Proctor & Gamble funded a study done by Harvard in which they, of course, found out that makeup makes women look prettier than they actually are. But the really interesting thing is that it makes them look more competent, too. It’s unclear how much of it is due to the halo effect, since without information to the contrary, we tend to assume that good looking people are also nice, smart, great tennis players, etc. But if you’re trying to make people superficially think you know what you’re talking about — regardless of if you actually do or not, — then make-up is your friend. Unless you’re Erin Andrews, in which case makeup can only hurt. Also unless you’re a guy, because that may backfire.
It’s kind of amazing how in the photo, the girl’s likely profession goes from WNBA player to hotel clerk to bank teller to pharmaceutical rep. The study didn’t allow the women to look in the mirror after the makeup was applied on them, so they wouldn’t alter their facial expression based on how they looked. And they had two different groups of mostly women grade them: the first only looked at the pictures for a blink of an eye (a quarter of a second), while the others looked as much as they wanted. The results were the same for both groups, which goes to show you just how snappy snap judgments are.