As many ladies can attest, boyfriends like the naked-face and fuzzy hair. It seems maybe, there is special about seeing your lady au-natural, something very vulnerable and genuine about it.
But make-up is a long-lived phenomenon– so can men be serious when they claim to not like it? What does our biology dictate? I’ve posed this question to evolutionary psychology professor, Duana Welch, Ph.D. to give us the strict science behind make-up. Duana is the author of Love Science, the only relationship blog that gives advice from the background of science and research.
Rabbit asks: One of the things that I hear over and over again from men is that they prefer women to not wear make-up. That they don’t like make-up. Personally, I don’t think they realize when we are wearing naturally toned make-up… They seem to think that make-up is Tammy Faye Baker lashes and blue eye shadow. So, do guys really not like make-up? And further, what role does make-up play in sex and dating?
Duana Answers: When I met my daughter’s dad, one of the first things he said was that he loved that I didn’t wear makeup; he decried women who did. Yet I was wearing it…a little. And he couldn’t chase me hard enough.
Throughout all of known human history, women have used makeup to adorn their faces, and no wonder—with everything that could go wrong then and still can now, from disease and famine to garden-variety acne, women have always felt the need to hide facial imperfections.
Yet when a behavior is found throughout the world, evolutionary psychologists don’t stop at noting it—they attempt to explain it: Why have women, but not men, found it necessary to wear makeup in the first place? Why are imperfections that are openly shown on men’s faces covered up on women’s?
Because males, being able to procreate endlessly but needing a fertile partner with whom to do It, are under a largely unconscious directive to Go Forth & Find Youth & Beauty.
Women can’t make babies forever, but only for a limited number of years. Reliable signs of fertility— youth and beauty—are conveyed by many signals, and a great number of those are worn on our faces. Smooth skin, wide-open eyes, bright teeth, even and symmetrical features, full lips, rosy cheeks, rounded features—all these things go away with age and/or exposure to pathogens and conditions that thwart baby-making.
Of course, our mating psychology operates under-the-radar, so most men aren’t conscious of the Why behind their desires. They just know they find natural beauty vastly appealing—and they find obvious attempts at masking natural beauty to be repugnant.
Put yourself in their shoes. Women everywhere, having come up through a human history rife with dangers and dependence during gestation, childbirth, and child-rearing, are vigilant for a Willing &
Able Provider & Protector. It’s the Golden Rule—and the guy with the gold, as a rule, gets the girls.
So, we women love it when a guy has resources and will lavish them on us…but we love it a lot less when said Catch is only *pretending* to have the goods. If he’s got the great car and a zero bank balance, he’s done the equivalent of putting on the makeup—then having little biological appeal beneath.
In sum, we women have always worn makeup to play up the youth and beauty men demand, and to compete with our sisters for the best guys. And men have always tried to find women who are The Genuine Article—who look youthful and beautiful without obvious assistance.
(And, by the way, there have always been some men throughout time who lied about how many goats they and their family owned. )
Advice? If you are out to catch a man, wear Makeup—but do it discreetly. Play up your best features, rather than creating features
you don’t genuinely have.
And then watch the Guys Who Don’t Like Makeup…as they line up.
Although many relationship advice columns exist, Love Science is the only one that presents not only what to do and how to do it–but the science and research behind the advice. Published free bi-weekly, Love Science is also Amazon.com’s top-ranked blog
of over 10,000 titles. Feel free to Ask Duana *your* question at Duana@LoveScienceMedia.com.
All material copyrighted by Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., 2010