July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Regional Differences in the Effects of Makeup on Attractiveness
Author Affiliations
  • Amanda C. Killian
    California State University, Fullerton
  • Jessie J. Peissig
    California State University, Fullerton
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 852. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.852
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      Amanda C. Killian, Jessie J. Peissig; Regional Differences in the Effects of Makeup on Attractiveness. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):852. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.852.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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We attribute positive and negative qualities to those who we perceive as either attractive or unattractive (Symons, 1979), and for many women attractiveness is enhanced with makeup and is commonly applied to the eye and mouth regions of the face. In past studies, increased luminance contrast in these regions has been found to increase attractiveness for females (Russell, 2009), supporting the idea that makeup increases attractiveness due its ability to increase the contrast differences between the eyes and lips and the rest of the face. However, prior research has not explored whether any increase in contrast in these regions will increase attractiveness, or if the effects are localized to specific sub-areas. In this study we examined additional regions of increasing luminance contrast in female faces using the application of cosmetics. Specifically, we compared increased contrast in the mouth region, above the eye region, and below the eye region to see if the effect differed depending on where the makeup was placed. Thirty participants judged the attractiveness of a large set of faces in which makeup was added to the upper eye region, directly under the eyes, and the lips. The data showed that makeup application does affect female attractiveness ratings perceived by others. Interestingly, the placement of the increased contrast was critical. In all conditions in which makeup was applied under the eyes, attractiveness ratings were significantly lower than for faces with no makeup. Similarly, makeup placement to just the lips led to significantly lower attractiveness ratings. In contrast, if makeup was applied on the upper eye region attractiveness ratings were significantly higher. These results suggest that general increased contrast in the eye or mouth region in females does not enhance attractiveness. Rather, the regional placement of the contrast increase may lead to either increases or decreases in perceived attractiveness.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013


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