Make up (&) your mind


MAKE UP is not hard to detect on the face of others. Once perceived, it is never deemed a “natural” look. So, logically, we should think of it as a falsehood, a strategy of deception, right?


Seems the observer thinks otherwise:


The Herald recently ran this article about a study, conducted by Harvard researchers, that demonstrated observers reporting make-up-wearing subjects  to seem more competent, attractive, likeable and trustworthy.


Now, the opinion piece in this newspaper was pretty average, really, and the comments were more entertaining than enlightening, but it was of greater interest to go back to the original study:


Reading the original article here makes for a pretty convincing experience. Yes, the study was at least in part funded by Procter and Gamble, and one would hardly expect them to fund a study unhelpful to their business, but this study also carries the gravitas of Harvard Medical School, and is supported by 40+ references.


Some of these references, in turn, make great reading.


Those deemed more attractive tend to earn more, as found in this study “Beauty and the Labor Market”, for example


Age and height also affect earning capacity


Attractiveness affects income in both men and women


and the chance of getting hired, even when interviewed by experienced managers


We even find it cerebrally rewarding to observe more attractive faces


Many articles support a biological Darwinian basis to beauty


And specifically, adults with various childlike facial qualities are perceived to afford more warmth, more submission, more honesty, less physical strength, and more naiveté than those with more mature faces.


Ancient Egyptians had a relatively complex understanding of make-up


It is clear from an even quick review of the above articles that there is a vast scientific literature on beauty and our responses to it.


There is simply no arguing the reality of our responses to beauty.


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