This Makeup Look Can Help You Get a Promotion, According to Harvard Researchers



You've nailed your presentations, flaunted your managerial skills, and done everything to prove that you're an asset to your company. But even if you're doing everything right on paper to get ahead at work, there might be one seemingly unrelated aspect standing in your way: Like it or not, your makeup look projects a certain image to everyone around you—something that can be either an asset in the workplace or an obstacle. 

It's all a matter of psychology, and there's a significant amount of research to support which makeup looks project confidence and competence (as well as those that project less desirable traits). Consider this study conducted by scientists at Harvard and Boston University, for example, 25 female subjects of varying ethnicities and ages were photographed without makeup, and then in three different cosmetic looks categorized as "natural," "professional," and "glamorous." Then, the researchers compiled a panel of 149 adults and gave them a couple seconds to view each image—enough to make a gut judgment call on each look—and rate the subject's likability, attractiveness, competence, and trustworthiness.

For starters, all the photos with makeup had significantly higher ratings for competence than those without. The "professional" look also earned high marks for likability, while the "natural" look won out on trustworthiness. In turn, this gives us a pretty illustrative idea of what kind of makeup wins out in a corporate setting: polished yet relatively natural, like the images seen in this story.