Women's attitudes to beauty, aging, and the place of cosmetic procedures: insights from the QUEST Observatory

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2016 Mar;15(1):89-94. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12192. Epub 2015 Nov 14.


Background: The quest for beauty has been a constant theme in human history since the earliest civilizations. The QUEST Observatory, an online observational study, investigated how women continue the pursuit of beauty in the 21st century by examining women's perceptions of facial attractiveness and the strategies they adopt to combat the effects of time on their faces.

Aims: To investigate women's attitudes toward beauty, aging, and the place of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures and anti-aging skincare.

Patients/methods: An in-depth questionnaire was developed by experts in dermatology, esthetic medicine, and social anthropology as the basis for this online, observational study. A nationally representative sample of 1000 French women aged between 25 and 70 years took part in the study.

Results: The main criteria for beauty were identified as a natural look, self-confidence, and attractive skin. A woman is considered to be at the peak of beauty in her mid-thirties just before early signs of facial aging begin to appear. Approximately 50% of women contemplate cosmetic procedures, but less than 10% go ahead. Confidence in the practitioner and good postprocedure follow-up are as influential as efficacy, safety, and cost in decisions about cosmetic procedures.

Conclusions: The QUEST Observatory sheds valuable light on factors that affect women's choices regarding strategies for anti-aging and cosmetic procedures. These findings will help esthetic practitioners to better understand their patients and to meet their expectations.

Keywords: anti-aging; beauty; cosmetics; observatory; procedures; skincare.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Beauty*
  • Cosmetic Techniques* / economics
  • Decision Making
  • Face / physiology
  • Female
  • France
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Skin Aging
  • Surveys and Questionnaires