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April 27, 2010

Why Women Wear Makeup

Because it works:

Of course men should love women for who they are, au naturel. But there’s a reason why ancient tallow and kohl residues pop up on archaeological digs — makeup draws the attention of men. This is something of a given, but French psychologist Nicolas Gueguen (who also researched men’s unconscious behavior after thinking about love) has found empirical evidence that men — at least on an unconscious level — are more attracted to painted ladies.

Gueguen recruited two women in their early twenties to go to bars for sixty sessions on twenty nights, and sit at a free table near where they were highly visible. The women either wore makeup or not — and when they did, they applied to it to their eyes, cheeks, and lips. Observing the women were members of Gueguen’s research team, who counted the number of men that approached the girls and the minutes lapsed before and between approaches.

The results? Although men approached the women in every session, the come-ons were more frequent when women wore makeup. It took less time for men to make a pass at the women (an average of 17 min vs. 23 min), and more men approached the women per hour (a mean of 2.0 vs 1.5).

Male claims to the contrary, most women who wear makeup some of the time know this: when they wear makeup, they get more lingering looks from more men. And that's what men do when they see something they like - there's a certain look a man gets when he's looking at a pretty woman and it's unmistakable.

I found this interesting, too:

While it is often said that love is blind, "physical attractiveness seems to be one of the most prominent factors, if not the most significant one, in human mate selection," said behavioral biologist Bernhard Fink of the University of Gottingen in Germany. And cosmetics enhance attractiveness in a quantifiable and real-world relevant way, Fink told LiveScience.

Cosmetics have also been shown to boost earning potential and perhaps even make a promotion more likely, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology in 2006.

Interestingly, makeup use appears to affect not only male perceptions of attractiveness but their perceptions of a woman's personality and earning power:

Literature examining the role of cosmetics on social perception, has found that, overall, make-up is associated with positive evaluation of a woman. Graham and Jouhar (1981) reported positive effects of cosmetics on judgment. Male and female participants rated color photographs of four female targets of average physical attractiveness on several traits related to appearance and personality. With facial makeup, the targets were rated as being cleaner, more tidy, more feminine, more physically attractive, as well as being more secure, sociable, interesting, poised, confident, organized and popular. Cox and Glick (1986) examined how average-looking women were perceived after a professional make-over versus cosmetics-free and found that cosmetics were positively associated with femininity and sexiness. Workman and Johnson (1991) instructed female participants to view one of three colored photographs of a professional model wearing either heavy, moderate, or no cosmetics.

They found that cosmetics significantly enhanced the impression of attractiveness and femininity. Cash, Dawson, Davis, Bowen and Galumbeck (1989) conducted an experiment in which American college students were photographed while wearing their typical facial cosmetics and again following the removal of their makeup. Participants rated the physical attractiveness of the women. It was found that males' judgments were more favorable when the women were photographed with cosmetics than when they were cosmetics free, whereas females' judgments were not affected by the presence or absence of makeup.

In a recent study, Nash, Fieldman, Hussey, Leveque and Pincau (2006) presented four women's facial photographs either with or without cosmetics. It was found that women with cosmetics were perceived as healthier and more confident. Participants also perceived women wearing makeup as having a greater earning potential and more prestigious jobs than the same women without cosmetics. However, wearing make-up is not always associated with positive evaluation. McKeachie (1952) found that young male students evaluated young women with make-up as more frivolous and more interested in the opposite sex.

It seems that different levels of cosmetics use are associated with different perceptions. Mulhern, Fieldman, Hussey, Leveque and Pineau (2003) asked male and female participants to view a set of five photographs of women volunteers and to rank each set from most to least attractive. Volunteers were made up by a beautician under five cosmetics conditions: no makeup, foundation only, eyes makeup only, lips makeup only and full facial makeup (foundation, eyes and lips). It was found that faces with full makeup were judged more attractive than the same faces that were makeup free. They also found that eye makeup alone yielded higher levels of mean attractiveness ratings than foundation makeup only, and the latter yielded higher levels of mean attractiveness ratings
than lip makeup only.

Taken together, these studies seem to show that cosmetics enhance
the perception of physical attractiveness and some other feminine traits of women. The intent of the present study was to explore the effect of makeup on the courtship behavior of men toward women in a real context, as contrasted with previous research where impression formation of facial attractiveness was evaluated in a laboratory with the help of photographs.

The study which showed women's perceptions being less influenced by makeup were interesting. I don't think men are all that good at figuring out whether a woman wears makeup or not unless she overapplies it. I also think that when men say they don't like makeup, what they really mean is that they don't like women who wear too much makeup or apply it badly.

I also think you all don't like all that waiting:

You look so ready that I get ready and I get up and stand by the door, and I stand there for 15 minutes until I realize you aren't ready. So, I sit back down.

Then, I think you're ready again.

But then I realize you just gave off an illusion of being ready that I interpreted as not being an illusion.

I'll be in the car.

Related visual aid.

Posted by Cassandra at April 27, 2010 08:49 AM

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I hope all these studies were being paid for by, y'know, *cosmetics companies*, rather than by the taxpayers of Germany, the U.S., etc.

Posted by: david foster at April 27, 2010 10:28 AM

Given that the results are kind of obvious, my guess is that there are a passel of lucrative grants behind them :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 10:34 AM

The waiting is, indeed, the thing we hate the most.

