The Price Of Beauty

Posted on: 25 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Just how much are women prepared to pay for beauty? Figures from Olay lift the lid on skincare costs.

House prices, interest rates and average earnings have historically been the markers used to analyse and predict the state of the nation's economy. However - we may now need to add the new indicator of wealth - the price of skincare.

A new contender - beauty products - may now be joining the traditional markers of house prices, interest rates and salaries used to predict the state of the economy. Five years ago, skincare prices topped the scale at £100 and in 2005 the price of creams has increased to £1000, compared to a 20 per cent increase in salaries and a 200 per cent increase in house prices.

In 2000, ripples - not wrinkles - were caused by the launch of anti-ageing products as reaching over the £100 mark. Five years later, spending lots on skincare is now considered the norm, with the average spend in Harrod's beauty hall now topping £150 per customer visit and if rumours are to be believed, anti-ageing creams priced at over £1000 are soon to be seen in the UK beauty market.

Make sure you know what you are paying for, look at the ingredients and not the cost or the fancy name when judging a product's effectiveness. "Knowing your ingredients can help you make a smart choice," according to dermatologist Dr Ginny Hubbard. "For example, Olay's Regenerist contains an amino peptide complex know as Pal-KTTKS which is also an ingredient found in one of the latest cult anti-ageing products - StriVectin."

You could be forgiven for assuming that women's pay has increased on a similar scale. The Office for National Statistics reveals that the average weekly wage for women has increased by only 22.5 per cent in the past five years. Even the housing market, which has experienced phenomenal growth rates, can only claim a doubling of prices in the same time period and this well-charted rise is now showing signs of fatigue with prices now slowly declining over the last six months thanks to the interest rate increases from the Bank of England.

Since 2000, the cost of skincare has increased by a huge 991 per cent. So, when the Tony Blair and the Labour government started talking about measuring the UK's 'happiness' versus the country's wealth, did they know just how much some women are prepared to pay?

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