Most women would confess to rarely leaving home without their full face of make-up, lipstick and mascara.
But spending hours in front of the mirror and splashing out on expensive cosmetics, it turns out, could all be a waste of time.
Because, according to new research, wearing make-up does little to boost a woman’s attractiveness.
Instead, scientists say, natural looks are much more important when it comes to how pretty a woman is viewed by either sex.Robin Kramer, a research psychologist at the University of York, who jointly carried out the research, said: ‘The point is you are what you are.
‘While make-up does make women slightly more attractive to others, it barely does anything when compared to natural features.
‘If you put make-up on an unattractive woman it won’t make her more attractive than a pretty woman without make-up.
‘The features and identity (you are born with) determine attractiveness and there is not much you can do about it.’
The study involved 44 female undergraduates, aged between 18 and 21, who were each photographed with and without their make-up.
The photographs were shown at random to another 62 students – both male and female – who were asked to rate the women for attractiveness on a scale of one to seven, with one being very unattractive and seven being very attractive. They were shown either the ‘before’ or ‘after’ photograph but never both, so they could not compare two images of the same woman.
The ratings were then analysed and the results found that make-up accounted for just two per cent variation in what or was not deemed attractive, while the woman’s general attractiveness, features or identity was much more important, accounting for 69 per cent.
In other words, the variation in faces and attractiveness of a woman far overshadowed the application of make-up when it came to rating their looks.
The results go some way to explaining why models and celebrities often appear just as attractive without make-up as they do when dolled up for the red carpet.
Last year the no make-up selfie craze, where women were encouraged to post a photograph of themselves on Facebook or Instagram, attracted support from scores of celebrities, including Prince Harry’s ex Cressida Bonas, X-factor judge Cheryl Versini-Fernandez and model Jemima Khan, and raised more than £8million for Cancer Research in just one week.
The study, carried out at Bangor University, north Wales, is due to be published in the psychology journal, Perception, this week.
Dr Alex Jones, of Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania, USA, who also contributed to the research, added: ‘There are many reasons that women might wear makeup, and one of those reasons might be dissatisfaction with their appearance.
‘Body image concerns are very prevalent in modern society, and we have shown previously that less makeup is considered more attractive. The take-home message here seems to be that, for better or worse, our attractiveness is mostly determined by our natural appearance, and wearing makeup will only have a small effect in comparison.’
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