The end result is worth it, though!

Posted by: Craig at April 27, 2010 11:37 AM

Is Avon sponsoring the picture at the top of your blog?

Posted by: Craig at April 27, 2010 11:42 AM


No, the spouse picked that one out all by his lonesome :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 12:06 PM

I seldom wear makeup, being allergic to additives in same. However, in my Younger Days, the war paint served several purposes; it drove away the competition, kept Revlon and Estee Lauder in Bidness (the two brands that don't cause me to gouge out my eyes in agony), and caused men to look at the incredibly long (and real) lashes.

Now that I am no longer concerned about the looks I get, and the allergies have intensified as I have gotten older, I only wear it when I don't want to scare people on Special Occasions.

That said, there is something about wearing it that does empower one.

I wonder if Britney Spears still has her 'face by numbers' kit...

Posted by: Cricket at April 27, 2010 12:16 PM

Of course men should love women for who they are, au naturel.

If more women went au naturel, we wouldn't *notice* whether they were wearing makeup, c'est vrai, oui?

Posted by: BillT at April 27, 2010 12:19 PM

If more women went au naturel, we wouldn't *notice* whether they were wearing makeup, c'est vrai, oui?

Smart aleck... :p

Posted by: Hey! My eyes are up here! at April 27, 2010 12:23 PM

It's a trained response. If you only see females in makeup from puberty on, that will be your measure of beauty. Ask a 10-12 years old boy that has started to notice girls about what looks good to him and you will get a much different answer.

Posted by: Russ at April 27, 2010 12:41 PM

*hat tip*

At least you didn't say wearing makeup led to epistemic closure.

That's what *zippers* are for.

Posted by: BillT at April 27, 2010 12:44 PM

It's a trained response. If you only see females in makeup from puberty on, that will be your measure of beauty.

And yet (as I'm always told) looking at anorexic 19 y/o Czech supermodels with enormous surgically enhanced boobs has absolutely NO effect on male perceptions of beauty...


Posted by: I'll Pay for This But It's So Worth It at April 27, 2010 12:55 PM

Nah, the non-anorexic Polish one's are much better.

Posted by: Oink :©) at April 27, 2010 01:15 PM

I am truly fortunate that women who apply make-up well, who accent their shapely bodies with attractive clothing and take large amounts of time to produce luxurious yet natural looking hair styles are playing right into what I naturally like.

Posted by: tomg51 at April 27, 2010 01:24 PM

I don't normally watch TV but a few weekends ago I had to work all weekend. I decided to do it on the sofa w/the TV since what I was doing was boring and routine. I ended up watching "What Not to Wear", and though normally I despite reality-type TV shows, I LOVE this one.

I watched back to back episodes and did not see one single woman who didn't look *tons* better after they got done with her. A few had too much makeup on, but most looked very natural.

It's amazing how much a flattering hair style and the right clothes and makeup can do for a woman. Some of these women were flat out unrecognizable - they turned an unremarkable looking woman into a knockout. The transformations (not to mention the glowing smiles and newly found confidence) in one or two of these women brought tears to my eyes.

I don't like it, but people do judge by appearances and men (I think) judge more by appearances than women. And then they complain when women try to give them what they want.


Women like to create beauty. Now I'm trying to figure out how to get my friends to nominate me for a guest appearance :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 01:34 PM

I don't think men are all that good at figuring out whether a woman wears makeup or not unless she overapplies it.

Within the context of this discussion, I think this is completely correct. It's the same reason portrait photographers tend to use soft focus lenses. The slight blur doesn't really change the way you look, but it does tend to blend out things like freckles.

As for the original claim as a whole, I say it depends.

The single woman going out on the town, yeah, she's doing it for men. And if, as above, she's doing it in a way that looks "natural", we like this very much.

The woman going out on the town with her SO, yeah, she's doing it for a man. Again, we like this very much even if we're not thrilled with the time.

The married woman leaving her husband behind at the house to go to Wal-Mart? If she's doing it for men, that sounds like a red flag to me. Which, given the frequency that happens and the infrequency that anything inappropriate occurs, suggests that *in this case* it's not men they are doing it for. Perhaps, it is done for other women, or perhaps it is done so that they don't show up at People of Walmart. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 27, 2010 01:38 PM

This post reminded me of an Everybody Hates Chris" episode in which Julius (Chris' father) is about to throw away Rochelle's (Chris' mother) makeup:

00:18:19 What's in the bag?

00:18:20 I'm throwing out your makeup.

00:18:23 You're doing what?!

00:18:24 Oprah said you don't have to paint your face for me. I love you just the way you are.

00:18:27 Oprah doesn't know what I look like without my makeup! Julius, baby, do you know what's in this bag?
00:18:37 Rochelle is in this bag!
00:18:39 See, here's Rochelle's lips, here's her eyelashes, her complexion, her cheeks, her fingernails!
00:18:46 (sighs) Julius, I don't know what Oprah's saying, but she's giving out very dangerous information. Baby, there are certain things that men just don't need to know about women.

00:19:01 I'm sorry. I just wanted to let you know you're good enough for me. Even if your face is inside this bag.

00:19:08 Thank you. I appreciate that. Baby, you really want to do something for me?

00:19:15 Anything.

00:19:16 Stop watching Oprah.

