Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: New Stats Show Surprising Similarities in Beauty Ideals

Jager Weatherby on 18 Mar 2015 at 4:00pm

It’s hard to believe that a 21-year-old girl and a 60-year-old woman could have very much in common, but when it comes to beauty ideals, they’re more similar than we think. Based on RealSelf data and recent market research, we know that 87% of American women ages 18-64 are unhappy with at least one part of their body, with up to one-third of them willing to go as far as plastic surgery to increase confidence in their appearance.

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But that’s not where the similarities end. While it’s not surprising that the older demographic is more interested in anti-aging treatments like facelifts and eyelid surgery, Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) and Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) largely have the same concerns. Across all body parts, the midsection is hands-down the biggest problem area, regardless of women’s age, race, or ethnicity.

And we see this reflected in the data. Of planned invasive procedures, tummy tucks were the most popular among women ages 25-64. And with breast augmentation continuing to be one of the most popular surgical procedures, we can understand the rise of the breast aug/tummy tuck combo known as the Mommy Makeover, which saw a 33% increase in popularity in 2014 alone.

What’s interesting are the differences in motivation between the two age groups. While their reasons are largely based on self-esteem, Boomers might argue that they’re getting plastic surgery because they’ve earned it (“Because I’m worth it!), while Millennials feel more like they deserve it (#YOLO). Boomers are concerned with keeping a youthful appearance and staying relevant in the workplace. However, Millennials are more concerned with standing out among their peers and enhancing their curves, which might account for the 15% year-over-year growth of the increasingly popular Brazilian butt lift.

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What these demographics can agree on is that they want to look their best so they can feel their best — and they support others doing so as well. When asked their overall feelings about plastic surgery, 64% of all women believe that a person has the right to look exactly the way they want… and to do so without judgment.