]. Cosmet. Sci.! 59, 127-137 (March/April 2008) Why women use makeup: Implication of psychological traits in makeup functions RODOLPHE KORICHI, DELPHINE PELLE-DE-QUERAL, GERMAINE GAZANO, and ARNAUD AUBERT, LVMH Recherche, Parfums et Cosmetiques, Rue d'Enfer, 45800 Saint Jean de Braye, (R. K., D. P.-d.-Q., G. G.), and DESCO, Faculte des Sciences, 37200 Tours (A. A.), France. Accepted for publication September 27, 2007. Synopsis Makeup acts and stimulates three of our senses: touch (which encompasses all sensations from the body surface), smell (fragrance), and sight (the process of becoming and looking beautiful). The positive stimu- lation of these senses by makeup can induce sensory as well as psychological pleasure. In order to understand the relationship of women to their makeup, we interviewed different groups of women on their quality of life and makeup habits. Then, through four standard well-validated psychometric self-questionnaires, we examined the possible relation between the need to make up oneself and specific psychological features. Our first results clearly showed that makeup could support two opposite "up" functions, i.e., "camouflage" vs "seduction." Concerning their psychological profiles, results showed that women of the functional class "camouflage" are more anxious, defensive, and emotionally unstable compared to those of the functional class "seduction," who appear to be more sociable, assertive, and extroverted. Further analyses revealed a division of the two classes into subclasses of volunteers with opposed personality and psychological profiles. This new classification allowed us to define more precisely the relations existing within the subjective experience of women during the makeup process. In conclusion, our study revealed that beyond the simple application of colorful products on the face, makeup has two major functional implications depending on specific psy- chological profiles of women. INTRODUCTION Variation in the physical appearance of humans is emphasized by anthropologists as an important factor in the development of personality and social relations. In particular physical attractiveness should play a crucial role since it provides easily accessible non- verbal information about a person to others. Physical attractiveness is one of the most important determinants of interpersonal attraction in the early stages of many relation- ships (1-3). Most of the studies on "physical attractiveness" focus basically on "facial attractiveness" since many studies reveal that facial features are the main factors within Address all correspondence to Rodolphe Korichi. 127
128 JOURNAL OF COSMETIC SCIENCE the whole physical attractiveness. For example, Nielsen and Kernaleguen (4) showed that facial attractiveness, but not body attractiveness, influences subjective evaluation of overall physical attractiveness, as well as social and professional satisfaction and social desirability. One of the most important ways today's women increase their perceived facial attractiveness is through the use of commercial cosmetics. Such products allow women to conform to actual feminine beauty standards by artificially modifying the appearance of a set of facial features, e.g., enhancing the visual impact of eyes and lips, narrowing eyebrows, reddening cheeks, dyeing grey hairs, or masking wrinkles and "age spots." Moreover, a number of studies suggest that displaying youthful or slightly immature facial features (e.g., large eyes, small nose, full lips, small chin, delicate jaw) enhances female attractiveness (5 ,6). If cosmetics (standard and corrective) are widely portrayed as improving tools for facial attractiveness, little research has been published to objectivize their efficiency in this regard. A review of the literature reveals only a few studies that assumed that cosmetics can efficiently and objectively enhance attractiveness and can be used to manipulate physical attractiveness and the implicit messages cos- metics convey about ourselves (7-9). The "psychology of cosmetics" appears therefore as a new field concerning the characterization of the beneficial effects of cosmetic practices (10). It has been argued that personality traits such as public self-consciousness, public body-consciousness, social anxiety, and facets of body image are systematically related to variations in facial cosmetic use (11). Moreover, Cash and Cash (12) showed that women who felt relatively dissatisfied with various aspects of their own body or with their general physical appearance reported higher or recently expanded patterns of cosmetic use. It could be argued that such patterns could reflect a compensatory effort to correct or balance a flawed self-image. Moreover, in a stimulating article, Leveque (13) revealed a relationship between appearance and health, and emphasized the supporting effects of makeup products on the mental health of women affected by severe illnesses. From the clear demonstration that feeling confident about one's appearance has a beneficial impact on one's mood (14), some positive influences of cosmetics on the well-being and self- esteem that result in positive emotional states have been reported. For example, emo- tions with a positive valence (e.g., induced by a pleasant odor or colorful cosmetics) induce a decrease in heart rate, whereas negative valence stimuli induce opposite effects (15). Therefore, since cosmetics are used to modify physical appearance and attractive- ness, one could predict that such a use could be related to stable psychological factors. Hence, the purpose of the present study was to investigate in women the underlying correspondence between personality and self-experience with makeup. The first stage of our study aimed to evaluate the subjective affective experience of subjects with makeup, using a self-assessment questionnaire built according to the information obtained from interviews of women on the quality of life and makeup. Thereafter, the second stage consisted in establishing psychological profiles of our subjects by using well-validated psychometric self-questionnaires. MATERIALS AND METHODS SUBJECTS Seventy female subjects belonging to four different age groups were recruited for this study: group 1: 25-34 yr (n = 21) group 2: 35-44 yr (n = 14) group 3: 45-54 yr (n = 25) and group 4: 55-65 yr (n = 10). All subjects were customary cosmetics users.
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