The global estimate of money spent on makeup in 2015, according to the NDP group, was around $41.4 billion. A number of studies have already established the connection between wearing makeup and increased self-esteem. This psychological boost, popularly known as the “lipstick effect” is apparently not the only positive of wearing cosmetics. A new study by researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of Chieti shows that makeup can also improve cognitive performance, along with confidence.
What does the study say?
Earlier research has already shown that a high level of self-esteem boosts academic performance. So, the Harvard team conducted a test to assess if makeup could affect performance as well by improving confidence and making women feel smarter. The researchers chose 186 female undergraduate students for the test and divided them into groups. Each group was assigned a particular “mood-influencing” task–coloring or sketching a human face, listening to a positive music excerpt or applying makeup on themselves. After the task, they were asked to take a number of tests that included multiple choice questions about a chapter from a textbook on general psychology.
There was a definite rise in cognitive output from the group that was exposed to positive music. But, as expected, the group which was asked to wear makeup scored significantly higher marks than the students in the rest of the groups. According to the researchers, those who applied makeup before the tests experienced the greatest boost in self-confidence and positivity and could fare better.
The research paper, which was published in Cogent Psychology, also states that further study is required to find out if cosmetics can1 have long-term effects on our cognitive performance.
Other positive findings related to makeup
Putting on makeup isn’t just a mechanical process. A lot of women love experimenting with their appearance and looks with different products, colors, and palettes. As some experts also assert, it is a way of expressing the personality of the wearer, her moods, and style. So, women who find make up a creative outlet often turn out to be more confident and self-assured without it as well. A study published in the journal PLOS ONE also argues that wearing cosmetics can make others perceive you as more competent. The researchers showed four versions of the same person’s face to the participants. One look was sans makeup, while the other three had increasing degrees of cosmetics application. They were then asked to grade the four looks according to attractiveness, competence, and trustworthiness. The results showed that all three looks with makeup were rated positively.
Tips to safely apply cosmetics
The above-mentioned facts are definitely heartening for makeup users, old and new. But since our face is more sensitive than most other body parts, we need to be careful about what products we use on it and how. Here are some tips to safely use cosmetics and protect your skin.
- Make sure your hands are washed and clean before putting on makeup. They are often a primary cause of bacteria and germs transfer to your skin and eyes as well as to your beauty products.
- Don’t use water or saliva to dilute old cosmetics. They can cause infections, especially in the case of eye makeup.
- Use fresh makeup every six months. Buy your products in sizes that will not last longer than that time.
- Never use any sharp or pointed objects near your eyes to separate your lashes.
- Try not to share your makeup with anybody else and vice versa.
- Store your makeup in a cool and dry place and make sure you close all containers properly. This prevents contamination and premature drying of cosmetics.
- Regularly clean your brushes, applicators and makeup sponges. Unhygienic and dirty product applicators can be the bane for your skin.
Makeup can aid you in enhancing your beauty or highlighting your features. But they should never become a crutch. You must never be wholly dependent on it, or be unable to go without it for a day or two. Only if you are comfortable in your own skin can makeup help you to boost your appearance, cognition, and confidence? They are no magic sticks or potions, but they will surely make you look, feel, and respond better.