Social Question

AshLeigh's avatar

Why do people think makeup makes you pretty?

Asked by AshLeigh (14822 points ) April 10th, 2012

I hear girls say it all the time. “I’m not pretty without makeup.”
But from what I’ve seen, pretty girls are pretty with and without makeup. And vise-versa.
An ugly person without makeup is an ugly person. An ugly person with makeup is an ugly person with pink on their face.
I don’t understand. :)

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53 Answers

cookieman's avatar

My wife only puts on makeup for weddings or anniversaries and such. Maybe three times a year.

She doesn’t need it IMHO as she has flawless skin and beautiful eyes (and a hell of a cute nose). So, I don’t buy into your premise.

JLeslie's avatar

Make-up adds color to your face, covers imperfections, and can add shading to enhance or hide features. Ugly people with make up can look prettier, more put together with make-up, hair, and clothing. Beautiful people are beautiful no matter what usually. Young people can look too old or too made up with make-up on.

Make-up is supposed to mimic youth, redder lips, smoother skin, longer lashes, etc.

I am one of those people who without make-up people ask me if I am sick or if something is wrong. I think I am average beauty.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think a little makeup properly applied enhances the look of the skin and eyes. Not everyone has a flawless skin tone or healthy glow. But I’m most curious about the zombies in the tags. How would you use makeup on a zombie?

AshLeigh's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe because Zombies fall into the category of ugly people. Good luck ENHANCING their beauty.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@AshLeigh Hey a new reality show. Queer Eye for the Zombie.

AshLeigh's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe you gonna be the host?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I think makeup “enhances” the beauty of women sometimes, but it all depends on the application. If you use minimal makeup, with sheer powder, eyeliner, mascara, a touch of blush and a lip stain, it looks quite nice. If you put on pancake foundation, 5 coats of mascara, clown blush, super thick lipstick and so on, you look like a cheap hooker. :D

I would so watch Queer Eye for the Straight Zombie!

JLeslie's avatar

I think Sarah Jessica Parker can be an example of a fairly ugly women who with makeup looks pretty. She packages herself well, she has a great body, nice full hair, dresses well, and then her make-up finishes the story and makes her look glamorous. Imagine her face if she weighed 100 pounds more with no make-up and her hair very short or very stringy. Not looking so good.

tom_g's avatar

It doesn’t. I admit that I am not the norm, but I am completely serious when I say that any woman that wears makeup that I have found attractive is attractive despite the makeup. I know I’ve ranted about this before. Listen – women should wear whatever they want to wear and put makeup on if they want. I just don’t like hearing that makeup is what “guys want”. From what I see, it’s more to impress other women or something. And are there guys that are attracted to women who wear makeup? Sure, but they’re probably assholes. There are plenty of men who are actually attracted to women who look like women.

JLeslie's avatar

@tom_g That’s a pretty rough generalization there, they are probably assholes. i’m sure you don’t mean all men that like women who wear makeup, I am not accusing you of that, but still.

Some of it is cultural. Latin American women I know are almost always all made up. The men from that culture are accustomed to that.

Also, so many men have no earthly clue why they find certain women attractive in my opinion. I know men that are completely duped by make-up, fake hair, great bra and Spanx. I am not talking about a tarted up woman, I mean women can pull it together, and most men really have no idea of real beauty.

There are also many men who prefer women with no make-up. They love a more carefree look, and find make-up to age a woman and cover her up.

There are all kinds.

Dutchess_III's avatar

This brings Samatha Brick to mind.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Why? Do you think she is ugly?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, she thinks she is beautiful (if she didn’t make all of that up) but any prettiness she has is enhanced by make up. Truly beautiful women are beautiful without make up, and I have a feeling Samantha Brick would be somewhat less than ordinarily pretty without makeup.

lonelydragon's avatar

Although makeup can’t create something that’s not there, it can enhance a woman’s natural beauty. It is good for covering minor skin blemishes and evening out the wearer’s skin tone. With that said, I believe that minimal, natural-looking makeup is best.

fundevogel's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe “How would you use makeup on a zombie?”

it’s completely necessary if you and your zombie are hosting a dinner party.

Trillian's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe With a long handled brush?

nikipedia's avatar

Well, I am going to reiterate something I brought up on today’s earlier thread about makeup, but I will say it more directly.

I think men often have no idea what attracts them to women. If a man can identify that a woman is wearing makeup, it is probably very heavy and exaggerated. I am very confident that if you showed most heterosexual men 1 picture of a woman without makeup, and 1 picture of the same woman with some makeup, more often than not he will prefer the one with makeup.

