While makeup may seem like window dressing to some, a study has found that not wearing any may be holding you back on your corporate ladder climb. Should you be arming yourself with experience or mascara?
Studies on appearance and perception publish new findings all the time, from researching what makes people appear beautiful to discovering why babies are attracted to symmetrical features. Proctor and Gamble researched how people respond to the same face – bare, and then made up.
Researchers asked viewers to rate the same female faces while varying the style of makeup applied to the women’s faces. They started out bare, then moved to makeup looks considered “professional” and finally rated a look considered “glamorous.” Viewers then rated the women on attractiveness, competence, likeability and trustworthiness. The results? Wearing makeup resulted in a more positive judgement on all criteria.
Things get interesting when you look at how this affects your job prospects: It was the women who were viewed as more attractive, not competent, that were seen to be the ones most likely to get hired.
Research conducted by sociologists at the University of California further tipped the scales in this debate when they discovered that those viewed as physically attractive, as a result of their hairstyles, grooming and makeup, earn more. They found that women who spend money on their personal grooming make a better living than those who choose not to.
My beauty editor shared her own feelings on the issue: “If your worth is measured by the makeup you wear then we live in a very shallow, sad society. I would rather there be an emphasis on taking care of your skin as that lends itself to overall body health.”
As a woman in the beauty industry who rarely wears makeup herself, thinking that I have to paint my face to make top dollar only makes me want to turn my back on any environment that would judge my appearance as more relevant than my ability to do the job. How are we really still having this conversation in 2017?