Posted by: Craig at April 27, 2010 01:41 PM

The married woman leaving her husband behind at the house to go to Wal-Mart? If she's doing it for men, that sounds like a red flag to me. Which, given the frequency that happens and the infrequency that anything inappropriate occurs, suggests that *in this case* it's not men they are doing it for.

I don't gussy myself all up every time I go to the grocery store, but I can testify that while I don't notice (or care) whether women look at me I absolutely *do* notice whether men look!

So in my case at least, I have to disagree.

Case in point: last year I was feeling a bit down in the dumps, so I fixed myself up a bit more than usual. That afternoon when I went to the grocery store there was an extra spring in my step because I knew that I looked better than usual.

At my age guys don't stop and look the way they once did, but I noticed several looking at me that afternoon and several men caught my eye and smiled. I never once felt like they were trying to pick me up or suggest anything untoward because that was all it was - a smile and a glance that lasted a second or two longer than usual. They were just enjoying being guys and I was very much enjoying being a woman.

Innocent pleasure as far as I'm concerned. When the spouse got home that night, the first thing he said was, "You look very pretty tonight".

And that was the best of all :)

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 01:56 PM

...last year I was feeling a bit down in the dumps, so I fixed myself up a bit more than usual.

Then you did it for yourself, not for men. That men (or even your husband) noticed wasn't the reason you did it. They were just side-effects.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 27, 2010 02:02 PM

I'm not sure it's that simple, Yu-Ain.

I agree that I did it partly for myself.

I also think that I would not have tried as hard if I hadn't been going out later on. Sometimes I fix myself up when I know I'm not going anywhere that day but I'm more likely to do it if I'm going out and far more likely if I'm going somewhere where men will be than if (for instance) I'm going to a hen party :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 02:06 PM

Oh, and since this is kinda-sorta not completely off-topic: appearently scantily clad women do cause earthquakes.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 27, 2010 02:10 PM

Cass ~ you're right. It's not that simple. I do the same, exact thing.

Being of Irish, English, and Native American (more Irish than anything), I am paler than Casper the Friendly Ghost. Without makeup, I'm not even sure that people can SEE me. I know they can't see my eyes - those literally fade into my face. And, because of my fairness and the location in which I live, my skintone is anything but even. So even if people DID see me, they'd see my blotchiness and probably nothing else.

Therefore, it is rare that I am without makeup. It happens and I'm ok being seen without it. But most of the time I have makeup on. And I like how I look with it on. My mother was wonderful and taught me how to apply it properly so that I did not look like a French wh*re (her words) but that I did highlight my best features. I firmly believe that less IS more when it comes to makeup.

I'm going camping with my youth group this weekend so makeup will not be on my face. And that's ok - they've all seen me au naturel before and none of them have run screaming from the building. I know people that would bring their makeup WITH them on a camping trip. I've never understood that.

But when I take the time to put on makeup and make myself look GOOD, I love that feeling. And you're right - the best part is when MacGyver stops and says, "Wow. You look great!". Makes my heart smile :)

Posted by: HomefrontSix at April 27, 2010 02:29 PM

Thanks a LOT, Yu-Ain :p

That may be the perfect counterbalance to the SEC porn story. Somewhere in a parallel universe these folks will find each other.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 02:37 PM

...when I take the time to put on makeup and make myself look GOOD, I love that feeling. And you're right - the best part is when MacGyver stops and says, "Wow. You look great!". Makes my heart smile :)

I think that's part of being a woman. All things being equal, I don't enjoy the fussing over appearance at all.

And I hate - HATE - to shop. But that is something I do for my husband. Not all of the time, but sometimes. And I think it means a lot to him for reasons I don't have to understand.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 02:39 PM

Oh, and since this is kinda-sorta not completely off-topic: appearently scantily clad women do cause earthquakes.

Untrue. That earthquake occurred before Boobquake Day started in anything west of Afghanistan.

Posted by: MikeD at April 27, 2010 03:02 PM

Sorry guys but the only thing that "experiment" proved is that women love exposing themselves on the Internet and men like watching.

Now if you'll all pardon me, I'm off to alert the media. There's a multi-million dollar federal research grant in here somewhere.

Posted by: Well now *there's* a shocker... at April 27, 2010 03:12 PM

Untrue. That earthquake occurred before Boobquake Day started in anything west of Afghanistan.

That's just because The Earth was trembling in anticipation.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 27, 2010 03:43 PM

Here's another tidbit for the discussion - which women typically do not wear makeup? Or to be more exact, aggressively do not wear makeup? Yup, generally the same ones who holler if you dare open a door for them, complain about repression if you offer them a hand and who curse the patriarchy if a gentleman admires their appearance or dares to offer them a compliment. Or the ones who stare dreamily into space before offering to adjust your aura and help you restore your chakra balance. If I were a gentleman, in this day and age, depending on my surroundings (college town, West Coast, Sedona) I'd almost consider a lack of cosmetics to be a warning sign. Sort of the reverse of coral snakes and poison frogs.

And then there's me, who has to wear so much sunscreen that putting color on top of it is rather like painting stucco.

Posted by: LittleRed1 at April 27, 2010 03:43 PM

BTW, wouldn't that make Gaia male? With The Earth on our side, you ladies have no chance.

Posted by: The Patriarchy at April 27, 2010 03:46 PM

And I hate - HATE - to shop. But that is something I do for my husband.

