I don’t like wearing make-up. But I wear it anyway.
On the weekends, or on holidays, I take it or leave it. Even going to work, I fail to see the importance of contoured cheekbones and flawless foundation. (My computer screen, which is the only thing staring at me all day, isn’t going to be more co-operative if my eye-liner and lipstick are on point.)
Still, I wear it anyway. Like women all across the world, when I leave home to go to work, I have (almost without thinking about it) applied moisturiser, foundation, blush, mascara, lipstick, etc.
Why? Not because of the absolute conspiracy that is office lighting, which renders any skin tone pale and lifeless. But because my future earnings depend on it (a conspiracy is still likely involved, read on – you’ll see how).
New research, out of the University of Chicago and the University of California, has made the link between income level and grooming habits such as wearing make-up, styling hair and choice of clothing.
It’s the first study to show that the “beauty premium can be actively cultivated”, and it examined nation-wide data of more than 14,000 participants.
The “beauty premium” refers to the way physical attractiveness can increase income; a phenomena that has been shown in research time and time again. This study confirms the existence of the beauty premium, but says grooming also plays a part. In fact, salary differences between women of varying levels of attractiveness can be put down (almost always) to grooming habits.
“We find that attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness, but this gap is reduced when controlling for grooming, suggesting that the beauty premium can be actively cultivated,” the report states.
While men’s grooming was not as important as women’s grooming, the attractiveness effect was the same for both groups. It seems the corporate world is a sucker for good-lookers, no matter their gender.
“While both conventional wisdom and previous research suggest the importance of attractiveness might vary by gender, we find no gender differences in the attractiveness gradient,” the report states.
“For women, most of the attractiveness advantage comes from being well groomed. For men, only about half of the effect of attractiveness is due to grooming,” author Jacyln Wong told the Washington Post.
Weather proof your make-up. Post continues below video.
The study highlights the difference between inherent attractiveness and good grooming, and shows there are ways women can ‘improve’ their standing at work using make-up, hair styling and clothing. This, however, raises the question – what sort of workplace ‘rewards’ women for wearing make-up, and do you really want to be a part of it anyway?