We Brits are an ugly lot.

At least, that’s according to dating website BeautifulPeople, which last month revealed it was most likely to reject applicants from the UK – along with Indians, Russians and Filipinos – for being horrible-looking.

The site accepts only the planet’s most gorgeous creatures, and very few of them are native to these parts, apparently. In fact, just 8% of UK men make the BeautifulPeople grade – though women do considerably better, with a 14% success rate.

It’s not clear why the average UK woman is almost twice as likely as a bloke to be a stunner. Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s make-up. After all, she spends almost £100 a year on cosmetics, contributing to a £10bn nationwide spend (according to a 2017 survey commissioned by Oasis Dental Care).

There’s no surprise, then, that leading grocers are cashing in on ladies’ lust for lippy.

We reported last October that beauty was becoming a major focus for UK supermarkets. ‘Most of the major mults are revamping their beauty ranges, and listing new – and often considerably more premium – products than they would have done in the past,’ we wrote.

‘Despite range rationalisation in other categories, the big four have added hundreds of SKUs in beauty and personal care since 2016.’

Bargain beauty: beauty category report 2019

At this point we must turn briefly towards France, where the government has announced its intention to ban from 2022 the destruction of unsold non-food products. This includes cosmetics – €180m of which are destroyed each year by beauty companies, Cosmetics Business reports.

That’s a lot of waste, and it makes huge sense for the Macron administration to address it as a logical extension to the French law prohibiting supermarkets from destroying or disposing of unsold food.

It would be equally logical if the UK were to adopt a similar attitude, given those extra hundreds of beauty SKUs on shelves. There has been significant scrutiny of our nation’s war on food waste – not least by The Grocer’s own Waste Not Want Not campaign, which just last night landed a BSME Talent Award. But, so far, non-food waste has been largely overlooked.

In beauty, there have been some very worthwhile moves, however. Last year, Burberry committed to no longer burning unsold items including cosmetics, while charity Beauty Banks redistributes unused cosmetics and personal grooming items donated by shoppers and brands to people living in poverty.

Yes, this is just a small fraction of what is likely to be necessary for tackling waste in the expanding cosmetics category, but it’s a good start. And one the grocery industry is in a strong position to accelerate.

After all, given the laudable progress retailers and suppliers have made with reducing food waste, they could easily apply their experience in achieving a new, two-part goal: wonderful world, beautiful people.