If I go shopping for roofing nails, I'll return home with something extra -- a roll of duct tape or some solder for a just-in-case.

When KtLW goes shopping for new sheets, she'll return home with sheets, pillowcases, a new bedspread, paint chips, fabric swatches, and carpet samples -- because I *will* have to re-decorate the bedroom to match the bedspread.

"Something I do for my husband."


Posted by: BillT at April 27, 2010 03:49 PM

A great makeup job on a woman does make a large difference in a man’s perception of the “beauty” of the woman. No amount of make-up, however, can overcome existential stupidity, bad attitude, bad personality, drive, ambition, or a lack of common sense, all of which are revealed with the mouth is open and the woman is in action. If a man is looking for a one-nighter, make-up could be something of a guide; if he is looking for something more real and of lasting value or importance, make-up is probably not very important.

As for the “related visual aid”, isn’t it interesting how some of the women still look great even without the make-up?

Posted by: I Call BS at April 27, 2010 04:11 PM

Errata: " ... LACK of drive, LACK of ambition ..."

Posted by: I Call BS at April 27, 2010 04:12 PM

As for the “related visual aid”, isn’t it interesting how some of the women still look great even without the make-up?

Agreed :)

Some looked just as good or even better! But most of them (and I've seen a lot of these types of sites, so this isn't just based on this batch of photos) look better with makeup.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 04:20 PM

Another interesting point: several of those "no makeup" photos are of women who have very minimal makeup (i.e., mascara) on (though the ladies who looked best don't appear to me to be wearing any).

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 04:24 PM

Another interesting point: several of those "no makeup" photos are of women who have very minimal makeup on...

I was thinking the same thing. Clarkson and Winslet in particular.

But all in all, I find many of these type things hard to compare. I mean, looking into your rear view mirror to pick your teeth with a business card isn't exactly the most attractive pose to start with. Quite a few others I think prove the old adage by its absence: The most attractive thing you can wear is a smile.

Posted by: The Patriarchy at April 27, 2010 04:45 PM

I was thinking the same thing. Clarkson and Winslet in particular.

Bingo. Not too sure about what's her face (Bridget Jones' Diary Woman) either. She looks like she has eyeliner on to me but I wouldn't swear to it in court.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 05:09 PM

All things being equal, I don't enjoy the fussing over appearance at all.

And I hate - HATE - to shop. But that is something I do for my husband. Not all of the time, but sometimes.

I hate makeup and fussing over appearance. That's one of the great things about working from home--no makeup!! The only time I put on makeup now is when I'm going out for some social activity or volunteering at the USO. I always say it's so I don't scare anyone. ;)

But I've also grudgingly accepted that I really can't afford to go out without smoothing my hair and at least making my skin look better. I hate that, though. I guess I kinda resent that guys never have to deal with makeup and curling irons... :P

Posted by: FbL at April 27, 2010 05:37 PM

Oops, those first two sentences above are a quote.

Posted by: FbL at April 27, 2010 05:37 PM

Posted by: spd rdr at April 27, 2010 06:28 PM

Re Related visual aid

On second viewing, more than a few still look pretty good "au naturel" - acne does nothing good for anybody, however.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 27, 2010 06:40 PM

Naturally beautiful women (and most movie stars fall into that category) are beautiful without further adornment.

The rest of us do what we can. Or not, which is fine too.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 06:56 PM

Once I was allowed to start wearing makeup (and there were rules about what was allowed, color palette-wise, from Mom), I went a very long time before I would go out of the house/dorm without wearing it. Lately, I often think it not worth it, depending on what I'm doing/where I'm going. Going to the temp/contract office job? Usually don't take the time - I'd rather get a few more minutes shut-eye. Going into a school to substitute teach? I am at least going to wear foundation & blush, and if I'm not pressed for time, eye shadow and mascara. Am I going "out" somewhere (baseball game, American Legion function, etc.)? I'm going to put forth the effort of the whole shabang: foundation, blush, eyeshadow, mascara, lipstick. Really depends on if I think I will be seeing anyone I want to make a good impression on. Temp/contract office job? Not seeing any "prospects" there, and I'm not aiming to land a "regular" job with the company, either. Subbing? That's a potential employer I want to impress. Social setting? I want to make a good impression, don't know who I might meet.

Yesterday, I went into the office job (only day I will this week, since I am subbing the rest of the time). When I do that, my sisters and I (yeah, we all work at the same place) spend out "lunch hour" in the employer-provided, free fitness center working out. Made a comment to the sister who got married in November about having an appointment to get my hair done on Friday. Before I could even finish my point (which is that I'm glad it worked out my hair appointment is Friday and has been scheduled for weeks, and I'll be going to a teacher job fair in Killeen on Saturday; nothing like a fresh color/cut/styling, ya know), she tells me I look like I got caught in the rain. I had my hair up in a ponytail and wasn't wearing makeup. If you can't let your family insult you...who can you, right?

Honestly, even when I was younger (you know, before the weight gain, dark circles, etc.), I never noticed "lingering looks" from men when I was out and about. I didn't tend to be the girl who got asked to dance by men I didn't know when we'd all go out to the C&W bars in San Angelo.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at April 27, 2010 08:34 PM


Most people agree on what "beautiful" looks like.

