According to a new study, makeup might actually be an investment.
Makeup makes women appear more professionally competent, a Harvard University and Boston University joint study finds.
The researchers studied Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic women age 20-50. They photographed each woman wearing four different levels of makeup:
#2: Wearing light/natural levels of makeup
#3: Wearing “daytime” makeup
#4: Wearing “glamorous” makeup
The women who were photographed were not allowed to look in a mirror so that their feelings about how they looked couldn’t affect their expressions.
The researchers gave these photographs to 268 adults, 91 of whom were men and the rest women, and asked these adults to rate each woman’s level of professional competence, likeability and trustworthiness. The adults consistently ranked the barefaced woman as the least competent and least likeable.
Even the woman in “glamorous” nighttime makeup were ranked as more professionally competent than the women wearing no makeup at all.
Roughly half the respondents were allowed to view the photographs for as long as they wanted before giving an answer; the other half were only allowed to take a quick glance and had to voice their gut feeling. This didn’t make a difference in their responses. Both groups — those who spent a long time studying the photos and those who only got a quick glance — ranked the makeup-wearing women as more trustworthy, likeable and competent.
Deborah Rhode, author of the “The Beauty Bias,” doesn’t like the findings.
“The quality of my teaching shouldn’t depend on the color of my lipstick,” Rhode says.
But University of Texas at Austin economics professor Daniel Hamermesh says we have to accept reality at — pardon the pun — face value.
“I think we’d be a fairer world if beauty were not rewarded, but it is.”
Source: Up the Career Ladder, Lipstick in Hand by the New York Times
Photo courtesy o5com.