testosterone
November 5, 2015

Testosterone levels affect how much makeup women use, study finds

Reaching for brighter, bolder lipstick colors on certain mornings? You can blame your testosterone levels for that, according to a new study published in Psychological Sciencewhich found a correlation between women's preference for attractive makeup and the steroid hormone.

Over the course of five weeks, University of Glasgow researchers measured levels of salivary testosterone in women while they viewed female faces with randomly generated combinations of makeup.The randomly generated faces were then rated for attractiveness by a separate group of 50 men and women, and the two results compared.

Their result showed that testosterone may contribute to changes in women’s motivation to wear attractive makeup and, potentially, their motivation to appear attractive in general, the authors say.

"Previous research [into makeup attraction] has primarily focused on examining the link to estimated ovulation status, or fertility," explained psychologist and lead researcher Claire Fisher of the University of Glasgow. 'These findings are important, however, as this is the first evidence linking women's motivation to appear attractive to changes in their testosterone."

But why does testosterone have this effect?

Previous studies have linked an increase in testosterone to various social behaviours such as jealousy. For example, when flirting, women experience a significant increase in testosterone. According to the authors, these new results lend further support for the role of testosterone in female acquisition of mates and competition for resources.

Surprisingly, the study also found that women reported weaker preferences for attractive makeup when their salivary estradiol level was higher. High estradiol levels leads to "rosier" facial appearance - the resulting increase in skin attractiveness may reduce motivation to wear attractive makeup.

In fact, the effects of testosterone might go beyond makeup, to the very clothes we wear, the authors propose.

It brings a whole new meaning to "dress to impress."