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Beauty is a life story

The Power of lipstick 

A fierce activist

For some, it’s a conformist tool. For others, it’s a rebel weapon. There are few cosmetics as charged with meaning as red lipstick, which over the centuries has been associated with female allure, sex, sin, glamour, power and politics. Today, on the streets and in political circles, this colored substance applied to lips is a symbol of bold sensuality and a congressional armor.

An antitode to the crisis?

But lipstick doesn't just boost lips: it also boosts morale. After every crisis, it’s on everyone's lips. It even bears the name of an economic and psychological phenomenon: the "lipstick effect".After every event, like the World Trade Center in 2001, the sub-prime crisis in 2008 or in post-Covid in 2020, its sales explodes. In France in the spring of 2022, they jumped by 48%. Social and political marker, lipstick is our unfailing companion in difficult times.Is it an antidote to the crisis? In times of uncertainty, tucked away at the bottom of a handbag, lipstick helps restore self-confidence. One thing is certain: beauty can also be a response to suffering. The more we experience the pain of life, the more we appreciate the value of beauty.

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Beauty’s role in society

It reflects our choices in life 

Beyond appearance, our quest for beauty raises a number of fundamental questions. What role do our bodies and senses play in a time of rapid social changes, where the virtual world, images and performance reign supreme? How can we express what makes us different, and reflect who we truly are as we face the normative power of social networks? How can we take time out for ourselves and care for others when everything is changing around us? How can we ground ourselves and find the strength to get through these uncertain times? Now, more than ever, we need to take the quest for beauty seriously, because it reflects our choices in life. and society

Beauty can shield from social exclusion

Beauty is fundamental to maintain human dignity and social inclusion as it signals an individual’s respectability and acceptance within society. According to psychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik, isolation causes a loss of self-confidence and social belonging. 67% of vulnerable women in France, who received socio-esthetic care and socio-hairdressing from NGO Association Joséphine, said these treatments helped them find employment and trainings. 75% of them, finally had access to healthcare. Therein lies the paradox - it’s precisely when times are tough that we realize just how important beauty is.

Performing a simple beauty gesture for a person whose access to beauty has been compromised embodies the very essence of our humanity: a sense of dignity. When everything else has fallen apart, these gestures tied to sight and touch help us to pick ourselves up again. They invite us to talk and listen to one another, and they express respect.


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The values of the collective

When illness or financial instability strike, beauty and wellness therapy can be a lifeline. It provides physical support for emotional suffering and pain. Beauty renews our self-esteem and trust in others. It helps us to retake possession of our unique bodies, to enjoy well-being and to retake our place in society. When we’re faced with life’s difficulties, beauty can help repair the damage we sustain. Because it reconnects us to the collective values of solidarity, mutual assistance and inclusion, it reminds us of what’s really important in life: strong ties. The quest for beauty pushes us to the values of the collective: care, concern for others, solidarity, altruism, empathy, tenderness.

Promoting social harmony

A personal and at the same time collective journey, beauty helps us define who we are, and how we want to interact with others. It can promote physical and social well-being and is inextricably linked with love, dignity and social harmony. But it’s an arduous quest. One that builds us up and sets us in motion. As an ambivalent force, our quest for beauty can hurt and exclude - just as it can heal, connect and include.

The rise of mass media and advertising in the 20th century increased the normative pressure on our appearance with its obsessions with perfection, youth and thinness. Further amplified by social media, this pressure kindles dissatisfaction with our bodies and can cause appearance anxiety. Today, 18–34-year olds have more plastic surgery than 50-60-year-olds. This quest of beauty can take us far – questioning our very identity and exploring the diversity of our bodies, the infinite nuances of cultures and the astonishing creativity of living things.

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Pride in the Natural Hair Movement

In November 2022, Michelle Obama spoke with TV personality Ellen DeGeneres about societal expectations regarding her hair as First Lady of the United States, noting she often straightened her hair during her husband's two terms as president. For years, Black women have straightened their hair to fit a beauty archetype.

