In the paper, “Cosmetics: They Influence More Than Caucasian Female Facial Attractiveness“, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, the authors statistically evaluated responses of over 300 subjects to 8 photographs of women taken with and without makeup. Women presented wearing cosmetics were perceived as healthier and more confident than when presented without. Participants also perceived women wearing cosmetics with a greater earning potential and with more prestigious jobs than the same women without cosmetics. The study concluded that women can employ cosmetics to manipulate their appearance and reap up possible benefits, such as being successful at a job interview or negotiating higher salary. By wearing makeup they may also benefit from a boost in positive self-perception and well-being that appears to be associated with wearing makeup. The paper Enhanced female attractiveness with use of cosmetics and male tipping behavior in restaurants, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, investigated male tipping behavior. This was a field study, as apposed to my two previous examples that were conducted in a laboratory setting. One waitress was used in 15 week study, alternatively having a natural look and makeup look. The study confirmed the suspected outcome, that is that male patrons gave tips more often to a waitress who wore makeup and that when they did so they gave her a larger amount of money and that both male and female patrons found the waitress to be more attractive when wearing makeup. The authors also found that there was no difference in tipping patterns of female patrons.
These two academic studies, one theoretical and one practical, both clearly support the idea that wearing make-up have a positive impact on women’s career, and therefore yield a positive answer to question 1). The second paper presents a specific example how wearing makeup lead to higher earnings, but also indicates that gender will play a distinctive role in the study. Notice that all the extra money for the waitress came from male patrons. Would my grandmother read these papers, she would just wave her hand and say: “These academics are just wasting whoever’s money is paying them, to investigate questions that any 12 year old can answer.” She would say: “If your manager is a man, wear makeup, if she is a women be careful with makeup.” This is common sense. As for the tipping experiment — any grown up women (or man) (maybe even a 12 year old 🙂 ) would predict the outcome correctly, am I right? This said, there are limitations and wearing too much makeup can actually hurt you. Heavy makeup is often associated with a very old profession and may be turn off especially if you are applying for or trying to get promoted to a position that requires some brain power (see here). But again, this is common sense.