The social judgment of “Too much makeup” and its Psychological Impacts

In a world where first impressions are often tied to physical appearance, makeup has become a tool for self-expression and confidence. However, there’s a delicate balance between enhancing one’s features and overshadowing natural beauty.

Makeup has historically been associated with beauty and individuality. But often, the line between enhancement and excess can become blurred, which invites criticism from society. This article explores the arguments for and against the negative perceptions of wearing too much makeup and its effects on women’s mental health.

The debate around ‘too much makeup’ concerns societal standards, personal comfort, and the message we send to the world about our self-image.

The Cultural Lens of Applying “Too Much Makeup”

Makeup is a cultural artefact with centuries of meaning, expectation, and history. It is more than just a tool for grooming oneself. Makeup is frequently seen as a way to improve one’s look and adhere to conventional beauty standards in many nations.

Women who defy social conventions by wearing too much makeup may encounter criticism. The makeup is scrutinized for more than just its appearance; it deviates from the conventional notion of modesty and natural beauty.

Perception and Professionalism

In professional environments, makeup is often seen as a component of an individual’s grooming and presentation.

While a well-groomed appearance can convey professionalism and attention to detail, perceptions can shift negatively when makeup is deemed excessive. This can result in biases that affect a woman’s perceived competence and credibility.

Take Sarah, a seasoned marketing executive renowned for her colourful personality and imaginative campaigns, as an example. Sarah likes to use bold cosmetic choices to self-express because she believes they capture her imagination and enthusiasm for life.

However, her supervisors advise her to tone down cosmetics during crucial client appointments. The voice worries that her look might not fit the company’s polished image and might turn off customers.

Sarah has a track record of success and knowledge, but her looks precede her skills. This instance demonstrates how a person’s appearance may become a point of contention, overshadowing their abilities and accomplishments.

The underlying idea is that there is a limit to acceptable cosmetics and that going over it may unintentionally raise questions about a woman’s skills and role fit.

Such prejudices may have far-reaching effects. Concerns about their “professional” image may cause women like Sarah to be passed over for high-profile projects or promotions. This can impede professional advancement and foster an environment at work where merit is subordinated to looks.

To counteract this, businesses must promote an inclusive culture that encourages diversity and individual expression. Such problems can be lessened by training programs that inform staff members about unconscious prejudices and the value of emphasizing credentials and performance rather than appearance.

Numerous studies have revealed that perceptions are influenced by makeup. When the same faces are shown wearing makeup as opposed to when they are not, for example, the same faces are deemed more appealing.

In the same faces, makeup has also been shown to increase perceived femininity. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that applying cosmetics to the same faces elevates perceived status

Even though cosmetics might improve one’s appearance in the workplace, it’s essential to find and dispel the myths that link heavy makeup application to incompetence. By doing this, we can ensure that people are assessed on their contributions and abilities instead of on their particular preferences for style.

Objectification and Dehumanization

Heavy makeup can cause women to be viewed solely in terms of their physical appearance rather than as complete human beings with intellect, emotions, and character, which is why objectification and dehumanization are significant concerns. This phenomenon has been observed in everyday situations and examined in social psychology; it is not merely theoretical.

The study “An Initial Test of the Cosmetics Dehumanization Hypothesis” indicated that heavy cosmetics reduce humanness-related qualities in women. According to the study, women wearing too much makeup had less humanness, agency, experience, competence, warmth, and morality than those without makeup. This shows that heavy cosmetics can dehumanize women by making them objects rather than humans.

Another example comes from politics, where female politicians often face scrutiny over their appearance rather than their policies or competence. For instance, Belgian MP Nawal Benhamou was greeted by a male colleague who commented on her looks rather than her political contributions, a clear case of objectification.

These examples show how easily one may go from admiring beauty to perceiving only an item to be seen. It emphasizes how crucial it is to identify and battle such biases to guarantee that everyone is accepted for their humanity, not just their appearance.

