Most women who wear make-up feel more physically attractive and that’s a well-known fact.
Here’s why the existence of a phenomenon related to the positive psychological effect of makeup is not surprising.
The so-called “lipstick effect” is the feeling of an overall improvement in a woman’s self-esteem, attitude and opinion about their own personality, whenever they are wearing makeup.
Yet, until a few years ago, no one had thought of observing the effect of cosmetics on cognitive abilities. Things changed only in 2016. A team of researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of Chieti led by led by Rocco Palumbo, a Cognitive Neuroscience Ph.D. at Harvard Medical School conducted a study. At the end of the research, they concluded that wearing makeup does make women feel more intelligent. So, it can lead to scoring high on tests and getting better grades.
The group of scientists tested the ‘lipstick effect’ on 182 female students who were divided into groups. First, the participants had to do different mood-influencing tasks. Some of the ladies had to listen to positive music, others had to color a drawing of a human face and some had to put on makeup. Then all of them were given a simulated multiple-choice university test about general psychology.
At the end of the study, the researchers came to the conclusion that makeup could lead to better academic performance more than any other mood booster.
In fact, the final results of the study confirmed the predictions made prior to the experiment. According to the researchers, the makeup group would probably undergo the most positive change in their feelings. And would achieve better results on the test.
And that’s what actually happened.
“In line with our predictions, we found a significant effect of make-up on multiple-choice test performance, with scores being significantly higher compared to those obtained after listening to positive music and coloring a face”, the researchers told Cogent Psychology
The cognitive performance of the participants who listened to positive music was good. However, the results of the makeup group were much better.
‘These data indicate that positive emotions are not the sole mechanism responsible for the observed enhancement,’ concluded the researchers.
However, not all opinions about the lipstick effect are positive.
In 2012, a leading economist suggested that the research supporting the lipstick effect theory relies on ‘over-generalized gender stereotypes.’ Julie Nelson, from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, criticized the studies which claim that women who wear makeup have more success in finding a partner.
Dailymail published a part of her interview for ABC News in which Julie Nelson states that according to her only “young university students within the U.S” took part in the studies that support the lipstick effect’s positive influence on women who are looking for a partner. While in reality there are many more categories of women who have never been taken into consideration.
“Along with young women not looking for a partner, it is not at all clear that older women, married women, lesbian women, or women from other educational and cultural backgrounds would share this so-called ‘women’s psychology’, Julie Nelson said.