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Women with makeup more “competent, likeable, attractive and trustworthy”

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Summary of story from ABC News, October 4, 2011

According to a recent study, wearing makeup has a significant effect on how a woman is perceived.

Participants were shown a series of images of women and asked to rate them in terms of competence, likeability, attractiveness and trustworthiness.

The images included women from all ages and ethnicities, the only difference being the amount of makeup each wore.

Some wore none, while others wore one of three cosmetic looks: natural, professional or glamorous.

In the first study, participants were shown the images for only 250 milliseconds. The women wearing makeup scored higher than those without.

In the second study, participants were able to study the images for an unlimited amount of time so they could carefully inspect each face.

“We found that when faces were shown very quickly, all ratings went up with cosmetics in all different looks,” said Nancy Etcoff, lead author and associate researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“The women were judged as more competent, likable, attractive and trustworthy.”

But when subjects had the chance to examine photos for a longer period of time, the same perceptions didn’t carry over.

“When they got to the more dramatic makeup looks, people saw them as equally likable and much more attractive and competent, but less trustworthy,” Etcoff said.

“Dramatic makeup was no longer an advantage compared to when people saw the photos very quickly.”

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