I think there is a lot more variation in what various people think is attractive. I've seen women who had all sorts of "flaws" who nonetheless seem very attractive to me and looking at the women a lot of guys end up with, it's pretty obvious that men aren't monolithic in this regard either.

You have accomplished so much in the past year or so :) It takes considerable will and strength to stick with a diet and exercise program as long as you have - most people give up after a few months.

Don't let unkind remarks get to you. I can't imagine why anyone would say something like that. The only reason I can think of is that they don't realize how much it hurts. I admire you for what you have accomplished. Whether or not it leads to a relationship, losing weight and getting in shape is a good thing :)

There are lots of things in life that we can't always change, but the better you feel about yourself and your own life, the more people will want to be with you. You have made a very good start in that direction.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 08:59 PM

I've gotten lots of thoughtless/critical remarks from her recently, and not just about the fact that I don't always wear makeup when I go into the office. Told her via email a few weeks ago that I was done listening to that. Later that same day, she started in with it as I was starting my workout. I just left and went back to my desk. She said - as I was leaving - that I was being childish. I ignored that. She and my other sister are very close. I know they'll confide in one another about stuff, but I seem to get left out of thing a lot, especially when I'm not in the office (we don't just call one another up to chat [me and either of my sisters], but I know they do stuff together all the time - like going to Vegas with their significant others which I was never "told", just picked up on by overhearing their conversations). That treatment, along with the criticism, makes things hard. I don't have anyone to go home and vent to when I've had a shitty day like they both do (the one being married, the other living with her boyfriend). Snide remarks aren't making me think any better of her. She can be a thoughtful person, but she can also be a complete bitch, too... Yeah, a bit OT, but there you have it...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at April 27, 2010 09:27 PM

Oh, and in the list of things she's been critical of: spending money (yeah, we all know my finances are in the crapper, especially after my unplanned trip to the ER which is likely going to cost me the same as if I'd bought a new car) on clothes so I don't look like some orphan wearing things two sizes too big (all my stuff from last summer doesn't fit anymore). After being lectured on my spending the first time, I didn't bother to share about additional clothing purchases I've made recently. Really, is spending a little money on 5 tees, 4 tanks, a button-up blouse, a denim skort, a pair of black capris, a dress and a pair of shoes (which isn't even a complete wardrobe) unreasonable? It's not like I'm shopping at those stores they feature on What Not to Ware (I love that show, too; I don't dress so badly I need to have my whole wardrobe throw in the trash, but five grand would go a very long way for me right about now...).

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at April 27, 2010 09:35 PM

Life is too short to spend it around people who make you feel bad, MLB. If your sister doesn't treat you with respect, you are within your rights to minimize the amount of time you spend with her.

Congratulations on dropping a few sizes! That's fantastic!

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 09:40 PM

Thanks. I've gained a few pounds this week, but not enough to make last summer's clothes fit right ;-) I'm thrilled I don't have to shop plus-size anymore, and can even buy things in the petite department again - something I've been unable to do for years. I've still got about 30 pounds to go, but I'm not completely embarrassed by my appearance anymore. Looking back on photos of the very fat me, even when I was making an effort to look nice, I just cringe at how unattractive I was. I do feel so much better about myself, but I'm still not in an ideal situation (that has nothing to do with the weight loss I've been working on for the past 16 months), and the sucky part is, I don't know when those things will be fixed. A full-time, regular teaching job for the fall at a school in the Austin area so I don't have to relocate would be best, but I can't count on that happening. It didn't happen right after graduation, this is hiring season #4 since then and the economy is in the crapper, so many districts aren't hiring as many people as they normally might (don't have funding to add positions, and others who might normally retire or relocate aren't going anywhere...). I do often wonder, though, if I'd not been obese when I first sought a teaching job, if I'd have gotten any offers... Like was mentioned above, the more attractive you are, the better off you tend to be professionally, too.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at April 27, 2010 09:57 PM

Loved the pictures. Good post and comments too. I don't wear makeup, tho I would look better if I did. I wore it in my youth. But my spouse hates it. He is allergic to perfume. I tease him that he would like it if Western women wore a chador...

I love men, and enjoy their company, but I really don't care what they think of my appearance any more, so long as my spouse likes how I look. I was a tomboy in my youth, so am relieved that I don't have a husband who only cares about my looks. If I were widowed, or divorced, I would wear make up again.

It is perhaps partly that I am exhausted by work, an autistic teen, and the usual motherish worries about kids in college. I joke to the kids about "What not to Wear" (love that show). I could use a makeover.

I admire women who take more pains over their appearance than I do. But it just isn't a priority for me at this stage of my life. Awesome hearing about Miss Ladybug's incredible discipine about getting in shape again. Great!

I do take care to exercise, get outdoors, and have kept waist length hair because my husband likes it. My one vanity.

When I was young I was told I was good looking, and got the usual wolf whistles, stares, pick up lines. Since I am very shy and uncomfortable with that kind of attention, there's something to be said for being invisible in middle age.

I think also, with two beautiful daughters, it feels a bit silly to fuss over my appearance. I don't want to look like mutton dressed as lamb.

The women in my area go heavily in for the botox, plastic surgery, bleached blonde hair, highlights, four hours a day working out and personal trainers, huge emphasis on appearance. They look great, but I'd rather spend the time hiking or taking pictures, or blogging or teaching Sunday school or reading, or talking with my family than grooming.

