Science Shows Men Like Women With Less Makeup

I find the timing of this article ironic considering the  fact that yesterday I left my makeup bag at home when I was planning to spend the night out of the city. I was so utterly annoyed I was frantically thinking of ways of doubling back to my house to get it before my class or the bus to New Jersey. The odd thing was, I was not at the time wearing makeup. I had been fresh faced for a number of days and was completely fine with it, however the idea of not being able to jush up my look with a bit of foundation, blush and mascara gave me anxiety. Personally I think I look much better, more polished with a bit of war paint on, just some powder, mascara and lipstick can change my whole face (at least in my view) without it I feel sullen and washed out, I look tired….

Well apparently there is scientific proof that at least men prefer women with less makeup on:

New research published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology found that people’s perceptions of what men and women find attractive are off. And even though many women decide to wear makeup to make themselves “more” attractive, they may be overdoing it.

Researchers at Bangor University and Aberdeen University gave 44 women different types of foundation, lipstick, blush and mascara and then told them to put on makeup like they were going on a night out. The women were photographed before and after they put on any makeup. The researchers then altered the photographs so they had a range of 21 images of the women wearing various amounts of makeup.

The images were then shown to 44 Bangor University students, who were told to pick the photo that they thought was the most attractive, the photo they thought women would prefer and the photo men would prefer.

The image below is an example of the before and after makeup images.

Courtesy of Alex Lee Jones

The image below is an example of the series of images from less to more makeup.

Courtesy of Alex Lee Jones

Interestingly, the women liked images of the models wearing a bit more makeup than the men did. All of the participants assumed men would like the models with more makeup on than the women would, but that turned out to be untrue. Men and women both preferred the images of the models wearing 40% less makeup than they initially put on.

The researchers conclude that women are putting on makeup for a perceived standard of beauty that may not actually exist. “Taken together, these results suggest that women are likely wearing cosmetics to appeal to the mistaken preferences of others. These mistaken preferences seem more tied to the perceived expectancies of men, and, to a lesser degree, of women,” the authors wrote.


Ok My  only issue with this is, that it assumes that I, or women are using makeup to attract, or appeal to men, and personally for me that is not the case, and I would venture to bet that it is not the case for a great deal of women. It is a proven fact that women dress more for the approval of other women, and not to attract men. Where it is nice to know that in a blind test (meaning it’s not your boyfriend, or husband trying to get you out the door) that men find the natural beauty of women more appealing, the real question is how do we convince the women of this?!