From Morning Lift To Nighttime Gift: Jakarta beauty routines

Jun 30 2017

Two years ago, TapestryWorks collaborated with ABN Impact Indonesia to explore beauty goals among Indonesian women, and exactly two years’ later we went back to their Jakarta Beauty insight community to learn more.

In our earlier study, we learnt about a range of motivations that are important to Jakarta women and the beauty that they desire, including Confidence, Knowledge, Care, Belonging, Love, Fun and the desire to be (a little) Unique. In our latest study, we decided to look more deeply into these different motivations to understand how they relate to different aspects of women’s daily lives.

Using the StoryWorks framework and Visual Cards, we asked women to focus on their beauty routines at different times of day, as well as more special occasions. The products women use at these different times change, but are the underlying emotional needs the same, or do they change with the context and occasion?

Firstly, we asked women about their morning routines and the beauty treatments that they use first thing before they start their day or head out to work. After family interactions, drinking water and bathing, morning beauty routines can still be complex and time-consuming.

The emotional journey of the morning beauty is from listlessness, boredom and lack of energy through self-care to the feeling of creating (or more correctly recreating) a unique individual identity. Morning beauty rituals are very much about lifting yourself up for the day ahead.

One single working lady said, “Before I was like sooo lazy and sleepy to start my day, no passion, no willingness.”, and another housewife said, “I feel happy after as my skin is getting better and fresher like a mountain. I want to scream out loud and jump around as I’m very happy I no longer have a dull face.” One single working lady put it more simply, “I’m ready to face the day”.

Beauty routines during the daytime share some characteristics, but with a different start and end point. The starting point for daytime beauty “touch ups” (there are more than one) is the goal of Knowledge, with some women understanding their beauty and the right thing to do, and a few feeling a little less sure.

Daytime beauty rituals, like those in the morning, give a feeling of self-care and pampering leading to a feeling of Fun and a sense of feeling free to connect again with yourself and with others around you – a break from routine that brings back fun to sometimes more tedious work.

One housewife wrote in her online diary, “I feel bored after doing all those activities since morning, tired, sleepy”, and a single working lady wrote, “Once I touch up my makeup, I feel fresh again.” Another single working lady wrote that the end goal is very much about joy, “When I finish doing it, I can put a big smile on my face again.”

Moving to nighttime beauty rituals, Indonesian women are concerned with cleansing themselves after a hard day at work and possibly many hours in the pollution and stress of working in and travelling through Jakarta.

Women start with a feeling of “meh”, as they do not feel at their best after their day’s endeavours, but their nighttime routine brings back a feeling of care for themselves, with a sometimes more positive sense of caring for and giving to others as well. Their gift is summarized in their end goals which reflect love and intimacy very strongly, if only alluded to in their written comments.

One housewife summarized the pre-routine feeling as, “I feel dull as my make-up is already fading and dust from the traffic stuck on my face”, and a single working lady describes the beauty routine as, “I feel fresh and relaxed again.” This guarantees a good night’s sleep as one married working lady said, “I kiss my husband, it makes me relaxed and reduce wrinkles on my face.”

These daily routines are quite different in their emotional journeys from those outside the working week and especially those special occasions such as parties and weddings where women really feel that they are much more “on show”. On such occasions, natural beauty is not enough and there is a strong need to add another layer of beauty.

Although the start point is again associated with feeling a little less than your best, routines associated with special occasions are different in nature and in the feelings that they inspire. Special occasions require special preparation, and along with trips to the spa and special treatments and products, some women will also take the effort to exercise and tone their body. This is reflected in emotions that reflect physical strength but also mental empowerment, with the end goal of feeling glamorous in order to be the centre of attention just like a celebrity.

As one housewife wrote, “I have to look OK when I go out for a special event such as wedding. I only use simple clothes at home, no make-up, but now I want to look pretty.” These feelings are echoed by a student who wrote, “When I have a party invitation, I do some diet program a week before the event, so I would look nice on my dress.”

Ultimately, every woman wants to be the centre of attention (but in Indonesia this is only on specific occasions and still avoiding excessive showiness). One housewife wrote, “I put more make up when I have to attend a formal event such as wedding or dinner” and a single working lady wrote, “I want to look different on this special event. I want to look pretty.”

The many motivations that TapestryWorks and ABN Impact Indonesia found in our first Jakarta beauty study, reflect the range of emotions that motivate women through the day and at other times in their complicated and hectic lives.

In the morning, they want to feel like themselves (again) and while this is not the strongest desire for women, it is a core part of who they are today. In the day time the need is to bring back a little joy to the daily grind, while in the evening beauty is all about reconnecting with loved ones.  Thus, daily beauty rituals reflect the goals of feeling Unique, Joyful and Loved.

Special occasions reflect a quite different, and in some respects an opposing goal, of feeling Confident and desiring to Transform your beauty into something beyond natural daily beauty.

That leaves three goals that are not reflected in the end goals of Indonesian women. As we have seen, the need for Care and Nurture is strongly associated with the performance of beauty routines and therefore in the experience of beauty products also, perhaps something that can be reflected in future product innovations for Indonesian beauty products? Self-pampering is OK as long as it doesn’t become too indulgent but helps women care for themselves, and by extension for others.

Knowledge is a particularly important goal for maintaining beauty throughout the day, reflecting women’s desire to be knowledgeable about maintaining their beauty in the right way. Finally, the sense of Belonging is not a goal that is specific to beauty, but one that is inspired by the cultural values shared by all Indonesians, women and men alike.

Although we have found many beauty goals for Indonesian women, these really reflect different aspects of women’s lives from daytime to nighttime, on special occasions. The range of goals reflect who they are as individuals and also as humans living in a society with distinct values. The implication for brands is to understand where you fit in women’s lives and ensure that you can help them to achieve the goals that matter to them in that moment in their lives.

[This is a written version of a prevention for ABN Impact Indonesia's "Jakarta Beauty" event held in Jakarta on 16 June 2017. You can view the presentation materials in SlideShare.]

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