Ho hum.

Posted by: retriever at April 27, 2010 10:14 PM

I don't think I'd ever do botox or a nose job, but having been very heavy and now having lost over half the weight I want to lose, there are some things that might not "go back" to the way they were before I gained it all. Especially being single and not wanting to be, I could be tempted, once I reach my ultimate weight loss goal, to at least investigate "fixing" those things which may - naturally - now be permanently "disfigured" as a result of my past obesity. It's nothing anyone else is seeing right now, but I hope that would change some day, and I don't want to be self-conscience about it if that day ever does come. This summer's birthday, I think, will be a hard one for me...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at April 27, 2010 10:24 PM

There is a different between being obsessed with personal appearance (Retriever's example) and wanting to feel good about yourself, and I think a lot of feeling good about yourself is a pretty personal judgment.

I know women who have had work done after having kids, for instance. The idea was more to put things back :p

I understand that.

For some reason, I am more comfortable trying to make peace with getting older. I wish we were more forgiving of the aging process in this country - there is so much to enjoy in this part of your life. It seems weird to spend it wishing you were younger.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 10:39 PM

You know, I think...

...that I promised, once, never to oppose you on this topic again. So, being a man of my word, I shall not! :)

Interesting studies, though.

Posted by: Grim at April 27, 2010 10:44 PM

Hm, the only time I ever wear make-up is for a dance performance (I do belly-dancing), and there, the makeup I wear is probably what HomefrontSix's mom would call "French wh*re makeup" :) --very heavy, for dramatic effect.

I've asked my husband, and he says he doesn't think I'd look better with makeup, but then again, I can't help but think that's one of those questions like "Does this dress make me look fat?" that guys are sensitized to be wary of. :)

Posted by: colagirl at April 27, 2010 10:49 PM

I don't mind, Grim :)

Colagirl: I think there are women whose looks aren't enhanced by makeup - in fact, I think some look better with no makeup no matter how well it's applied. To me it's a matter of personal taste.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 27, 2010 11:02 PM

This summer will be one of those "milestone" birthdays. If I were married and had a family already, I probably won't be caring. But, since I am hitting this milestone WITHOUT those things, and the prospect of having both - ever - is getting slimmer by the day (at this age, I might find that "Mr. Right", but whose to say it would happen in time to also have that family I want so bad?). Everywhere I look right now, I seem to see other people getting married/involved in serious relationships and/or having babies (two cousins and my "sister in law" [the one who isn't actually married to my brother] are all due in September, and here I am, the second oldest grandchild, and the only adult one above the age of 30 who isn't married). I try to remember things could be worse (worse than not being allowed to drive for 6 months, living my with parents, being buried in debt, underemployed, and having a nearly non-existent social life?), but being me right now does suck in many ways...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at April 27, 2010 11:34 PM

ColaGirl ~ makeup used during any kind of a performance HAS to be "French wh*re makeup". Otherwise you look washed out and sickly under the lights. Apples and oranges.

MLB ~ don't let your sisters get you down. I'm sure that's easier said than done but it sounds to me like you have more inner beauty in your pinky finger than they do throughout their bodies. And yes, based on what you've described, it does suck right now. No getting around that. My prayer is that this is just a "momentary suck" and not a "long term suck".

Posted by: HomefrontSix at April 27, 2010 11:49 PM

Well, it's already been more than a "momentary suck". When I decided to go back to school five years ago, I made the assumption I'd finish my M.Ed. in a year and a half (which I did), and I would then substitute teach in the spring semester and start a teaching job the following fall. Things didn't quite work out that way. I've been graduated more than 3 years now. This hiring season will be my last chance: if I do not secure a teaching position for the 2010-2011 school year, I won't ever be a teacher. I cannot continue as I have, underemployed with no benefits (yeah, we found out how much that sucks when I got taken to the ER in December...) and will have to quit with the subbing and temp/contract work and find a "real" job (if there is one to be found in this economy, even here in Texas). It will suck a really big one to have spent the last 5 years and $20k in order to go into teaching, only to have that completely fall apart, but that's what I might be facing. The worst part is the uncertainty of it all. If I had a spouse on which I could depend, it would be different. It's just me, and I'm barely treading water in my current situation. Back to that job application...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at April 28, 2010 12:05 AM

Miss LB, regarding your sisters, it doesn't make it feel any better, but there may be an interesting dynamic at work. Among siblings, whenever somebody changes significantly (either emotionally or physically), it can affect the relationships with the other siblings--the old sibling rivalry thing.

Friends are known to sabotage a friend who is losing weight because that weight loss can change how the person feels and relates to everyone else. It's an awful thing to say, but that might be a bit of what is happening with your sisters. As you change your appearance, you are changing how you feel about yourself and how you interact with other people. That can upset the dynamic your sisters are used to. And if they are insecure or require looking down on you to feel better about themselves, your new self can be very threatening to them.

Just a theory...

Posted by: FbL at April 28, 2010 12:26 AM

What does she have to fear from me? She's the young one with a husband, a fantastic body (she literally have 6-pack abs, but she works really hard for that) and enough spending money to not only have gone to Cancun on their honeymoon, but also to go to Vegas for a few days, too, not to mention going to concerts and other fun things with my other sister and their friends. If she thinks I'm going to steal her friends, there's something wrong with her (this is mostly the older of my two sisters - I don't get the snide comments from the youngest...).

