Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The beauty Bizz

$160 billion-a-year global industry

A curvy body, with big breasts and a waist-to-hip ratio of less than 0.8?( Barbie's is 0.54 ) ?shows an ideal stage of readiness for conception

an American scientist, logged the mating preferences of more than 10,000 people across 37 cultures. It found that a woman's physical attractiveness came top or near top of every man's list

Paul Beiersdorf, a Hamburg pharmacist, developed the first cream to bind oil and water. Today, it sells in 150 countries as Nivea, the biggest personal-care brand in the world

On launching her famous eight-hour cream, developed for her horses, Arden quipped: ?I judge a woman and a horse by the same criteria: legs, head and rear end.?

Beauty firms spend just 2-3% of their sales on research & development?compared with 15% by the pharmaceuticals industry. On the other hand, they spend a whopping 20-25% on advertising and promotion.

Cosmetic surgery, already a $20 billion business, is growing and innovating by leaps and bounds. The number of cosmetic procedures have increased in America by over 220% since 1997. Old favourites, such as liposuction, breast implants and nose jobs, are being overtaken by botox injections to freeze the facial muscles that cause wrinkles. With the number of these up by more than 2,400% since 1997, botox injections have become the most common procedure of all.

The newest lines are bottom implants, fat inserts to plump up ageing hands, and fillers like Restylane and Perlane for facial wrinkles. Cosmetic dentistry is also a booming business. Jeff Golub, Manhattan dentist to stars like Kim Catrall of ?Sex and the City?, dubs himself a ?smile designer?. ?We are able to create all sorts of illusions,? he says. ?The smile has become a fashion statement.

An 18th-century British law proposing to allow husbands to annul marriages to wives who had trapped them with ?scents, paints, artificial teeth, false hair and iron stays?, had no effect on women, who continued to clamour for the latest French skin creams.

During the second world war, the American government had to reverse a decision to remove lipstick from its list of essential commodities in order to prevent a rebellion by female war workers. The beauty business?the selling of ?hope in a jar?, as Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon, once called it?is as permanent as its effects are ephemeral.


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