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Wearing Lippy and blush isn't only about looking Drop Dead sexy

PUTTING on some lippy and mascara doesn't just help you look more attractive -- it also makes other people think you are more trustworthy and competent, according to a new survey. Researchers at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital took photos of white, Latina, and black women, aged 20 to 50, without make-up. They photographed the same women in three make-up styles -- natural, professional, and glamorous. then they showed the photos to several groups of people -- more than 250 participants in total -- and asked them to rate the women's attractiveness, likability, competence and trustworthiness.

They found that the make-up photos made a much bigger impression than their naked-faced competitors in all categories. The women's faces with make-up, no matter what the style, were seen as more attractive and more likeable competent, and trustworthy than faces without any foundation or blusher.

On this evidence, women applying for a job, or posting a photo on an online dating site, or working in sales, would fare much better if they made sure to have a flattering shade of lipstick and blusher at hand.

The one exception in the study was the glamorous look. When people were requested to look at heavily made-up women for an unlimited amount of time, they rated them as less honest than their make-up-free counterparts -- yet still more competent.

Perhaps the time taken to apply lots of eyeliner and eyeshadow and false tan gives the impression of being organised, as opposed to not taking the time to groom at all.

Detractors point out that the survey was sponsored by Procter & Gamble, which produces a number of beauty and grooming products, such as Olay beauty products and Pantene haircare products. Its pro-make-up message has been challenged following the report being recently published by Plosone.org.


Yet Dr Sarah Vickery, head of research and development, P&G Beauty & Grooming, says: "This study examined the impact of relevant make-up looks that women in the western world commonly wear, showing that make-up is a real-life tool to effectively control the way they want to be -- and are -- perceived.

"Makers of colour cosmetics and other beauty products can take these findings into consideration to further develop science-based solutions that empower women to display different aspects of their personalities and to really take charge of the way others see them."

>Suzy Belton