Women who go make-up free more likely to be considered good leaders, study suggests

Ellen Manning

Women who go easy on the make-up when it comes to a night out are more likely to be considered good leaders, according to new research.

A study by Abertay University found that women who reach for the mascara and lipstick are more likely to be overlooked as leaders than if they go make-up free.

Participants in the study were shown 16 pairs of images showing a woman made up for a social night-out as well as make-up free, and asked to choose the better leader.

<em>Make-up – according to the research, reaching for the lippy could make people consider you less likely to be a leader (Picture: PA)</em>
Make-up – according to the research, reaching for the lippy could make people consider you less likely to be a leader (Picture: PA)

Computer software was used to manipulate the faces and the amount of make-up shown.

Both male and female participants evaluated women more negatively as a leader if the image suggested she was wearing a lot of make-up, compared to images of the woman make-up free.

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Christopher Watkins, from the university’s division of psychology, said: “This research follows previous work in this area which suggests that wearing make-up enhances how dominant a woman looks.

“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 make-up does not enhance a woman’s dominance by benefiting how we evaluate her in a leadership role.”

<em>Computer manipulation – both male and female participants were shown pictures of women with make-up and make-up free (Picture: PA)</em>
Computer manipulation – both male and female participants were shown pictures of women with make-up and make-up free (Picture: PA)

The study was published in the Perception journal.

(Top picture: Getty)