In a world where posting multiple selfies to social media is considered the norm, it appears that people are becoming vainer than ever before — and a new study backs this sad truth up.
The study, which was conducted by Superdrug in the U.K., found that the average woman’s daily beauty routine has 27 steps. A decade ago this number topped out at only eight steps. From start to finish, the total routine now takes about 40 minutes to complete, whereas it took only a modest 17 minutes back in 2006.
So what could be the cause for this drastic expansion in our beauty routines? Well, the Daily Mail pointed out that many experts believe celebrities and the way they present themselves on social media are to blame. For example, the Kardashians are frequently seen sporting layer upon layer of makeup and posting their different looks to their Instagram accounts, therefore popularizing a heavier makeup application. Compare that to a decade ago, when women like Sienna Miller (who was a beauty icon of 2006) were big proponents of a more natural look, leading fans to keep their makeup to a minimum.
Beauty trends like contouring are also a big culprit here. There are more than 1,150,000 contouring tutorials on YouTube at the moment, encouraging women to buy multiple products to keep them appearing selfie-ready at all times — just like the stars.
A spokesperson for Superdrug told the Daily Mail: “It’s vital for today’s young beauty lover that they are selfie ready at any time of the day or night. They are taking professional makeup artist routines and recreating them for their daily lives.”
As different beauty trends pushed out on social media become more complex over time (think contouring, strobing, and ombré lips), more products emerge to keep up with them, creating a huge jump in the overall volume of products available to consumers. “While defined brows, contoured cheekbones, long-lasting lipstick and artfully applied eye makeup look amazing, it’s interesting that for us they have spawned a whole new category of products such as fixing sprays and new heavy duty makeup remover,” the spokesperson added, confirming that these kinds of products wouldn’t exist without the increase of heavier makeup applications on Instagram.
Although these findings can likely be attributed to heavily made-up celebrities and the selfie culture we live in, there’s also an undercurrent of resistance against this trend, most notably with other celebrities like Alicia Keys and Gabrielle Union leading the charge of the no-makeup movement. Considering how quickly Keys has been able to spread this revolution among fans, it’s fair to say that we might see a drop in product use sooner than we think. We’re predicting that skin care will take the front seat on women’s list of priorities rather than having multiple steps in their makeup routines. Only time will tell.