend, and shopping get-togethers.  Concentrate media during her most beautiful moments, aligning with content involving weekend guides, weekend style, beauty tips for social activities and positive stories.

As Bates notes, the Encourage/Empower approach can be effective in one-on-one engagements as well. "When it comes to engaging with women at any level, knowing where she is on her personal attractiveness index, and the appropriate messages relative to that information, can only make for a more productive exchange."

About PHD

PHD is a global media and communications agency that has been built on a culture of thought leadership, creativity and innovation. The agency has an industry-leading reputation for strategic planning across all disciplines, with a presence in 65 markets with over 2,500 employees worldwide. The PHD network is part of Omnicom Media Group (OMG) is the media services division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC).

Survey Methodology: PHD conducted a series of 30 minutes interview among women 18+ selected from a proprietary US panel. 648 respondents were surveyed over two days in the spring of 2013. Survey contained questions related to the moments when respondents felt most vulnerable about their appearance and attractiveness.  Demographics were weighted to be representative of women across the US using MRI 2012 Doublebase Study.


Isabelle Gauvry