If you're single and wearing makeup, you might want to grab yourself some Cetaphil and get to washing. In a study picked up by The Atlantic, when looking at pictures of the same woman in different degrees of "done-up-ness," men were found to prefer less makeup than women would have predicted.
The set-up for this study published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Researchers from Bangor University and Aberdeen University in the U.K. first photographed 44 women in their early 20s bare-faced, then had them do their makeup as if they were going out for the night and photographed them again. Next they digitally altered the photos to get 21 degrees of makeup from bare to very made-up. Then they had the women who were photographed guess what degree men would prefer—which was more done-up than was actually chosen by male volunteers. In actuality, both men and women preferred when the models were wearing 60 percent less makeup than they applied.
Here's an example of some of the shots used:
One of the authors of the study, Alex Jones, was quoted by his University as saying, “The take-home message from this study is that our ideas about what the opposite sex find attractive are often inaccurate, whether it relates to body size, weight, or even something like makeup use. The misconceptions play a role in body image and self esteem issues and are sadly based on simple misunderstandings.”
Now, I'm going to warn you, you're going to have to take this all with a grain of salt. There are a few things that make me pause here. 1) They digitally altered the photos, which means the ones that were done-up more in post-production might have triggered the Uncanny Valley effect, throwing off the results. 2) The women were all young—makeup is meant to up contrast, which we find attractive. But if you're still in the age-range where your contrast is high (meaning your complexion is youthful, your lips are naturally bee-stung and your cheeks have more flush to them naturally), in theory you wouldn't really need the makeup to enhance these things yet. 3) The women applied the makeup themselves. It could just be that they aren't very good at the DIY thing. 4) The women were told to do their makeup for a night out, not to attract men. If the goal had been different, perhaps their beauty choices would have changed, too. And 5) Men weren't doing the picking in the low-lighting conditions where you'd see "going-out" looks anyway. In real life, the women wouldn't look so overly made-up in context.
But all those things said, from my own field research I do actually find that in general, men enjoy the "no-makeup makeup look," with the occasional smoky eye or red lip thrown in for a special occasion. Most of the time, they want to be able to touch your face and make out with you without getting lipstick all over their mouths. Does that mean we should never really go for it? Screw that—makeup is fun and it's not always about what men want. But it is helpful to know on those days when you just can't bother to "do your face," that you might actually be better off in the love department anyway.
What do you say here?