Of course, it’s a known fact that makeup affects how others perceive the person wearing it. But there’s more to the science of makeup that what people know before. It turned out that men and women react differently to a colleague who wears at a workplace.
According to a study published in the journal Perception, wearing makeup in the office communicates something about the person. But what exactly the messages it conveys vary in both sexes. In order to ascertain this claim, the researchers conducted an experiment to determine how makeup affects a coworker’s perception of that person.
Makeup and Prestige, Dominance
The researchers presented 40 photographs of women with and without makeup to 128 mostly heterosexual subjects. The participants then rated the photographs with one-word descriptions such as “dominance”, “prestige”, and “attractiveness”. But the descriptions were intentionally left undefined and no further elaboration was provided.
It showed that women see their women coworkers who wear makeup as dominant. Men, on the other hand, view their colleagues with makeup as prestigious. But University of Stirling in Scotland professor Viktoria Mileva, who also coauthored the study, said the result was rather surprising, as reported by the Scientific American.
Varying Perception on Makeup
“The idea that a woman is always suspicious of other women wearing makeup is a little over the top. But in certain contexts there may be some cause for concern. Reactions may be different in the real world and with older men and women. But we could all be more careful with the assumptions that we make about a woman’s appearance at work,” Mileva was quoted as saying by the Scientific American.
The fact that most men do not view women as physically threatening, explains why they did not rate pictures of women as “dominance”. Whereas in women, who rated the images as dominant, usually view their peers as sexually competitive. Jealousy is another issue that plays a crucial role behind peoples’ perception about their peers.
“Overall, we show that professionally-applied cosmetics produce a larger effect than self-applied cosmetics, an important theoretical consideration for the field. However, the effect of individual differences in facial appearance is ultimately more important in perceptions of attractiveness,” an excerpt from the study reads.