The social psychology of makeup

Makeup does more than alter a woman’s attractiveness, it also plays a role in her ability to form new relationships. 

While straight men look at a woman’s makeup or lack thereof to help determine her attractiveness, straight women use makeup to help judge other women’s personalities. 

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Research on makeup: why woman wear it
  1. Camouflage – Women who are anxious and insecure tend to use makeup to appear less noticeable.
  2. Seduction – Women who want to be noticeably more attractive tend to use makeup to be more confident, sociable, and assertive.

Researchers have discovered two universal characteristics that contribute to the attractiveness of a woman’s face.

  • The amount of color contrast around the eyes and lips. Women naturally tend to have darker lips and skin around the eyes. So, our brains subconsciously note that as a sign of femininity. Lipstick and eye shadow are makeup staples because they enhance those features.
  • We also like symmetrical faces, even when we can’t perceive the symmetry. Makeup evens skin tone and contouring, eyeliner and lipliner also can make those features appear more symmetrical.

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RELATED IDEAS

Cosmetics Of Ancient Egypt

Cosmetics can be found in most societies on earth. In ancient Egypt, men and women used cosmetic materials such as kohl and henna. Dark green, black or blue kohl was used to decorate the eyes to ward off the evil eye. Scientists now believe the lead in this makeup killed bacteria, keeping wearers healthier.

Egyptians also used castor oil as a protective balm and used creams consisting of beeswax, olive oil, rosewater and more.

The evolution of: makeup - Reader's Digest

readersdigest.co.uk

Has our notion of beauty been the same ?

There are even some good evolutionary reasons why beauty might be timeless. Certain biological features might signal health, fitness, and fertility – the makings of good mate – and we should find these features sexually attractive.

Consider the apparently received wisdom that we prefer symmetrical, evenly balanced features. A slightly lopsided face should therefore be a sign of physical weakness – making them less appealing as the parent of your children.

The myth of universal beauty

bbc.com

The aesthetic appeal of moral wickedness

The moral and aesthetic values of people can be pulled in opposite directions. Serial killers like Richard Ramirez and Ted Bundy were infamous but had lots of female fans that sent them letters and attended their court hearings.

However, they were already perceived as attractive despite their crimes and some reprobates behave well with a small number of people. This does not support the aesthetic of moral wickedness but further the fact that beauty is seen as good.

Is Badness Attractive?

psychologytoday.com

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