The research included a panel of men and women who assessed different women according to their appearance, and specifically their makeup.
The research was put together by a team working for the academic and science journal theconversation.com, and found that women who wear makeup appear to be more dominant when judged by other women, while men most commonly perceive them to be more prestigious.
The research notes that both dominance and prestige are ways to obtain higher status, but that both mean something very different when it comes to tactics.
The research cites the very different approaches of UFC champion Ronda Rousey, who uses intimidation to get the better of her professional fighter opponents, while presumptive US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton uses a much softer approach with her main opponent Donald Trump.
The soft or the hard approach?
Both women are highly influential and successful in their outcomes, but both have employed very different tactics, the research points out.
Although both sexes can employ these tactics in the path to success, women can routinely build on this by wearing cosmetics as a means of enhancing both their appearance and perception.
Bearing this in mind, the study aimed to find out which tactics, combined with different styles of makeup, was likely to lead to the most successful outcome among the panelists.
The research took real images of women, then digitally applied different styles and amounts of colour cosmetics, then asked the male and female panelists to rate each photo in terms of attractiveness, dominance and prestige.
The results were unexpected
The results showed that a small amount of makeup was given the thumbs up by both men and women as the photos were deemed to be more attractive.
“What surprised us was that, when it came to perceptions of social status, men think women with makeup look prestigious, while women think women with makeup look dominant. Makeup seems to signal two different “status” markers to either sex,” the research findings stated.
The researchers then decided to take the study further by looking into why women with makeup looked more dominant.
The team drew on previous studies that show that women tend to be more jealous of physically attractive women, while men value female attractiveness in terms of a potential mate.
Drilling down further on female jealousy
The research team decided to look into the potential for female jealousy further by asking a new set of female participants to rate women’s faces with and without makeup and to answer whether or not they would be jealous if the woman in the photo interacted with their partner.
The results of the study showed that women with more makeup were viewed by other women as being more promiscuous and in turn were more attractive to men, ultimately making women more jealous.
The results of the research are interesting, both to women at a social level, who may be interacting in a more female or more male environment, and could also be of interest to makeup artist and colour cosmetics professionals advising on the right look for the right occasion.