NCBI ROFL: Gee, I wonder why guys don't like lipstick?

By ncbi rofl | April 15, 2010 7:00 pm


Do cosmetics enhance female Caucasian facial attractiveness?

“This study sought to investigate whether cosmetics do improve female facial attractiveness, and to determine whether the contribution of different cosmetic products are separable, or whether they function synergistically to enhance female beauty. Ten volunteers were made up by a beautician under five cosmetics conditions: (i) no make-up; (ii) foundation only; (iii) eye make-up only; (iv) lip make-up only; and (v) full facial make-up. Male and female participants were asked to view the 10 sets of five photographs, and rank each set from most attractive to least attractive. As predicted, faces with full make-up were judged more attractive than the same faces with no make-up. Sex differences within the results were also apparent. Women judged eye make-up as contributing most to the attractiveness. Men rated eye make-up and foundation as having a significant impact on the attractiveness of a full facial makeover. Surprisingly, lipstick did not appear to contribute to attractiveness independently.”


Image: flickr/cliff1066™

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  • ChH

    Caucasians are people from the region around Azerbaijan, Armenia & Georgia. The application of that term to Europeans started over 200 years ago from Johann Friedrich Blumenbach’s use of the since-discredited field of craniology.
    The lady in the picture is more accurately described as “European” or “white”.

  • Razib Khan

    i’m within you ChH. perhaps when we see the world “caucasian” used as if it’s some sophisticated term we should shoot back with “negroid,” “mongoloid” or “malay”?

  • Elissa

    The problem here is that all terms will be troublesome because the concept is troublesome. It’s a combination of historical conventions, social construction, and some phenotypical features, maybe among other things. Therefore it’s unlikely that we could find terms that adequately represent the complexity of the race concept. I think the best we can do is to be respectful of one another and allow groups to name themselves (rather than be named by more powerful groups) as much as possible.

  • J. Major

    I’m wondering why they only picked A. ten volunteers, and B. Caucasian/European/White women. Seems like kind of a narrowly-focused test for something as wide-ranging as attractiveness.

  • Jana Kamal

    Why did the only pick white people? Well, let’s think about it for a moment…maybe it’s for the simple fact that ‘make-up’ was a key factor in this test and women with white skin are so PALE that it provides to be a good ‘canvas’ for make-up. Women who are black [brown] and women who have the medium colored skin tone [like women from Indian] have darker skin and make-up would not show up as well on their skin tone. If anything, women with those natural skin tones generally do not need make-up. White women, on the other hand, [some] are so pale that their natural skin tone looks uneven on their face [like myself] – providing a good test subject for this experiment.

  • Anne Smith

    That’s not surprising as eyes are known to be one of the biggest factors in judging attractiveness. I’d be interested to see how much and what type of make up was applied on the full makeover though, as I know some guys are less attracted to overpowering makeup.


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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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