Women Who Wear Makeup To Work Get Paid More, A New Study Shows

Deadline? Met. Presentation? Ready. Mascara?... Wait, what?

Your promotion-worthy accomplishments are best summed up by the bullet points on your resume. Not the number of makeup products on your face. But a new study conducted by sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner showed that women who wear makeup to work are paid a higher salary than those who don't. 

While the study's overall findings that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness" can be partially attributed to the Halo Effect, the wage gap appeared to decrease when "grooming" was taken into account. According to the researchers, this suggests "the beauty premium can be actively cultivated." 

But though grooming accounted for the entire "attractiveness premium" for women, it only accounted for half of the premium for men. 


Basically, the study suggests, the foundation of a woman's career can rest on whether or not she wears foundation.

But before you spend your entire salary at Sephora in hopes of receiving a higher one, you should know a 2011 study from Elon University found that spending "too much" time getting ready for work can have negative effects on a female employee's salary, too. 

If a white woman doubled her grooming time from 45 to 90 minutes, her wages dropped an average of 3.4 percent, the study found. The researchers linked this decrease in earnings to possible "negative stereotypes associated with an 'overly groomed' woman in the workplace." 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those negative stereotypes don't exist for men.

The study found that grooming time did not affect white men's earnings and actually increased minority men's wages by four percent when they doubled their grooming time.

But here's the kicker: No matter how much or how little a woman grooms, many already invest more time in their physical appearance than men do. According to a YouGov nationally representative survey, 38 percent of women take over 30 minutes to get ready versus 21 percent of men. That adds up to 7.6 days spent doing nothing but "grooming" over a one-year period. 

YouGov attributed this time difference to — what else? — makeup. According to its survey, 16 percent of women wear makeup every day, and 32 percent wear it most days. 

Once again, women aren't just judged by their physical appearances but are forced into yet another "damned if she does, damned if she doesn't" situation.

Maybe it's Maybelline... or maybe it's the patriarchy.

Cover image via Shutterstock.


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