The reasons why women wear makeup

Sofia Gilmore-Montero, News Editor

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You yawn as the morning sunlight gleams awfully on your face.  Reaching for your glasses, phone, glass of water or whatever else you keep on your nightstand, you try to psych yourself up to get out of your bed.  Once you finally do that, the day has started, and you dread thinking of what you have to do to get ready to leave your abode.

Many women, including myself (and some men), wear makeup on a day-to-day basis.  Obviously, not all women and men wear makeup, but it is a common practice.  And many of us find ourselves asking, “Why do I wear makeup?” To be honest, it really takes up time and patience that could be used elsewhere.

However, there are some reasons why women wear makeup, consciously or subconsciously.  (Most makeup studies use female participants, due to the highest proportion of makeup wearers being women.)

  1. Wearing makeup increases a woman’s likability.

Yes, this might sound obvious, but just hold up.  A study in 2011 for P&G Beauty and Grooming, led by Principal Scientist Sarah A. Vickery showed that wearing the right amount of makeup increases people’s perceptions of a woman’s likability, her competence and her trustworthiness, provided she doesn’t “overdo” the makeup. To read the study, visit the following link: http://bit.ly/1BHEcNP.


  1.  “The Lipstick Effect”: It makes women feel smarter.

Self-enhancements such as beauty result in a confidence boost and a higher level of self-love; this leads to higher confidence, which can impact grades and success.  Dr. Rocco Palumbo conducted a study in 2016, in which 186 female undergraduate students took a simulated college exam. The participants were randomly divided into three groups: wearing makeup, listening to positive music and face coloring.  Those in the makeup group sat down at a table with a bag of cosmetics and a mirror and were invited to put on makeup as they would on a normal day (all of these students wore makeup).  Students in the music group were seated in front of a colorful xylophone and listed to Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Divertimento K.136,” which is known to cause a good mood in listeners. The face-coloring group sat down at a table with colors and a black-and-white drawing of a face and were invited to color the face as if using makeup.  After 15 minutes of their group activities, the students were asked to rate their mood and 30-minute multiple choice exam on a chapter they had studied.  Results showed that the students who wore make-up got higher grades than those who didn’t. Additionally, these students outperformed the students with positive mood only and students in the coloring activity. To read the study report, visit the following link. http://bit.ly/2u3beM6.


  1. Makeup draws attention.

Whether it is good attention or bad attention, certain makeup looks are created to be eye-catching. For example, red lips are perceived as more attractive than other lip colors. In an article for the “International Journal of Psychological Studies,” a 2010 study showed that red lipstick influenced how quickly men approached women in a bar setting: women who wore red lipstick were approached sooner than those who wore no lipstick, brown lipstick or pink lipstick.


  1. Just because they want to.

Believe it or not, there are women who love makeup because they just do. It doesn’t matter why they like it, and that’s none of anyone else’s business. But if you’re curious, here are some stats about why women like makeup:

  • In 2012, a poll by Harris Poll found that 44 percent of women wore makeup to hide flaws on their skin, while 48 percent wore makeup because they liked it.  Only 11 percent said the reason they wore makeup was because they felt pressured by societal norms.
  • Women who are taken seriously get paid more and get more respect.  To be taken seriously, one must find that “perfect makeup look.”  A study by Jaclyn C. Wong and Andrew M. Penner showed that “attractive individuals” make up to 20 percent more than those of “average attractiveness.”  Read the study and its highlights here: http://bit.ly/1WOqPpY.
  • Because makeup is fun! Have you seen all the cool colors of lipstick and the glittery eyeshadows that we have in the brave, new, modern makeup world?

To sum up: some people wear makeup for their own benefit, some feel pressured to and some just wear it because they want to. Some people don’t wear makeup at all. And it’s all fine. All of it. So next time you see someone wearing what you consider to be “too much makeup,” remember it’s not about you. It’s about them.

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The reasons why women wear makeup