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Are Women Who Wear Makeup Two-Faced?

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Cosmetics related image Photo: Getty Images

Many women won’t go anywhere without first putting on their “face.” Surely I’m not referring to their mouth, nose or eyes, I’m referring to a woman’s face after it has been enhanced by cosmetics.

Makeup is a source of confidence for many women. It’s used either to hide imperfections or to accentuate certain features but a recent study found that women who wore more makeup were deemed less trustworthy.

In the study, which was led by Nancy Etcoff, participants were presented with photos of models with four different looks ranging from no makeup to a glamorous application of it. Though the makeup looks initially produced positive effects on attractiveness, competence, likeability and trustworthiness, when participants were given more time to look at the photos they judged the women to be less likeable and less trustworthy.

What is it about women who wear makeup that gives people negative impressions about them? Do people think they have something to hide, they’re certainly not hiding weapons behind makeup, that I can assure you.

For many women, facing the world with bare faces places them outside of their comfort zones and why should they have to suffer through that?

Not all women opt for makeup as a style choice, however, some use it to cover facial skin diseases or acne scars. In a study conducted by the Dermatology Online Journal, women with facial skin diseases found that the use of decorative skin cosmetics significantly improved their quality of life.

Facial skin disease or not, shouldn’t we all be allowed to improve our quality of life especially if it can be done by something as simple as makeup?

Most people would probably not feel very comfortable, let alone confident, going out in public naked. Well, many women feel naked without their makeup on.

A survey conducted by Superdrug, Britain's second-largest beauty and health retailer, revealed that more than 77 percent of women said wearing makeup gave them a confidence boost and 47 percent admitted that their makeup acted as body armor.

Makeup merely enhances a woman’s looks, it doesn’t completely transform them. Before you think of judging a woman for wearing “too much” realize that you don’t know her reasons and even if you did, it wouldn’t matter. It is her choice, her right and her privilege.


Superdrug. Superdrug.com. Web. October 19, 2011.

Plos One. Plosone.org. Web. October 19, 2011.

Dermatology Online Journal. Dermatology.cdlib.org. Web. October 19, 2011.

Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment4 Comments

Apologies... Forgot to log in first before posting my comment above! :)

November 15, 2011 - 8:37am
EmpowHER Guest

Some great points by Susan and Rachal both! An interesting observation is in how one is often perceived by the same people when we present "made up" and when we choose to wear little or none. Interestingly, there have been comments wondering if I was feeling alright or if there was some other malady being suffered when not wearing makeup. It's interesting how we are perceived by others just as much as in how we perceive our own sense of self. Others who may generally only see us made up a certain way become concerned when we change our routine. I can't say the number of times people have wondered if something was wrong with me when I changed a routine or skipped a step that I usually do. Makeup may not only be a personal aspect of our lives but it can often become part of an expectation by others as to our own identity. In reading this thread, it was a thought and a reflection from some interesting moments and comments recalled my own life and that of my spouses!

November 15, 2011 - 8:34am

I appreciate you sharing this with us. I was intrigued by some of the compelling content you had wrote because I agree how makeup enhances how I look. I enjoy my mascara because it allows my eyes to pop more than they would without it. I have gotten used to wearing at least mascara and some powder for an "even skin tone" look. Does this make me uncomfortable without make up on? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, but I appreciate how you said it a woman's choice to wear makeup. It's my choice to wear a little makeup before going to the grocery store and it's my choice to leave it off when I go to the gym.

November 14, 2011 - 9:23pm

Makeup... a subject and topic near and dear to me. From a personal perspective, I find that makeup can be a tool to enhance what features we already possess... to emphasize those we wish to while allowing us or hide those we would like to. It is true perhaps, that for some, makeup is a mask to hide behind, but... and I believe this to be more-so true, that makeup is a medium to allow one to express themselves as well. The face is a canvas upon which a myriad of looks can be created to suggest our mood and emotion and perhaps just a bit of our inner self.

In my own case, I would admit that my own personal creations with makeup take on a higher level of expression than for many or even most, but still it is an expression of who I am. Done well, makeup can reveal a shimmering glimpse into the inner soul of a person. I shan't say more but for the fact that in my own case, one need only read my profile to engage into that realm further.

October 20, 2011 - 10:33am
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