Women in cosmetology


Valérie-Anne Paglia
Director, Qualitative Research IPSOS

Passionate about qualitative consumer research in Beauty, Valérie-Anne Paglia, tells us about global consumer trends and untapped investigation fields in Skincare

Behind The Business Woman

I am more passionate and excited than ever to work in the field of consumer qualitative research in Skincare & Make up. At a time, when there is so much speaking on skincare on the internet, qualitative research brings some level of objectivity by analyzing the words used by the consumers, their opinions and behaviors in real life. I started and kept working for skincare brands because it has always been an innovative and dynamic field. It is an even more creative and fast moving category today as beauty related topics have gained significant traction in the digital world. We are working way beyond product concept, brand territory exploration to further understand how women are getting inspired, how they connect their beauty expectations with product sensory cues and how does this differ across new generations.

Your View on Skincare Innovations

  • The relationship with brands has completely changed. A few years ago, there was only a lot of Big brands and now there is a plethora of small brands that have become very attractive especially to the younger population. People are now looking for brands that have a meaning, that are ethically responsible; brands that “have a soul” and give the impression to be more sincere than the ones that have shaped the beauty world for many years.
  • There has been a shift in the beauty model identification process. The digital explosion has created new inspiration models leveraging real consumer experts or more approachable celebrities. This is especially true in the make-up category. Speaking with ‘women like me’ through bloggers creates a more approachable access to beauty and less founded on inaccessible beauty projections.
  • Lastly, the “Do it yourself” trend and the customization approach are creating even more distance with the big brands. There is a real transformation happening in the market which has a significant impact in the way the young generation connects to the products: They want to be part of their creation to believe in their efficacy… the more personalized, the more effective.

Differences in Skincare Rituals Around the World and Across Generations

  • At a macro level, there are some differences in body zones priorities according to where you look at beauty around the world : we notice a real importance given to hair on the African continent where “Hair is Crown: Show me your hair and I will tell you who you are”. In Asia, facial skin care comes first with a real obsession for skin tone purity : the K-beauty is even making its way to Europe and Northern America with its fascinating inflationary 10 steps skincare routine .
  • Naturality is everywhere: in the selection of ingredients, in the search for more sincerity and transparency but also as the new aspirational beauty Ideal. Beauty criteria have changed: it is more about embracing differences, leveraging inner strengths, looking for solutions to find ‘its better self’. Consequently, consumers become more in charge of creating their “own beauty set” and do no longer accept descending and directing communication from brands. This contributes greatly to the rise of the “Do it Yourself” trend.
  • One fascinating field for us working in Qualitative research is also to observe the perpetual contradictions of people. It is what we call the ‘say/do’ gap which is very interesting to analyze. There is for example an ongoing tension in between the consumer searching for a more natural beauty & formulas without excluding the idea of using aesthetic surgery at some point in life.

Are there any specific trends on the horizon?

To me, the observation of the skincare routine is an untapped Investigation field: What is happening at the senses level? How is the efficacy of a product perceived from a sensorial perspective? We repeat gestures day after day and we should better observe women to understand what is happening in their mind, understand the impact of repetitive actions on their perception of efficacy & pleasure. A real Deep Dive into product experience and an observation of each micro gesture should allow us to draw “The ballet of everyday skincare gestures”- as famous dance choreographers do to keep their work alive. This is a fascinating exploration field.