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Erick R. Aguinaldo, Jessie J. Peissig; More Makeup, More Attractiveness? Self-applied Heavy Cosmetics Yield Higher Attractiveness Ratings than Light Cosmetics. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):227c. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.227c.
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Research over the past few decades has confirmed the role of cosmetics in increasing ratings of facial attractiveness (Cash, Dawson, Davis, Bowen, & Galumbeck, 1989; Etcoff, Stock, Haley, Vickery, & House, 2011; Russell, 2003, 2009). However, many studies have varied makeup application through computer manipulation or professional makeup artists. These representations may not accurately reflect everyday makeup use. The current study varied makeup application in a more ecologically valid manner, wherein individuals photographed for facial stimuli applied their own makeup. In the current study, we collected three sets of facial stimuli from 35 individuals. Individuals were photographed with no makeup, as well as self-applied light and heavy makeup across two different sessions. To test for differences in perceived facial attractiveness across no, light, and heavy makeup conditions, a separate group of 24 participants were asked to rate the attractiveness of the faces using a Likert-like scale from 1 to 7, with 1 being very unattractive and 7 being very attractive. The study showed significant differences in attractiveness ratings between the light and heavy makeup conditions, such that faces with heavy makeup (M = 3.95, SD = 0.05) were, on average, rated as more attractive than faces with light makeup (M = 3.77, SD = 0.05), t(22) = 1.96, p < .001. These results differ from previous findings that faces with light makeup are rated as more attractive than faces with heavy makeup (Tagai, Ohtaka, & Nittono, 2016). Our study suggests that when cosmetics are self-applied, faces with heavy cosmetics may be perceived as more attractive than faces with light cosmetics.
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