Only 17% of women believe racial beauty is accepted by society

Just 17% of women think that racial beauty is truly accepted by society, according to new data.

A new report, titled Forces of Beauty, from Driving Racial Equality in Aesthetic Medicine (DREAM), surveyed 4,000 women, aged between 21 and 65 about what inclusive and representative beauty looks like today, with a focus on how Eurocentric ideals affect women of colour.

The report found that just 17% of women felt that racial beauty is accepted by society, and one in four Black, Hispanic, and multi-racial women believe society's standards of beauty are racist.

It also revealed that just over half (52%) of women agree that "anyone can be beautiful," despite only 11% of women saying that society makes them feel beautiful.

These statistics tally with a separate recent report that showed the UK beauty industry could be missing out on £2.7bn per year by failing to cater to multi-ethnic customers.

"We are in a position, as industry leaders, to drive the necessary change within the aesthetics industry,” said Jonah Shacknai, executive chairman of skinbetter Science, which developed the report with Allergan Aesthetics. “We need to create a candid dialogue about racial representation and perceptions within our aesthetics community.”

Carrie Strom, senior vice president at AbbVie and president of global Allergan Aesthetics, added, "Historically, the industry hasn't included all women in its definition of beauty. As industry leaders, our goal is to create a more equitable beauty and aesthetics industry that focuses on diversity, representation, and inclusion.

"That is what Forces of Beauty is about, impacting change and creating a space where the origins of beauty are honoured, the definition of beauty is vastly expanded upon, and where uniqueness is the standard."

The report will be brought to life through a video series produced by Shutterstock Studios, featuring four women sharing their stories and experiences. Each chapter will support the report's overall findings: that women of all races strongly believe that "one of us cannot represent all of us"; that the standard of beauty should not be defined by only one group; and, that the origins of beauty and cultural practices be celebrated without being exploited.

Coinciding with the report launch, the DREAM Initiative will also unveil a partnership in the aesthetics category with Shutterstock Studios and introduce a royalty-free gallery of diverse images available to the public.

The collection includes thousands of images showcasing beauty across race, culture, gender, age, ability level, and body type, to illustrate the report’s key takeaway, that "one of us is not the face of all of us”, encouraging industry peers to use these assets and creating the first step towards a more equitable industry.

Read more on racial diversity in the beauty industry: Why we need to talk about the language we use to describe Black skin