Skip to content
Woman with short blonde hair standing in the street

Dove Inner Critic

Are you your own worst beauty critic? A woman’s relationship with beauty is complicated. To understand it better, we commissioned a follow up to our 2004 survey, The Real Truth About Beauty, with our largest ever survey to date, The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited to further explore how our relationship with beauty affects us.

And after talking to 6,400 women around the world between the ages of 18–64, we discovered that our relationship with beauty is still pretty complicated. In fact, it’s in definite need of nurturing.

The most significant finding from our first survey was that only 2% of women would describe themselves as beautiful. The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited revealed that this increased to 4% and while this proves that the needle is moving in the right direction, we think there’s still a long way to go.

One of the biggest barriers to feeling beautiful? Ourselves. More than half of women globally name themselves as their worst beauty critic. That’s 672 million women worldwide who are preventing themselves from reaching their full beauty potential. To illustrate this, we created two Dove videos: Inner Critic and Friends. For Inner Critic, we approached women on the street and asked them to tell us how they felt about their bodies. Unsurprisingly, it took them much less time (about two seconds, in fact) to reel off the things they disliked about their bodies than it did to think of the things they thought were beautiful.

For Dove Friends, we asked another question: what do you love about your friend’s body? The answers were abundant: stomachs, legs, boobs, hair, eyes, skin – not a single body part went unadmired. It raised the question: why - when we so easily see beauty in our friends – is it so difficult for us to see it in ourselves?

We believe that by encouraging women to build a positive relationship with beauty we can help them reach their full potential for happiness, confidence and success. Think of all the things we could achieve if low self-esteem and bad body image didn’t hold us back… The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited proved that there’s still much work to do to repair the relationship we have with beauty – and that it’s massively important that we do. Everyone can make a difference: we’re urging all women to do their bit for boosting beauty confidence and turn that 4% into 100%. Together we can change how we see beauty.