By Sarah Womack, Social Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 3:22am GMT 01/11/2006
English rose: British women are now seen as more glamorous than their French counterparts
French women may be held up as icons of style and sexiness – think Catherine Deneuve or Emanuelle Beart – but British women spend more on make-up than their Gallic counterparts (probably because British women are richer).
While detractors might suggest that the English rose is losing its bloom, stylists say British women are more sophisticated and quicker to copy the "cocktail" glamour of American women such as Sex and the City's Sarah Jessica Parker, with her immaculately made-up face.
A report today says spending on make-up in Britain will exceed £1 billion by the end of the year.
Women are buying 40 per cent more cosmetics than five years ago. This year, each woman aged 15 and over will spend on average about £18 on make-up alone. Many will spend considerably more, given that a typical bottle of foundation costs £20.
Michelle Strutton, senior market analyst at Mintel, the consumer research company, said: "The British make-up market suffered in the 1990s as a result of the trend towards a 'natural' style but, since the millennium, glitz and glamour have made a comeback."
Sales of skin care products have been booming because of the pressure on women to look young.
Dermatologists say stress and alcohol are putting years on people's faces. Junk food, pollution and too much sun are also blamed for prematurely ageing skin by an average of three years.
Those in north east London are likely to look three years 11 months older. The Welsh and those in the South East have the youngest-looking skin in Britain, according to dermatologists sk:n who carried out a survey of 1,479 people.