A New Study Study Shows Women Who Wear Makeup Seem More Competent

A new study undertaken by Proctor & Gamble, the consumer products giant, finds that women who wear makeup are seen as more competent, amiable and trustworthy by those that see them. They have published the results of their study in the science journal PLosOne.

The study, designed to find out if women fare better in the work environment if they wear makeup, funded, but not run by P&G, also found that women who wear makeup are more likely to be seen as competent in their jobs, which in many cases leads to faster job promotions, than those who choose to go without makeup.

To find out if wearing makeup provides any real advantages in the job place, the research team took twenty five photographs of random volunteer women without makeup. They then followed that up by taking three additional photos of the women with makeup classified as “natural,” “professional” and “glamorous.” After that, the photos were shown to two separate control groups. The first session involved flashing the pictures on a screen in front of 149 random volunteers comprised of both men and women, for 250 milliseconds. The second session was identical to the first except the volunteers were shown the photos for as long as they wished. The volunteers were then asked to rate the women in the pictures regarding how competent, attractive, likable and trustworthy they appeared.

Virtually every volunteer rated the women higher in all categories regardless of which “look” was presented and regardless of whether they were in the group that saw just flashes of the women or who were able to look as long as they liked, though the ones that got to look longer rated the made-up faces even higher than the flash group.

The authors claim that this is the first ever study of this kind, where women were judged solely on such specifics, and based on nothing but how they looked with or without makeup on their faces. They hypothesis that the careful use of makeup causes women to look more “put together” as well as more attractive, which previous studies have shown causes volunteers to rate women as more intelligent the better looking they are.

Proctor & Gamble, who claim no prior knowledge of the outcome of the study, suggests that women take the information in the study and use it as a guide in charting their careers, rather than as yet another added pressure to which they feel they need to conform.

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