Women wearing heavy makeup are less likely to be thought of as good leaders, a study has found.
The research, published in the journal Perception, revealed that the amount of makeup a woman is wearing can have a negative impact on perceptions of her leadership ability.
“This study follows previous work in this area, which suggests that wearing makeup enhances how dominant a woman looks,” said Christopher Watkins from Abertay University in the UK.
“While the previous findings suggest that we are inclined to show some deference to a woman with a good looking face, our new research suggests that makeup does not enhance a woman’s dominance by benefitting how we evaluate her in a leadership role,” Watkins said.
Participants were asked to view a series of images featuring the same woman without cosmetics and with makeup applied for a “social night out”.
Computer software was used to manipulate the faces and the amount of makeup was also manipulated in the face images.
Each participant completed a face perception task where they judged sixteen face-pairs, indicating how much better a leader they felt their chosen face to be compared to the other face.
It was found that both men and women evaluated women more negatively as a leader if the image suggested she was wearing a lot of makeup.