In a recent study, funded by Procter & Gamble Beauty and Grooming, volunteers were asked to rate the impact of cosmetics on attractiveness, competence, likeability and trustworthiness of a person. The study was carried out by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Results of the said study was published on October 3, 2011 in PLoS ONE.
Two studies were conducted wherein study participants were shown pictures of same female faces, barefaced and in three looks with makeup which researchers called minimal (natural), moderate (professional) and dramatic (glamorous). The participants were men and women of different ethnicities from North America. Further study is needed to know if effects would be the same with other cultures.
Volunteers in the first study, 61 men and 88 women, were shown the faces for 250 millisecond. While participants in the second study, 30 males and 89 females, were given unlimited time to inspect each face.
Nancy Etcoff, lead author of the study who is also an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard University and associate researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that evidence of significant effects of cosmetics in both studies were found.
All three makeup looks increased ratings of attractiveness, competence, likability and trust compared to the ratings of the same faces without makeup when pictures were shown for 250 milliseconds.
Results of the second study, where participants were given unlimited time to look at the pictures, the natural and professional makeup looks increased ratings of attractiveness, competence, likability and trust. The glamorous look was judged to be equally likeable, significantly more attractive and competent but less trustworthy than the faces without makeup.
Etcoff said, “For the first time, we have found that applying makeup has an effect beyond increasing attractiveness – it impacts first impressions and overall judgments of perceived likeability, trustworthiness, and competence. In today’s world of self-portraits appearing on networking and dating websites, ballots, resumes and applications, the results of the study have broad implications.”
Do you agree with the results of the study? Why or why not?