For decades, Monday has been considered the worst day of the week, there are songs written about it and hundreds of studies to confirm it. But, not only is it the least productive day, according to a recent study, Monday is also “ugly day”, the day of the week that women feel the least attractive.

In the study, from the media agency PHD USA, researchers set out to “identify when women feel most vulnerable about their appearance throughout the week.” When it comes to beauty marketing, identifying a target audience is key. By finding out which days, and at what times women feel their most or least attractive, marketers can “determine the best timing for beauty product messages and promotions.”

According to the study, women ages 18 and up in the U.S. noted Monday was their top “ugly day,” with 46% of those polled saying that the start of the work week was the day they feel the least attractive. Sunday came in second place, with 39% of women saying it was their worst day. It also seems that there is only a very short window when we are feeling our most attractive… only for 3 hours a day between noon and 3pm.

buying beautyPHD suggests that Monday is the day to “encourage the beauty product consumer to get going and feel beautiful again, so marketing messages should focus on feeling smart, instant beauty/fashion fixes, and getting things planned and done.”

It’s no surprise that this study has caused quite a bit of controversy, but the research company says that the critics have it all wrong. In fact, they came out to defend the study and its intention, which they feel has been lost in translation.

PHD US Head of Brand Planning, Kim Bates, “someone who dedicates a significant portion of her professional and personal time and energy to this issue,” says that what’s equally as important to promoting the right time and the right message isn’t the only takeaway, but brands must also understand what might be the wrong time and message.

The company goes on to say that, “The intention of the study is an Encourage/Empower messaging approach. Our intent was to help mitigate negative moments in time with messages about feeling smart, successful, organized and accomplished; and reinforce positive moments with messages that celebrate multiple aspects of a woman’s life. In other words, make women feel beautiful every day.”

The study only reinforces that being and feeling beautiful is what matters most. It’s true that most of the coverage of the study leans towards the sensational, but if you are trying to make a connection between brand behavior and consumer behavior that focuses on women’s vulnerability and beauty, what do you expect?

While we appreciate PHD’s effort to try and explain its intent, there’s no getting around the fact that this study does just one thing… preys on women’s insecurities about beauty in order to sell more products. By posing the question in the first place, it only reinforces that being and feeling beautiful is what matters most.

What would be revolutionary is a new message about beauty for women, one that serves as a solution against the glossy versions we are fed by brands and media. If brands want to empower women, they need to celebrate and honor our differences, our intelligence, and our contributions… allow us to be ourselves. That’s something we are everyday, all day.