Ancient Egyptians used copper, lead and malachite to color and define their faces and kohl to line their eyes. Ancient Greeks used crushed mulberries as rouge, oxen hair as fake eyelashes, and clay mixed with red iron as lipstick. During the Middle Ages, Europeans applied carbonate, hydroxide, and lead oxide as foundation.

Indeed, since the beginning of time women have been adorning their faces and bodies to make themselves more beautiful. Over the course of their lifetimes today, most women will spend approximately $13,000 on beauty products and one year and three months applying makeup. The question is why are women doing this and, more importantly, is it worth the time and money?

study sheds light on these questions. Researchers asked test subjects to rate the attractiveness of women with varying degrees of makeup. The results showed that both men and women prefer faces with less makeup – bad news for fans of a “more is more” look.

Given that a natural look is preferred by both genders, why do some women apply so much makeup? The study’s lead scientists attribute this to misperception. When test participants were asked what they believe men prefer, they found that women mistakenly assumed men prefer women who wear more makeup. According to the researchers:

These results suggest that women are likely wearing cosmetics to appeal to the mistaken preferences of others.

As the study shows, too much makeup isn’t appealing. It may even be sending the wrong message: that you are trying too hard, have too much time on your hands, or are trying to hide something. Furthermore, it might even be making you look older.

Makeup can only make you look pretty on the outside but it doesn’t help if you’re ugly on the inside. Unless you eat the make-up. ~ Audrey Hepburn