Men, by comparison, spend 4.5 hours a week working on their appearance, while teenage girls, the worst offenders, use up 7.7 hours a week on the task. And much of that time, note experts, is spent battling the negative voices in our heads.
“Beauty isn’t about being perfect,” says Ann Kearney-Cooke, a Cincinnati-based psychologist and eating disorder expert who helped develop theToday/AOL Ideal to Real Body Image Survey, the results of which were released on Monday. What it’s about, she tells Yahoo Shine, is “doing the best with what you have and focusing on your signature strengths.”
The survey of 2,059 adults and 200 teens also found that 60 percent of women have negative thoughts about themselves weekly; adult women worry more regularly about their appearance than they do about finances, relationships, or professional success; and moms seem to be more plagued by appearance worries than women without children are, with 73 percent of mothers regularly worrying about how they look, compared with 65 percent of women who don’t have kids.
Finally, regarding the near-hour a day spent on getting ready, 78 percent of women said they do it to “feel better about themselves.” Additionally, 62 percent of people ages 16 to 34 worry that people are judging their appearance.
While it’s hard to say exactly how many mirror-focused minutes is healthy or unhealthy for each individual, Kearney-Cooke says that one way to figure out if you’re spending too much time on your looks is if you’re getting “too perfectionistic” in the process — “if you’re trying on clothes over and over, redoing your hair, redoing your eyeliner,” for example.
She warns that getting mired in a beauty routine that’s fueled by negativity (“I look fat, I look old”) can even go so far as to rewire your brain. “And it really takes too much of your time and affects your mood [each morning], and then you head out into the world,” says Kearney-Cooke. “It’s a very destructive ritual.”