But who cares about my opinion. Here are some research studies that say the same thing: 1, 2, 3.

And @JLeslie, you are definitely more attractive than average!!

JLeslie's avatar

@nikipedia I don’t know what other Q you said that on, but that is basically what I said above also, I am glad to know other women find it to be so. I accuse my husband of that, telling him he doesn’t know real beauty, and he says, “I don’t care, she looks good.” Ha.

jonsblond's avatar

Some of you aren’t giving men enough credit. If I was a man I’d be slightly offended by some of these comments.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Oh com on give me a break. I can tell the difference between tasteful and Tammy Faye in a heartbeat. Don’t paint all of the men with one brush.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@jonsblond How about very offended.

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe We are not talking about Tammy Faye. And, we are not talking about all men,

jonsblond's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Yeah. I very rarely wear make-up. If I go out on a rare special occasion I will put on mascara and lipgloss and my husband always asks me why I put the mascara on. He notices just the little mascara I put on. He says I don’t need it.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond It’s not like we are saying all women should wear makeup. And, you are naturally pretty.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JLeslie I used that as an extreme to make my point.

jonsblond's avatar

@JLeslie Thank you for the compliment. I was objecting to the comments made about men not noticing and not knowing what real beauty is.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The real beauty always comes from within. Confidence and attitude and a healthy attitude make someone attractive.

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe What point? That men know Tammy Faye has a ton of makeup on? It isn’t like women think they are fooling anyone with their lipsticked lips. We know everyone else knows that is not our lip color.

Although funny, my sister was looking at photos of us when we were little and she asked why mommy put lipstick on us. That was our natural lipcolor. When I was younger I could not wear light colored lipglosses and lipsticks unless I put foundation on my lips, because my red lips showed through.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond Right, I think a lot of men are clueless. Obviously your husband isn’t.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JLeslie My point was men can tell when a woman puts on makeup with a trowel and when they use a subtle touch. Maybe I should say some men.

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Ok, I agree with that. They can tell a woman has make-up on, but I think a lot of them don’t get what makes a woman attractive. It’s like they know the make-up is there, but they don’t realize what the make-up does. I can’t explain it. Plus, most men choose body over face when given a choice. Like I said way far above, it’s the perception of the whole package, the woman in her entirety. I think women dwell more on bone structure and how beautiful someone is man or woman.

JLeslie's avatar

@nikipedia Interesting on your second link lipstick seemed the least significant. I know many women if only picking one cosmetic pick lipstick.

AshLeigh's avatar

Hah. This question isn’t even about what men find attractive.
I’ve never met a guy who thought I looked better with it on. I’m not even saying people shouldn’t wear makeup. I just don’t see why some people are so obsessed, and won’t go in public without it. An ugly person without makeup is an ugly person. An ugly person with makeup is an ugly person with pink on their face.
My current boyfriend notices every time I wear it, and he doesn’t seem to like it very much.
Guys like attractive girls, if they’re wearing makeup or not. I doubt they could care less if she wears makeup or not. Pretty is pretty.

Ponderer983's avatar

I don’t think it makes me pretty; I think it enhances my pretty :) I am fair skinned and every imperfection and blemish shows, so a light sweep of a powder foundation evens that out. Then I define my eyes with some liner and mascara, and I’m out the door. Rarely do I wear lipstick or gloss (only when I am more dressed up), just chapstick.

The “I’m not pretty without make-up” comes from insecure girls (as you called them). They think they are ugly so they put on a mask (literally a lot of the time).

Bellatrix's avatar

Make-up can enhance a woman’s looks. Give their eyes, cheeks, lips a bit more definition. Even out the tone of their skin and cover imperfections. Like many things though, less is more. I usually wear subtle make-up to work and to go out but if I am going to the shops or even the cinema and just about I am equally happy to leave it off.

downtide's avatar

Actually make-up CAN make a woman more beautiful, by hiding blemishes, emphasising the eyes and evening out areas of asymmetry. The best kind of makeup is the sort that looks like she’s not wearing any, even when she is.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t like makeup on myself so I never wear it. I want to be able to rub my eye if it itches. You can’t do that with mascara. My skin is old now and I have a lot of freckles, I don’t feel a need to cover them or try to even them out. I don’t understand why women choose to wear makeup but hey if you want to, then by all means.

I see naturally pretty girls and prefer that wholesome look to the mascaraed, blushed and glossed look.

ucme's avatar

Of course for some, it’s like polishing a turd.

