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It’s typical to hear a woman say she never leaves the house without makeup and a new study by Harris Interactive may explain why. About 44 percent of all women view themselves negatively when they have a bare face.

Specifically, about 16 percent of the respondents said they feel unattractive without makeup, 14 percent feel self-conscious, and another 14 percent feel like something is missing. Only a small percentage—3 percent—of the 1,292 women who were polled in the study  said they feel more attractive without any makeup at all.

“Wearing makeup to enhance one’s appearance is normal in our society and often a right of passage for young women,” said Adrienne Ressler, national training director for the Renfrew Center Foundation and a body image expert.”There is concern, however, when makeup no longer becomes a tool for enhancement but, rather, a security blanket that conceals negative feelings about one’s self-image and self-esteem.  For many individuals, these feelings may set the stage for addictions or patterns of disordered eating to develop.”

Not all makeup use was rooted in a need to cover oneself up though. About 48 percent of the respondents said they wear makeup because they liked how they look with it and 32 percent said wearing makeup makes them feel good. For another 11 percent, they wear makeup because it’s the norm: 51 percent started applying makeup when they were between 14 and 16 years old, and another 27 percent began between 11 and 13.

How do you feel when you don’t wear makeup? Do you prefer to be made up or wear a bare face?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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