Too Much Make-Up Can Deem You Less Trustworthy, Study Says

October 6, 2011  |  

By Brande Victorian

You can’t trust a big butt and a smile, or maybe just a smile with lips doused in bright red rouge. According to a new study, women who wear makeup are perceived as more attractive, competent, and trustworthy, but the more makeup women pile on, the less trustworthy they become.

Because the study was funded by Proctor and Gamble, the cosmetics giant behind cover girl, the results have to be taken somewhat with a grain of salt. Still, the findings fall in line with what’s always been known: the beautiful people “are expected to do better on the job, in school, and in life—and are treated that way,” according to the study authors.

Interestingly, when study participants were given just 250 milliseconds to look at several photos of women with no makeup, natural, professional, and glamorous looks, the positive ratings increased with the amount of beauty products used. But when the same participants were given time to study the images at greater length, things changed. Women with dramatic makeup were still perceived as equally likeable and much more attractive and competent, but less trustworthy, lead author Nancy Etcoff, Associate Researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, told ABC News.

I’ve always thought it was interesting when men say they hate when a woman who wears too much makeup, but don’t seem to mind an 18-inch weave, breast implants, or fake nails, but perhaps there’s something to it. I can’t say that I’ve noticed any particular change in people’s response to me when I wear makeup or not (although on a not day I may be told that I look tired). Still, I think the bigger point is looking put together and having the appropriate “face” for the occasion.

What has your experience been? Do people respond to you differently based on whether you wear makeup or not?

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  • Honi

    I love makeup!! I must say that I get more male attention when I wear less or none. When I go all out makeup queen, I don't get as much play, lol

  • ZaZa=Guest

    Make up helps. When I wear no make up people think I look sick…

  • fannie coriolan

    i agree with kayla, i’m in the millitary and i dont wear make up to work, although i work in a office. you would be surprise of how much attention eye liner could bring to someone. for the females who do weare make up to work it seems as thought they are trying to hard to be noticed physicaly when there’re more important things to focus on such as work.

  • Lynn Carey

    People treat me differently when I wear make-up and God forbid I wear make-up and colored contacts. I become more appealing when I take away my natural traits and replace them with man-made items. I can see how the more dramatic the look the less trust people see. The more you cover up who you are/what you really look like without make-up on people feel they can’t trust u because you are covering up who you are in their eyes.

  • Kayla

    I can understand that. People who cake on the makeup seem like they have something to hide. so they overcompensate on the face. Or might be very shallow, because they think it's the only way they are attractive, and can be insecure, about how they look natural, or with less makeup