New Study Finds That Women Who Wear Makeup Appear More Competent

By Lauren Cooperman

Makeup has the ability to transform a woman.  With a wave of a brush a woman can be metamorphosed into a smoky-eyed temptress, or a red-lipped vixen.  The use of makeup has become so enmeshed in the woman’s world that there are magazines, TV shows, and YouTube videos all dedicated to finding the perfect makeup look for all different occasions.  Putting on makeup has been an acceptable form of vanity to help increase the beauty within and to attract those around us.  However, a new study is saying that there may be more benefits to wearing makeup besides Apollonian effects.

According to a study released by researchers at Procter & Gamble, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, women who wear makeup are seen as more attractive, competent, likable and trustworthy.

The researchers showed participants of the study images of women in different stages of makeup.  The women were of all different ages and ethnicities.  In the first study, the participants were shown each image for 250 milliseconds each.  In the second study, a different set of participants were shown the same photos for an unlimited amount of time each so they could fully scrutinize each face.  After viewing the images the participants were asked to rate the women in terms of attractiveness, competency, likability and trustworthiness.

The results were intriguing.  Participants who were shown the images at 250 milliseconds showed that the more makeup the woman was wearing that the more positive on all outcomes.

“We found that when faces were shown very quickly, all ratings went up with cosmetics in all different looks,” lead author and associate researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, Nancy Etcoff, told ABC News. “The women were judged as more competent, likable, attractive and trustworthy.”

However, when participants were given an unlimited amount of time to view each image the effects of likability and trust varied with each makeup look.

“When they got to the more dramatic makeup looks, people saw them as equally likable and much more attractive and competent, but less trustworthy,” Etcoff said. “Dramatic makeup was no longer an advantage compared to when people saw the photos very quickly.”

The results of the study suggest that wearing makeup can positively impact how other people perceive a woman beyond just attractiveness.  The amount of makeup worn and the amount of time you have to make an impression can slightly vary the level of trustworthiness; however the overall effects of wearing makeup are indubitable.