Women are using makeup to get ahead professionally, according to Strategically Stunning: The Professional Motivations Behind the Lipstick Effect,”
forthcoming in Psychological Science from McKenzie Rees, postdoctoral teaching and research associate in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, and Ekaterina Netchaeva, assistant professor in the Department of Management and Technology at Bocconi University.
Lipstick sales reportedly soared following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and in 2008 when the rest of the economy suffered record sales declines, cosmetics giant L’Oreal’s figures revealed sales growth of 5.3 percent. Rees says women weren’t simply hoping to lure a financially stable partner, as past research has indicated.
“We show that women use makeup to ensure that they achieve their professional ambitions as well as their romantic ambitions,” she says. “Previous work on the lipstick effect has argued that women only use beauty products to attract a romantic partner. Our work suggests that women not only use makeup as a tool in professional settings, but that they may even prefer it over relying upon a romantic partner for monetary resources that they need to survive in economically challenging times.”