According to a LinkedIn survey, two-thirds of Black women in the US reported changing their natural hairstyles prior to a job interview, and studies have indicated that natural hair is 2.5 times more likely to be perceived as unprofessional. However, society is evolving, and for many Black women today, embracing their natural curls has become essential to self-expression. Knowing that the beauty industry has the power to create meaningful change, L’Oréal Groupe is proud to be a member of the Professional Beauty Association’s Texture Education Collective, an alliance of professional hair industry leaders in the US working together to influence cosmetology state board licensing requirements and curriculums to be inclusive of all hair textures and all hair types.

Hair holds deep significance in expressing identity and unique cultural heritages. By 2030, it is projected that 40% of the world's population will have textured hair, encompassing waves, curls, and coils. Collectively, we are moving away from a beauty standard that calls for smooth, straight hair toward a culture of natural movement, spearheaded by Black women's embrace of their natural hair.


" The future of beauty will be diverse, generous and inclusive "

Nicolas Hieronimus
Chief Executive Officer- L’Oréal Groupe

Beauty and Diversity

Beauty gestures are one of the most powerful means of expressing a desire to belong or affirm, or the contrary, a rejection of accepted norms, traditions, models and ideals. Through them we can question established rules, change mentalities, and combat inequality and moral, cultural or social ostracism. Beauty can set each of us free.

Now more than ever, the quest for beauty is about freedom. Every beauty gesture is an act of activism: for freedom, self-confidence, health, diversity and inclusion, and the planet. In the Internet era, the body has become the ultimate site for contesting the norm. In our rapidly changing world, the individual has seized power. People expect beauty to help them physically express their unique choices and personality.

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Celebrating differences 

Different types of bodies, skin and hair… Beauty norms have become more open and inclusive when it comes to age, sex, ethnicity and disabilities. By adopting inclusive beauty, the cosmetics industry is helping to create more egalitarian societies that celebrate differences. Many countries that were until recently primarily influenced by Western norms, have begun promoting their own standards.

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The era of cosm’ethics

Multiple beauties, gender fluidity, the fight against agism, racism and sexism and to protect the planet - the era of Cosm’ethics is here. And it raises questions about our individual and collective responsibilities. In light the new demographic and environmental challenges we face, the transformation of the beauty industry can help to strengthen social ties, stimulate collective intelligence and boost our ability to reinvent ourselves.

In truth, the quest for beauty showcases our values - both ethical and esthetic: it communicates our personal value as well as our collective values. This inspiring adventure transforms the relationship we have with ourselves, with others and with the world at large.

The quest for beauty helps us overcome these challenges, giving us the ability to reinvent ourselves and to adapt. Our relationship with our body and sensations determines our ability to let ourselves be touched and transformed by the world. To enter into resonance with the world around us, in a unique, sensitive and profound way.

Accepting imperfection

Underpinned by an enthusiasm for holistic health, the quest for beauty is also a spiritual quest. The word ‘cosmetics’ shares the same root as ‘cosmos,’ to express the world’s beauty and harmony. Chinese cosmogony (the branch of science that deals with the origins of the universe), sees beauty as qi - the vital energy that contexts us to the world around us.

And in Japan, the current craze for Wabi Sabi is revealing a profound evolution in the concept of beauty. Put simply, it’s the Japanese concept of accepting imperfection as an inherent part of beauty.

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million people will have benefited from L'Oréal brands’ social responsibility program by 2030



of humanity will have curly hair due to the mixing of populations in 2030

" It’s up to us to build and protect an island of solidarity, where mutual respect remains an essential value "

François Dalle
Former L’Oréal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Discover The Essentiality of beauty

Many people think beauty is superficial, but in doing so they are not looking deeply enough. Beauty has been an essential human need from time immemorial.

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