Science & Wearing Makeup

makeup

(alexandra dal)

Does makeup change your life?

I can remember so many times mother would ask me in the strangest ways to wear it, as though somehow I were not really meeting her personal standards for being a woman.  It was so out of character for her, but I can vividly remember this conversation at the diner in town where she looked at me with great concern and said, “Dana, I don’t understand why you don’t want to put on a little eye liner or some mascara. Doesn’t it make you feel better when you do?” I had nothing to say.  It was one of those moments when you realize as much as you can be like your parents in many ways you can be so far apart.

I grew up watching her put on makeup. It was a whole event. She’d take over the kitchen table with a light-up mirror and light a super-long Virgina Slim while she set up.  Music would play.

My sister and I both knew that after mkeup my mother would smile more.  It was as though the ritual gave her peace, armour or a sense of worth.  All of the above I think.

Personally, I wear makeup maybe 20% of the time I possibly should according to societal standards and Hollywood etiquette.  I don’t know if its a bad or good thing.  I don’t really think about it.  It doesn’t make me intrinsicaly happier.  I think I’ve come to avoid people who are deeply invested in what other people look like.

But today I was curious about the science behind the wearing of makeup.  I happened upon THIS brilliant article in Psychology Today that explores the “whys” behind makeup.

makeup

(via)

Here are some fascinating facts:

“Lipstick? Wear red. Women with red lips are perceived as more attractive (Stephen & McKeegan, 2010) and a recent field experiment showed that wearing red lipstick affected how quickly men approached women at a bar. Women donning red lipstick were approached soon than to those who wore no lipstick, brown lipstick, or (marginally) pink lipstick (Guéguen, 2012).

Foundation appears foundational. Perhaps because it evens skin tone, and therefore may give them impression of health and symmetry, foundation is recognized as enhancing beauty. In fact, foundation was viewed as the product making the most difference in female attractiveness by a group of men who judged women wearing different levels of cosmetic use, from no-makeup to complete makeup (Mulhern, Fieldman, Hussey, Leveque, & Pineau, 2003).

Focus on the eyes. In recent research, women rated eye makeup as the number one product that enhances other women’s facial attractiveness (Mulhern et al., 2003). Eye makeup, such as liner, shadow, and mascara, may exaggerate facial neoteny. In other words, adults are often viewed as beautiful when they have features typical of the young, including large eyes (as well as small noses and large lips). Such exaggerated youthfulness tends to have great appeal (Jones et al., 1995).

A bit of blush.Why does rouge tend to be a staple cosmetic? Perhaps it’s because when women are most sexually viable (during mid-cycle during ovulation) or when they are aroused, they blush more easily. The application of artificial blush may mimic this vascularization, providing a subtle signal of sexual interest or arousal. This is in line with the link established by Elliott and Niesta (2008) between the color red and sex appeal.

Makeup can make you look healthier. Beyond attractiveness, cosmetics may help you create certain favorable social perceptions. Indeed, a recent experiment revealed that women wearing cosmetics were evaluated as healthier, more confident, and as having greater earning potential than those same women when they were wearing no makeup (Nash, Fieldman, Hussey, Leveque, & Pineau, 2003). This suggests that makeup has a potentially useful role in strategic self-presentation.”  (you can read the whole piece HERE)

So… it seems that there are perceptive reasons behind makeup. Lots to do with attracting others, lots to do with percieved self-worth.

None of it seems correct, though I do understand its a reality that exists.  It feels backwards.

I will say this: glowing for real is way different than wearing makeup.  I can show you a bevy of sad, loney, angry and yet gorgeously perfect-looking people wearing intensely incredible makeup every day in my town. I also see some people who just glow. I don’t notice if they are wearing makeup or not.  If you are looking to glow more, THESE are the best ways I’ve found to glow for real. 

Glowing is happy. Glowing makes other people happy.  Glowing people’s earing potential & attractiveness should be the next scientific test they do… !

And if you want to wear makeup too, I mean, why not?!

xoxo Dana

 

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Parker February 9, 2015 at 5:46 am

Well-written

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