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at April 28, 2010 01:03 AM

I didn't say it was logical. ;) But whether it applies in this case or not, it IS a real phenomenon and it often has little to do with whether or not the people involved SHOULD have something to fear. If it's accurate in this case (and I honestly don't know if it is or not), it may come down to her valuing her role as one of the "pretty sisters." If you become prettier, then she feels her role (and maybe even value/identity) is threatened. Like I said, not rational. But not unusual, either.

Posted by: FbL at April 28, 2010 01:19 AM

The Empress rarely wears makeup, when she does it is eyeliner and lipstick when we are going out (sometimes when we’re “staying in”). What I find “attractive” is that she takes the time to do it for me.

As for Gueguen’s “experiment”, there are too many “noise factors” to isolate the results to makeup. A few that come to mind are; day of the week and time of day (effecting alcohol consumption by the “test subjects”), attire of the two female “decoys”, and even the lighting in the bars. This is also assuming that the number of “test subjects” was the same every session.

Posted by: crazy mike at April 28, 2010 06:01 AM

I've never worn it, not even at my wedding. It's always mystified me why people find makeup attractive. The only time I can understand it at all is when you're looking at a woman from a distance of 25 feet or more (or through a camera, which amounts to the same thing). I've always wondered why a man isn't repelled by the idea of having makeup smear off on him. The smell is an issue, too. I'm glad I'm heterosexual and that the notion of makeup on men is not popular this century! I'm glad stinky oily hair stuff isn't in vogue, either.

When I look at my wedding pictures now, I don't have to wonder what I could have been thinking re my facial cosmetics, as I do with most people's wedding pictures. My face just looks normal to me: young and healthy.

Posted by: Texan99 at April 28, 2010 01:23 PM

And as far as using makeup to ensure that I got more come-ons, that's not really how I used to see it. Getting the come-on from the right guy is the thing, not getting a bunch of come-ons from guys I'd never be able to get along with anyway. Maybe not wearing makeup worked out as a good up-front filter. By the same token, I never dated. I just got to know guys and made my interest plain if I had any. My husband was the same way. It worked out.

Posted by: Texan99 at April 28, 2010 01:29 PM

Well, my point wasn't so much that one ought to wear makeup in order to attract more men!

It was that men frequently say they don't like makeup and yet it would appear that in study after study, they rate women who wear it as more attractive.

So, do we listen to what they say? Or do we pay attention to the way they act in the real world? :p

(FWIW, I agree that women say one thing and do another all the time too)

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 01:40 PM

As to why people find it attractive, that's obviously a personal aesthetics issue. When you think of the great beauties (Grace Kelly, Liz Taylor, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, etc) I can't think of a single one who didn't wear makeup.

Women have been using makeup in all cultures since the dawn of time. I don't personally care whether someone does or not, but I have to think there must be *some* benefit to the practice :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 01:43 PM

I don't personally care whether someone does or not...

I should hope not. After all, you're not the targeted demographic.

*blinking all innocenty cherubic-like*

Posted by: BillT at April 28, 2010 02:14 PM

It is women's war paint.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 28, 2010 05:23 PM

Why I started wearing makeup back in the day, and for many years after? To hide those unsightly blemishes brought on by puberty. I don't have blemishes like I used to (THANK GOD!), but I've since developed dark circles under my eyes (had a doctor actually given an explanation: burst blood vessels in the delicate tissue around the eyes often the result on frequent/excessive coughing/sneezing, both things I have experienced; basically, they are bruises that never really go away...). If I'm going somewhere where I don't care what people think of me, I'm not likely to wear it (that stuff costs money, don't ya know, and I'm trying to cut back on expenses; wearing makeup where I perceive no reward for it, well...). As I said before, I wear it when I want to make a good impression on people, for whatever reason. Didn't wear it Monday (at the office job), but I've worn it the rest of the week - and will through Saturday. I'm subbing this week, and Saturday is the job fair. I'll wear makeup Monday evening when I go to my American Legion Auxiliary meeting. I'll wear it when I go to the dinners at the Legion, as well. I'll wear it when I go out to the ballpark. I wore it when I went down to San Antonio for the Soldiers' Angels barbecue thing last month. Just running to the grocery store? Nope, won't bother...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at April 28, 2010 05:35 PM

I don't wear any most days. A lot of days I don't wear earrings either (earrings are to me what shoes were to Imelda Marcos - I love them!) But then I work at home.

When I went into the office I always wore makeup. And earrings. And stockings. To me that was like men wearing ties - just something one did.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 05:44 PM

I guess I just meant that "whether it worked" could never have been an important issue for me. If it "worked," it would be working against my long-term interests. If that's what a guy is attracted to, he and I would be a lot better off if he found someone else, and the sooner the better!

I assume that women wear makeup because they think it makes them look better. If I agreed with them, I might do the same -- but I can't imagine agreeing with them.

It's not that I'm dead set against artificiality. I enjoy seeing attractive women dressed up in drop-dead elegant satin evening gowns of the most impractical sort. I like elaborate hairstyles if they happen to be flattering, as long as no hairspray or goop is involved. I even like artistically skillful and imaginative tattoos. I just don't like makeup.