JLeslie's avatar

@AshLeigh You are young. You likely do look better without make-up.

jca's avatar

I think many men, not all but many, will not realize a woman is wearing makeup if she has it on subtly. Most people know Tammy Faye overdid it, but the average woman on the street, with just a little eyeshadow and mascara, and maybe some eyeliner, over some foundation or powder won’t realize what they’re seeing.

I have a sister who’s a lot younger than I am, a beautiful girl in her 20’s. Even she with her “all American good looks” looks better with a little mascara on, in my opinion.

For me, makeup enhances my eyes. Without it, I think I look very pale. I don’t usually wear lipstick but when I do, people compliment me and tell me it brightens up my face. Dermatologists have told me that it’s recommended people wear lipstick with sunscreen in it.

A long time ago, I asked my dermatologist how I can reduce the signs of aging and he told me to wear sunscreen every day. Not sunscreen that you’d wear at the beach, but one made for the face, like Almay or Olay – 15 SPF, goes on lightly, like a moisturizer, all over the face. You don’t feel it, you don’t see it.

Pisces's avatar

@nikipedia wrote: ”Here are some research studies that say the same thing: 1, 2, 3.
As far as I can see, all of these studies involve judging the subjects from photographs only. All women wearing professional makeup look good in photographs. Otherwise, the role of the makeup artist would not exist in the movie and television industries.
If I met these same women in the flesh, I would prefer them without makeup.
But that’s just me…

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I like wearing mascara because without it my eyelashes just disappear.

Bellatrix's avatar

I support @nikipedia‘s argument. I am not working in my office but I have been trying to identify which women wear make-up in my building and which do not. I cannot specifically say. My point is none of the many women I work with wear heavy make-up. I find it hard to believe none of them wear make-up but if they do, they are using it subtly. I am sure if I stood in front of each of them I could pick who is wearing mascara or a bit of lippy, but women who slather it on with a trowel are not the norm. Therefore, to say I prefer women with or without make-up makes little sense to me.

Personally I also don’t care whether a man wants me to wear make-up or not. My face, my choice. I think @AshLeigh, women who feel they cannot leave the house without make-up have insecurity problems and the compulsion to wear make-up is a symptom of that insecurity about their looks.

jca's avatar

Something interesting – the area I grew up in, right outside of NYC, most women wore makeup. My mom worked in the city and she wore makeup every day. Not a lot, but makeup to look professional, what’s the word I’m looking for? Polished? Anyway, in NYC and nearby, everyone wears makeup (or most people do, at least). When I got a job about 2 hours north of NYC, most people at that job did not wear makeup. In NYC they would have called it the “country look.” I and one other person were the only people in about 30 who wore makeup every day. Just a comment.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Funny because my sister who lives in NY wojld be quick to comment on those who wear a lot of make-up who live in the suburbs. I think of NYC as not wearing a lot of make-up.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why is it not OK in our society for men to wear make up to enhance certain features, and disguise blemishes? Is it the nature of our species for the woman to be more “colorful?”

Bellatrix's avatar

Men do wear cosmetics. Especially young men. Many more musicians and actors are wearing make up and the rest follow.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Not around these parts they don’t! Farm boys would string ‘em up!

emeraldisles's avatar

If makeup is done nicely, it will help to enhance the beauty that is already there. It will help to accentuate your features. Women just feel more confident with it. For instance, if they didn’t get much sleep the night beforte concealer helps.

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Ponderer983's avatar

Added note – I was at work the other day and a solicitor came in trying to sell cosmetics. I joked to the man in front of a co-worker that I was naturally this beautiful. After leaving, my co-worker asked if I really didn’t wear make-up. I kinda laughed and said “Really?” She was serious in that she couldn’t really tell I wore make-up (It’s mostly foundation and eye make-up for me). That made me feel as though my mission was accomplished! I wear just enough to define my features, by not enough that it looks unnatural! Woot Woot!

cutiepi92's avatar

If makeup is done correctly I think it can make you look better. I don’t think it can perform miracles really, but I do think that it can make a difference. Making this personal, the skin around my eyes is naturally dark and I have sparse eyebrows so I wear concealer and fill in my brows daily. I also have plenty of dark spots from old acne and I cover those as well. It really helps to brighten up my face. Many celebrities look vastly different without makeup. I was very disappointed when I saw Sofia Vergara without makeup since I always thought she was gorgeous: http://www.telegraphbuzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/0210-welcome-vergara-launch-credit.jpg

So I suppose it just has to be done right. However, I do believe that a truly beautiful female is beautiful without makeup and with it. I don’t feel that I’m hideous without it, I just think I’m better with it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Once, when I was in my very early 20’s I went to work with no make up on. A couple of people asked if I was feeling OK. Sheesh.

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