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Study confirms that men like you with less makeup

They say you should never ask a woman wearing a cat eye why she’s late, but what if the better question is, “why are you wasting your time”?

Photo credit: PhotoAlto/Eric Audras/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

According to some news from good ‘ol science, both women and men prefer minimal makeup on women.

Just recently, the kind people over at The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology rounded up some male and female participants and showed them photos of women in varying amounts of makeup, asking them to rate which look they found most attractive. Results showed that both sexes overwhelmingly preferred women wearing 30 to 40 percent less makeup than they originally wore in the first photo.


On one hand this is great news. A more natural look is easier. It takes less time and less money. On the other hand, we will probably be hard-pressed to heed this advice. Why, you ask? Because we are historically incorrect about what we perceive to be attractive to the opposite sex. Turns out, a big finding in the study was that not only did women think that men preferred more makeup, men thought they themselves preferred that too. We were all wrong.

A few years ago when I was about to go on a first official date with a guy I was really into, I naturally got two of my best friends on Skype as I was getting ready and tried on a few different outfit choices so they could vote. They unanimously chose the outfit I least expected, but that they said was the most “feminine” choice, the one they thought would be the most appealing to my date.

I’ll admit: Most of the time, I don’t really dress with men in mind. I’m really just dressing for other women. It’s what we do, isn’t it? The trends and fads and that crazy lipstick? They are mostly for your adoring female friends. When I stop and think about what would probably appeal to men, I realize it’s probably not that giant drape-y blouse, and it just might not have anything to do with the ridiculous nail art I just did.

But, like The Man Repeller says, it doesn’t really matter what others find attractive. It’s a much more happy pursuit to wear what feels and looks good to you, because that leads to confidence and what, pray tell, is more attractive than that?

Here’s what you should take from all of this

Relief in the fact that you can wear a lighter makeup load if you want to and be just as alluring to others. Comfort that looking natural is valued even a midst the wild pursuit of “flawless” in the media.

But mostly, like anything in life, remember that you get to be the boss on what you do with your face and your wardrobe. Yours is the most important vote because frankly, we will probably always get it a little wrong and dwelling on your perceived attractiveness feels like an awful waste of time.

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