The Psychological Impact

Being criticized for wearing excessive makeup can have a profound psychological effect. Since cosmetics are frequently worn as a means of self-expression or to increase confidence, it may impact self-esteem. Women who receive negative feedback may feel self-conscious and develop a negative perception of themselves.

Moreover, the pressure to adhere to beauty standards can cause stress and anxiety. For some, makeup becomes a way to hide perceived flaws, and criticism can reinforce insecurities and lead to a reliance on makeup for self-esteem.

Let’s explore this further ;

Sarah Joans, a writer, shared her personal experience with makeup and mental health. During the pandemic, she stopped wearing makeup, but as time passed, she found herself drawn back to it—not as a necessity but as a personal choice for self-care. 

Applying makeup became a therapeutic ritual for Sarah, offering certainty and a sense of normalcy in uncertain times. However, she also acknowledged the potential harm if makeup is used to conform to beauty ideals, which can be detrimental to self-esteem.

Research has shown that women wearing heavy makeup are often viewed as having less human-like traits, such as less competence, warmth, and morality. This perception can significantly impact how women are treated and viewed personally and professionally, affecting their self-image and self-worth.

While makeup can be empowering and a form of self-expression, the judgment and criticism of wearing “too much makeup” can reinforce insecurities and lead to a reliance on makeup for self-esteem. It’s crucial to recognize the individual reasons behind makeup use and to foster a more accepting attitude towards personal choices in appearance.

In conclusion

Indeed, there is a deep discussion about makeup and women. It discusses the fundamentals of one’s self-perception, societal norms, and the inherent worth of individuality. The idea that being a woman means much more than wearing makeup on the outside is a potent reminder that beauty in all its forms is complex and transcends social norms.

Stressing natural beauty as the height of sincerity implies a rejection of the manufactured norms that society upholds. It’s an appeal to acknowledge and value each person’s pure, undiluted beauty.

The use of cosmetics to boost one’s self-esteem is a complicated topic. For some, it might be liberating, but for others, it can be a crutch that hides more severe fears. Finding the underlying reasons for dependence on makeup for self-worth can be accomplished by soul-searching and introspection, resulting in a more comprehensive self-esteem strategy independent of outside approval.

It’s fascinating that goal-oriented women should wear less makeup not to mask their inherent attractiveness. It implies that ambition and a small amount of makeup can coexist, with the latter acting as a highlight rather than masking one’s genuine identity. An ambitious woman is more attractive than masking herself with too much makeup.

The critical analysis of cultural perceptions around makeup application highlights the profound impact that deeply embedded beauty standards can have on mental health. One step in shattering these conventions and promoting a society where personal preferences are valued and honored is advocating for a broader and more diverse definition of beauty.

In essence, the dialogue about makeup and womanhood is not just about cosmetics; it’s about autonomy, identity, and the right to define one’s beauty without the constraints of societal expectations. It’s a reminder that womanhood is a rich tapestry of experiences, achievements, and qualities that transcend physical appearance.



Why do some people hate it when other people wear makeup?

Some people may dislike others wearing makeup due to personal insecurities, jealousy, or differing views on beauty. Makeup can be seen as deceptive or unnecessary by those who value natural appearance or believe it perpetuates unrealistic beauty standards.

Why do some people wear too much makeup?

Some people wear too much makeup due to cultural influences, personal insecurities, or societal pressures. It can be a means to conform to perceived beauty standards, express individuality, or cover imperfections, often influenced by media and celebrity trends.

Why do some women wear too much makeup when most men dislike that?

Some women wear heavy makeup despite men’s preferences as a form of self-expression, to feel empowered, or to meet their beauty standards. It’s a personal choice that can be influenced by societal pressures, fashion trends, or simply the joy of creativity in makeup artistry.

Why do Girls Wear Makeup?

Girls wear makeup for various reasons, including boosting confidence, enhancing features, expressing creativity, and conforming to societal beauty standards. It’s a form of self-expression and empowerment, allowing them to feel more attractive and assertive in their daily interactions.

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