The pressures of underarm perfection: Our findings
Women today are exposed to a lot of unrealistic beauty standards that fail to reflect the diversity of beauty seen in real life. In fact, our latest research shows that women and young girls are often feeling negative towards less noticeable parts of their bodies, like their underarms…
The ‘ideal underarm’ criteria is body shaming
It all starts with the idea of an ‘ideal’ underarm. As flawless armpits are seen as ‘normal’, when women’s bodies show anything that falls outside of this narrow definition of beauty – such as redness, dark spots or rolls of skin – these natural features can become sources of body insecurity. So, it’s no wonder that 8 in 10 women and girls have, at some point in their lives, felt bad about how their own underarms have looked.
How underarm beauty standards in society are reinforced
Mainstream media and advertisers have played an important role in promoting the beauty standards women are expected to follow, increasing feelings of body dissatisfaction from generation to generation. But now, as more of us are spending hours online, the social media networks and the influencers who use them have become increasingly powerful¹. In fact, the majority of women and girls who took part in our Underarm Confidence Survey ranked social media and influencers as the key source of the societal pressure to have ‘perfect’ armpits, heightening the negative effects of beauty standards, above even mainstream media:
- Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, Body Image Expert and Professor of Psychology.
The impact of underarm insecurities
Beauty standards don’t just influence how women and girls care for their underarms – the impact can go far deeper. Failure to fit into the narrow definitions of beauty can cost them their confidence, holding them back from fully participating in everyday activities.
At the times when they were feeling unhappy with their armpits, 9 in 10 girls said they felt self-conscious – reporting body image dissatisfaction, and feeling unattractive, anxious, and judged by others:
- Dominique Smith, Content Creator, US
These feelings can have a very real impact on the way women and girls live their day-to-day lives – from spending time with friends or family to contributing in school or at work.
Inspiring underarm confidence for the next generation
No one should be held back from living their life to the fullest. And no one should feel embarrassed that their underarms don’t measure up to unrealistic standards. Dark spots, hair, stubble, and underarm texture are very common and are nothing to be ashamed of. That’s why we’re working to encourage armpit acceptance, promoting positive body image and celebrating the differences that make women and girls unique.
It’s time to shatter the unrealistic beauty standards that dictate how women’s armpits “should” look - and practice unconditional underarm care instead. We believe that ‘perfect’ underarms do exist: they’re shaved, unshaved, sensitive, bumpy, with vitiligo and dark marks. However your armpits look or feel, we're here to give them the utmost care and protection they deserve, so you can live confidently and free from any underarm worries.