We dated the Zeros… so you don’t have to.


Why do we wear make-up?


A few months ago I wrote about a Superdrug study which found that most women feel much more attractive and confident when they wear make-up. This was not a surprise. But what I did find surprising and a little alarming was that women who took part in the study felt wearing make-up was directly related to their self worth. 14% of the women participating in the study reported that they got out of bed to put on make-up before their partner woke up, and one in ten reported that they would never let their significant other see them without make-up. I have absolutely no problem with make-up, nor with women choosing to wear it. But it did make me sad that so many women were so dependant on it to make them feel okay with themselves.

The New York Times recently reported on another make-up related study, and I started thinking about this anew. Instead of focusing on how women feel about wearing or not wearing make-up, this study focused on how other people react to women with or without make-up on. The study showed that women were perceived as being more attractive when they were wearing make-up. Not surprising. After all, the entire purpose of make-up is to accentuate one’s best attributes and to hide one’s imperfections. But the study showed that people didn’t just perceive a make-up wearing lady as more attractive, they also felt her to be more likable, more trustworthy, and provided she not overdo it, more competent in the workplace. I have to admit, this pissed me off a little.

In general, I’m a pretty stubborn person, and reading about that study sort of makes me want to not wear make-up out of principle. But then again, it could just be laziness. On an average morning, my prep time tends to be however long it takes me to wash my face, brush my teeth and get dressed.  Two or three times a week I’ll put on some small amount of make-up (a touch of concealer here or there). I do real make-up (blush, lipstick and eye shadow) maybe once a week. And full make-up with mascara? I’m not saying it only happens once in a blue moon, but definitely less than once in a full moon. I realize, as a young(ish) urban women who isn’t a hippy or a member of an orthodox religion, I’m probably a bit anomalous in the infrequency with which I put on make-up. I don’t mention this as some sort of humble/brag, nor am I necessarily advocating my do-little approach to make-up, but I do get a little salty at the idea that if I want to be considered attractive or competent, make-up is somehow compulsory.

Though I go cleaned faced more often than not, I’ll admit I have noticed that people react to me differently when I’m wearing make-up. I’m not just talking about how often I get hit on. Whether I like it or not, both men and women seem to react more favorably to me when I’m wearing make-up. The question is… is that enough of a reason to feel like I should wear it?

A Zeros Before the One Poll

Do you feel pressure to wear make-up?

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3 Responses to “Why do we wear make-up?”

  1. Claudia Maittlen-Harris October 24, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Well, this interesting. I read “‎Results show 72 percent of regular reality show watchers said they spend a lot of time on how they look as opposed to only 42 percent of non-viewers.” -another reason Kardashians and Real Housewives are ruining women.

  2. October 24, 2011 at 11:36 am

    women absolutely don’t need to wear makeup…aside from moisturizer or skin care that men might also use. At some point it destroys the skin forcing women to wear more …which is sad to see because it’s so unnecessary.

  3. September 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Personally I love the fact that men don’t even NOTICE you’re wearing make-up. So ladies, who ARE you wearing make-up for? And as much as I love wearing lip gloss I’m trying to wean myself off of it as I constantly hear my male friends complain about having to kiss sticky lips. Writing that makes it sound even worse!

    As for wearing make up…I’m a nanny. Who am I going to impress, the six year old?? But I DO like wearing make up when I can because it makes ME feel pretty, not to impress people. I like you’re article, thanks! :)

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