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Study: Women who wear makeup seem more competent

By Nkoyo Iyamba | Posted - Oct. 4, 2011 at 7:46 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- If a picture says a thousand words, what does a woman's face convey?

"You hear the comment that the first impression is the most important," said Holly Stone, Image Consultant. "Because the brain can't process fast enough who we are as an individual."

Stone was waiting for a client at The Sweetest Thingz boutique and salon. She frequently gives dressing and makeup tips to clients there. She says your image speaks volumes to those around you and it only takes 16 seconds.

"It's important because that's just what we do. It's just a fact of life," explained stone. "We do it subconsciously. We don't know we do it but we do it."

Researchers from Procter & Gamble, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston University, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute say it only takes less than a second, to determine if a woman is competent, likeable, attractive, and trustworthy.

Stone said people should not equate wearing 
makeup with being beautiful; rather, it's the 
investment that one makes into her appearance 
that will bring success in her personal and 
professional life.
Stone said people should not equate wearing makeup with being beautiful; rather, it's the investment that one makes into her appearance that will bring success in her personal and professional life.

The study took place in two parts. The first study included 149 adults (61 men, 88 women) of different ages and ethnicities who were shown the faces for 250 milliseconds. Participants viewed 100 color images of headshots of 25 women, ages 20-50, who identified as Hispanic, Caucasian or African American. According to the study, stylists applied three different makeup looks labeled as "natural," "professional" and "glamorous". The participants concluded the women wearing a moderate amount of makeup appeared competent, likeable, attractive, and trustworthy.

The second study included 119 adults (30 males, 89 females) of different ages and ethnicities. They received unlimited time to inspect each face. All participants saw the faces in a randomized sequence and rated them based on attractiveness, likeability, trustworthiness and competence.

However, in the second study, researchers found that when participants had more time to view the images, the images with more dramatic or "glamorous" makeup did not appear as trustworthy. Study participants still saw the women as likeable, competent, and attractive.

Holly Stone says these study results have nothing to do with makeup or beauty; rather, that image is the most important form of non-verbal communication. In essence, it's all about people's perceptions of each other. When a woman wears makeup, Stone says it reflects the way she possibly treats others. It shows that she has respect for herself so possibly she'll have respect for others. This becomes increasingly important in the workplace.


In the second study, researchers found that when participants had more time to view the images, the images with more dramatic or "glamorous" makeup did not appear as trustworthy.

"She took the time to invest that little extra in the morning to present herself," said Stone. "That definitely means she's going to represent me well, she's going to make an effort with regards to a project that I'm assisting her with or even in our relationship."

Stone also notes that in addition to makeup, body language, and the clothes we wear convey certain messages to people around you. "The more skin you show," she explained. "The more approachable and casual you appear." When you fold your arms, "it indicates that you're not engaged or not approachable," explained Stone.

"Fair or not we do it, said Stone. "On a subconscious level."

Stone said people should not equate wearing makeup with being beautiful; rather, it's the investment that one makes into her appearance that will bring success in her personal and professional life.

Email: [niyamba@ksl.com](<mailto: niyamba@ksl.com>)

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