The Big Difference Between How Men and Women React When Their Co-Workers Wear Makeup

January 16th 2017

Wearing makeup does a lot more than just make you look glamorous. Extensive research has shown that makeup can affect how others view you, and a new paper may explain where these perceptions of makeup wearers come from.

In an October 2016 study published in the journal Perception, researchers found that men view women who wear makeup as more prestigious, whereas women view those who wear makeup as more dominant. Researchers came to these findings after showing a group of mostly heterosexual men and women photographs of women with makeup on and without makeup on. The study authors speculate that because men don't usually view women as physically threatening, they were not intimidated by the women adorned in makeup. Women, however, may have had the opposite reaction and felt threatened by the women photographed with makeup on, the research suggests.

“The idea that a woman is always suspicious of other women wearing makeup is a little over the top,” study researcher Viktoria Mileva told Scientific American. “But in certain contexts there may be some cause for concern.”

The social impact of wearing makeup is real.

MakeupFlickr/Joyce Kaes -

Previous research has shown that wearing makeup can be linked to earning more money at work. A 2006 study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that participants "awarded women wearing makeup with a greater earning potential and with more prestigious jobs than the same women without cosmetics."

"The results suggest that women can successfully employ cosmetics to manipulate how they are assessed, which may be advantageous in social situations where women may be judged on their appearance, such as job interviews," the study concluded.

In August, a blogger named Francesca was inspired by a Huffington Post experiment to share juxtaposed photos of herself on an image ranking website to see how people perceived her with and without makeup on. As ATTN: noted at the time, Francesca's experiment was not a comprehensive study, but she did find that people described her as more competent, confident and likeable in her image with makeup on than the one without makeup:

"As you can see, the picture with makeup is immediately ranked wayyy more favorably," she wrote on Instagram. "Kinda sucky the 'makeup tax' does exist. The funny thing is, people ranked the make up pic as more authentic and confident, so to all those who insist women who wear makeup are fake and insecure....the stats don't lie."

Watch ATTN:'s video below on women and makeup:

[H/T Scientific American]

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