While you might think you’re better off skipping the makeup to give yourself a few minutes extra study time, research has found that applying cosmetics can actually help, not hinder you in an exam.
According to a study by Cogent Psychology and researchers from Harvard Medical School and Chieti University, women who applied makeup before a test achieved 10% to 20% higher marks than those who were bare-faced.
The purpose of the study was to ‘examine the possibility that makeup can affect academic performance’, and involved asking 186 female undergraduate students to take a simulated university examination.
While previous research has found that higher levels of self-esteem are associated with better academic performance, this was the first time that the connection between physical self-esteem and makeup has been measured.
Surprisingly, the results of the study showed that wearing make-up could in fact increase test results by up to 20% due to the ‘lipstick effect’.
The theory behind the ‘lipstick effect’ is that wearing makeup can increase how beautiful you perceive yourself to be, which increases your self-esteem resulting in improvement of cognitive performance.
This study suggests that in exam situations such a boost in self-esteem makes women feel better, which in turn can potentially increase their academic performance by having a knock-on effect on memory and confidence.