Confirmed: Make-up makes women seem more competent

“We found that when faces were shown very quickly, all ratings went up with cosmetics in all different looks,” said Nancy Etcoff, lead author and associate researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital. “The women were judged as more competent, likable, attractive and trustworthy.”

But when subjects had the chance to examine photos for a longer period of time, the same perceptions didn’t carry over.

“When they got to the more dramatic makeup looks, people saw them as equally likable and much more attractive and competent, but less trustworthy,” Etcoff said. “Dramatic makeup was no longer an advantage compared to when people saw the photos very quickly.”