Posted by: Texan99 at April 28, 2010 07:20 PM

Miss LB,

I had dark circles under my eyes for years and always thought they were from my numerous allergies. But they were actually from lack of sleep caused by undiagnosed sleep apnea. You might want to have that checked--it's made a world of difference to me.

Posted by: Rex at April 28, 2010 10:41 PM

If that's what a guy is attracted to, he and I would be a lot better off if he found someone else, and the sooner the better!

You know, the way I look at it most of us are initially attracted by appearance. Physical attraction is a part of the way we mate. It's not all of it, certainly. But it isn't something to be discounted, either.

If you hate makeup, then I agree that you wouldn't want a man who was attracted by your makeup because you'd both end up disappointed and unhappy. But I don't think there are too many men around who look at an attractive woman and think, "Thank God she's wearing makeup!"

They just think: "She's attractive".

Fortunately, men and women have a pretty broad spectrum of preferences and somehow during the dating process we sort each other out.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 28, 2010 10:54 PM

I don't get as much sleep as a should. See? I'm still up at 12:20, and have to get up about 6am (working on job app stuff, since it's hiring season for teachers for NEXT school year...). My dad was diagnosed with sleep apnea. He's got that C-PAP mask or whatever it's called... Something to think about, though, and ask about next time I'm at the medical professional's office...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at April 29, 2010 01:22 AM

Compare me now without makeup vs. with makeup, no doubt anyone who sees the difference would say the "without" is the more attractive. Also, I tend to not go "French wh*re" with it, either, so there is that... However, I do wish I could get professional advice on what would be best for me (like that lady on What Not to Wear who tells the ladies what kind of foundation is best for their skin, what colors, and how to best apply it). Sometimes, I see pictures, and think "it didn't look like that in the mirror...."

Okay, upstairs and into bed...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at April 29, 2010 01:25 AM

If a guy couldn't look at me without makeup and think "She's attractive," there was no future for us anyway. If it was also true that he'd have thought I was even more attractive in makeup, well, it just never came up, which is just as well, because it could only have led to a rift. I know this seems silly, but my reaction would have been that if he wanted me to look different from what I am, he ought to find someone else. Guys who were interested in me in the first place figured that out without my having to tell them.

No doubt I'm less flexible about this kind of thing than is right. It has something to do with a morbid aversion to substitutes or fakes, perhaps a pitfall of being a stepchild. There's a difference between graceful decoration and falseness that I often can't appreciate. So there I am: lucky to have a husband who tolerates my quirks, of which this is only one of many.

But doesn't anyone else think, when they see lipstick on a cigarette or a glass, that it's repulsive? Is that just me?

Posted by: Texan99 at April 29, 2010 02:13 AM

If people weren't worried about looking as they are, they wouldn't need hair cuts, shaves, or specific articles of clothing.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 29, 2010 01:02 PM

The Japanese have a word for fake that is two parts funny and one part strange.

For those who had a physical aversion to telling lies back in the youngin days, any kind of fakery produces an ingrained response.

But it is not an accurate reflection on reality, necessarily. It is simply the internal wiring going off. Human events have always needed illusion of one kind or another. Most illusions aren't good, but some are for a time.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 29, 2010 02:16 PM

"If people weren't worried about looking as they are, they wouldn't need hair cuts, shaves, or specific articles of clothing." -- True, and those habits don't do anything for me, either. But at least cutting and shaving hair doesn't leave behind an effect that I actively dislike; it just strikes me as a puzzling waste of time. The last time I cut my hair was over ten years ago, and I have no plans ever to cut it again. As for curling or dyeing it, not a chance! All I expect of hair is that it be reasonably clean, like teeth and fingernails. Who needs hair that has to be protected from rain or wind, makeup that can get smudged, or fingernails that mustn't get broken? Not to mention scents that don't smell like people. It's all weird to me, always has been.

Posted by: Texan99 at April 30, 2010 12:29 PM

Did you feel anything the first time you consciously thought about telling a lie, Texan?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at May 2, 2010 11:26 AM

I wear makeup for men and for the competition (women)as well as for myself. The reason is I feel more confident for doing it and it takes away the sting when my man is eyeing up other women when we are out together. I know that if I am wearing makeup I am attractive so other men will be eyeing me up AND the women he is eyeing up see I'm attractive and will feel sorry for me being with a jerk off who is eyeing up other women. So that's how it goes. I also think I look more human and professional with some makeup because I have extremely thin brows and lashes and dark circles.

Makeup helps the average good looking woman look pretty and the gorgeous woman look even prettier. It doesn't do much for ugly chicks, though. It enhances what you already have and I am thankful for that. BTW my fiance did not know I was wearing makeup when he initially started noticing me. He doesn't complain about it because I am a skilled applier and my makeup takes 15 min to apply at most.

Posted by: elle at July 26, 2010 11:51 AM

i did a research project, and it actually showed that the majority of guys prefer no makeup, or very little, natural makeup.

Posted by: bassicgurl13 at October 11, 2010 03:35 PM

I'm 24 years old and I haven't worn make up in over a year. I use to feel gross and think I looked ugly. I don't spend money on that , and try to please my husband. I mean these are supposed to be my good years right? Its kinda hard though trying to be Natural because everyone around me in L.A. looks nicer than they actually are when they wake up, and sometimes I feel jelouse and think my husband will find these woman more attractive than me.

Posted by: jessica at June 24, 2014 01:49 AM