For those of us that wear makeup consistently, it can often be difficult to go without it. Many of us started to wear makeup in middle or high school and it has become a part of our daily routines. We get up in the morning, put on clothes and do our makeup. Often times, we don’t even realize how much it affects us until we are in a position to be without it. Imagine it’s Sunday morning, and you’re going to Findlay Commons for breakfast. You aren’t wearing any makeup. You feel different, don’t you? Maybe you make less eye contact when interacting with people? Chances are, you feel less confident because you aren’t wearing any makeup.
I decided to some research on this topic. Throughout my research, a common theme I kept finding was the societal expectations influence girls and women into feeling like they have to wear makeup. There are pressures to look certain ways in various situations, and women often vary their beauty routine to match the situations they will be in during each specific day.I also found that many women associate their physical appearance with their over all confidence and self esteem. When wearing makeup, women are able to cover up imperfections and highlight certain points in their face, which makes them feel more confident.
In this study, four caucasian, college age women were asked to change up their makeup when going to class and going out with friends. At the beginning of the experiment, the women were told to wear the makeup they would normally wear both to school and when going out with friends. Then, they had to swap the makeup looks. They had to wear the makeup they would wear to go out to a party to class, and the makeup they would wear to class to a party. The participants had to fill out a “before” survey, and an “after” survey in order to document their feelings. The women used their own makeup products and journaled how they felt when wearing the products during certain situations. The participants were also being measured on their anxiety levels during the situations, so they had to fill out Spielberger’s state-trait anxiety survey to record their anxiety. Through journaling, the women had to express exactly which products she used in each situation and how she felt about using them.
The results to this experiment were quite interesting. It turns out that the women felt more anxious when wearing “class” makeup period. They felt more confident when they wore going out makeup both to class and to a party. The author of the article seems to think that reason that the women felt the most confident when wearing going out makeup to a party is because they were distracted and not thinking about their appearance. It is also said that the women felt second most confident when wearing going out makeup to class because they had time to plan their makeup, yet they also had the time to sit in class and think about their appearance. It is also important to note that the participants were hyper focused on their appearance during this experiment, which could have thrown off the natural anxiety levels a bit.
I also found this interesting video which shows a girl who went from wearing makeup every day to not wearing it at all. At first, she was extremely self conscious, but eventually she found confidence in a bare face.
While I was unable to find research with a definitive answer about how exactly makeup affects confidence, it is easy to conclude that people who routinely wear it are often less confident without it. I can only conclude that this topic is all relative.
This image shows what a woman looks like before putting on makeup and after putting on makeup. It is probably easy to understand from this image why some women are more confident after covering imperfections.
Scott, Sarah. “Influence of Cosmetics on Confidence.” Running Head: COSMETICS, SELF-ESTEEM, AND COLLEGE WOMEN (n.d.): n. pag.Psych.hanover.edu. Web.