Shifting notions of beauty

  • A young Indonesian woman
  • Kiehl's customer consultation
  • Traditional Indonesian wedding make-up called
  • Deep-rooted beauty

To say that Indonesian society is undergoing transformation is an understatement. A case in point is social media. Indonesia is one of the most Twitter and Facebook-friendly nations on Earth, and also home to the world’s third-largest number of Facebook users. It is thought there are 40 million Facebook users among Indonesia’s 240 million-strong population – no small feat, given that only 21% of Indonesians between the ages of 15 and 49 have access to the Internet, according to a 2011 report. Many in rural areas struggle to get connected, but the social media phenomenon is widespread amongst Indonesia’s urban elite. According to McCann, 15.5 million of these Facebook users in Indonesia are women.

This transformation and openness have deep and lasting implications on the shifting notions of beauty. The younger generation is the most sensitive to new beauty criteria: slenderness and a very fair complexion are considered as signs of modernity. This trend is fueled by the massive arrival of K-Culture and the media phenomenon that has accompanied it over the last three years. It has become very important to have a fair, luminous complexion and many young women use lightening creams. They are eager for innovation and novelty and are prepared to experiment with different hair and skin care products.

When it comes to make-up, consumers used to start using cosmetics when they were aged over 20, or when they started their studies at university, according to Euromonitor’s 2012 report on Colour Cosmetics in Indonesia. In 2011, however, girls in the 13-17 age range, or those in junior high school, started to use various beauty and personal care products, especially colour cosmetics.

Although women aged 40 to 50 are more familiar with natural products, they are very open to the new products that affirm their technological features with ingredients that guarantee reinforced efficacy.

Changes in Indonesian society and the evolving living standards have urged Indonesian women to favour self-affirmation and expression, authenticity and instant gratification in all aspects of their lives, including their expectations of cosmetics.

Overall source: “The transforming faces of the Indonesian women” McCann