The average woman could spend $15,000 on make-up in a lifetime. Yes, the number is debatable but not the connection between attractiveness and success.
You can see how much mint.com thinks women spend on the make-up part of beauty:
Where are we going? To a closer look at attractiveness.
Attractiveness and Success
In a 2016 paper, researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to assess:
- the relationship between income and physical attractiveness
- the returns to attractiveness for women and men
- the connection between grooming and attractiveness.
Income and Physical Attractiveness
Physical attractiveness will boost your income. Attractive people can expect to earn 20% more than coworkers whose appearance is average. (They also wind up with shorter jail sentences, higher grades and more job offers.)
Gender and Physical attractiveness
Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the sociologists who wrote the 2016 paper concluded that attractiveness does not matter more for women than men.
Gender and Grooming
Grooming counts more for women than for men. Well-groomed less physically attractive women (hair right, nails okay, make-up good, clothing nice) earned even more than well-groomed attractive women.
With men though, the grooming mattered much less.
As one of the paper’s authors, said, “For women, most of the attractiveness advantage comes from being well-groomed. For men, only about half of the effect of attractiveness is due to grooming.”
Our Bottom Line: Signaling
How we appear has been called signaling. Defined as a message we hope to convey, signaling through our appearance can say we adhere to social norms, we are consistent, we care what others think. It can express qualities that some employers value.
So when men and women spend time and money on grooming, they are creating a workplace signal.
For many smiles, do look at this Legally Blonde trailer to see the gender signals that are inaccurate.