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Why do Women Wear Makeup?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 21, 2024
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There are many reasons women choose to wear makeup. One of the top reasons is to enhance their natural beauty and be more physically alluring. For example, if a woman has pretty eyes, she may use eyeliner to make them stand out more. She may also apply mascara to her eyelashes to make them appear longer and fuller, further calling attention to the natural beauty of her eyes. Some women even wear makeup just because it's fun to look a little different for a time.

Some women wear makeup because it gives them confidence. This is along the same lines as putting your best foot forward. The first thing a person usually notices is a woman's face. If it has been enhanced with skillfully applied makeup, a woman often feels ready for the world and confident in proceeding through the day. This does not mean that she couldn't be confident without the makeup; it simply serves as a booster to her natural self-confidence.

Sometimes, women wear makeup to cover something up. For example, after a night of little sleep, a woman may have dark circles under her eyes. Though these will probably disappear once she catches up on her sleep, well-applied makeup can hide them right away. It can also serve to brighten the face and camouflage blemishes, visible pores, uneven coloring, pimples, and even some scars.

A woman may wear makeup to give her face a more youthful appearance. She may feel that growing old gracefully is easier if she can look good while doing so. As such, she may use makeup to hide lines, blemishes, and age spots as well as to give her a more youthful glow. On the other hand, some teenagers apply makeup to make their faces look older, so that they can give off the appearance of being more mature than they really are.

Women have been wearing makeup in some form since ancient times. For example, the ancient Egyptian women wore eye paint, and Japanese women began adorning their faces with powder made from rice centuries ago. European women of centuries past used chalk-based powders on their faces while Greek women used red iron to decorate their lips. Over the years, technology and experimenting have made different types of makeup readily available and easier to apply. In fact, today's woman has makeup choices that allow her to wear makeup while appearing as if she actually has very little, if any, on.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison , Writer
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a BeautyAnswered writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

Discussion Comments

By anon1006235 — On Feb 16, 2022

Most women that wear so much makeup look like total clowns.

By anon989634 — On Mar 15, 2015

Warpaint is ugly! Women shouldn't wear it. Who wants to kiss a big blob of color? My mom wants to be Caucasian and she thinks she's ugly. She makes herself ugly with warpaint. Women don't look attractive with warpaint, blood lips, ugly eye stuff, and hair dyed with excessive dye. Women should only have a little bit of dye for their hair or no dye. It doesn't look good when a woman has black natural hair coming out of the middle and excessive dyed hair growing out. It also doesn't look good if women dye their hair completely so it's all one blob of color. Can anyone tell me what would make me attractive as a male?

By anon985158 — On Jan 14, 2015

I'm male, and I don't like make up. I think you are beautiful the way you are! Besides it tastes nasty when we kiss.

By anon983168 — On Dec 27, 2014

@anon317902 -- So the only way that you are out of your hiding, is via a bucket of makeup dropped on your face? otherwise, you'd be just like the rest of us common folk, single and living in a basement?

By anon981006 — On Dec 09, 2014

Individuality, viva la difference! Some folks do "overdo it". But what the heck? Some males are over the top too, with body building and an attitude of superiority. We're all tripping through this world as best we can, and some are luckier than others. It will all equal out in the end. No one escapes this world.

By anon968345 — On Sep 02, 2014

The problem is when a woman wears makeup to look good. A lot of men try to accuse women of being into themselves. I know this from experience. I no longer wear a lot of makeup, but I thought it was stupid that a lot of guys would make assumptions about women because they wear makeup. You know nothing about these women, but you assume they are into themselves.

By anon967933 — On Aug 30, 2014

Women: No matter what reason you have, it is still a lie, it's fake and deceiving. Relationships built on a lie from the start are doomed to fail and that just the way it is.

If you read all these comments -- which I have -- there is an underlining issue and that is you are not confident in yourself. You need a "confidence boost" and that means you have none in the first place. Needing to "feel comfortable" is raging proof. There are so many contradictions in each and every single one of the comments of women that try to defend wearing make up and it's stupid.

How is it the men are the ones trying to tell women that it's a waste of time money and resources and that their natural beauty is all we want in a time of extreme feminism and women's rights? It makes absolutely no sense at all!

So this is how it is going to all happen? Since more and more men are not wanting women with makeup, a lot of women are going to have to start over. Because of the fact that you lied about how you looked when you first meet someone, them seeing you without the mask is going to send them running for the hills. You all then will devise some way of tricking us men into thinking that you are not wearing any and telling lies by getting some space age makeup that makes it look natural.

If you think that men are losing out, you're highly mistaken. It is you who loses in the end. Silly rabbit. Tricks are for kids.

By anon926051 — On Jan 16, 2014

Makeup is addicting because every women looks great with it on done properly and it's a temporary confidence. As soon as the makeup is off, you feel like you can't look at anyone in the eye. Its sad to think that most women can't go out looking like how they were born to be. Some girls can, but I know many young girls who fear going out bare. I by far prefer natural beauty than makeup but if you do choose to wear makeup then yes enhance your beauty, just a little mascara, groomed eyebrows and colored lips. That's really all you need.

By anon349119 — On Sep 23, 2013

Oh dear. Wearing make up and worrying about your image is wasting your life. The quicker one wises up to the lie all women are sold, the happier one will be.

Just be who you really are. Don't go along with the bullcrap.

By anon345385 — On Aug 19, 2013

Man, all the backlash about women and their "deceitful" make-up leaves a disgusting taste in the mouth. I'm sorry to break it to you all, but this is the real world and, *gasps*, we all have our own reasons for doing what we damned well please.

Personally, the only problem I have with my appearance is my acne (consequences of being a damned hormonal teenager). People stare/look at the furious little abominations often when I try to talk to them and since I have an absolutely awful temper 24/7, especially regarding such menial things, I snap. So to avoid this unfortunate event I have to resort to concealer (it kind of shocks me when the "minimum" is mascara, lip gloss, foundation powder, etc, though).

People, seriously, do you want some teenage little brat griping at you because you were distracted for one second by a mere pimple? I think not. But you may keep on thinking I'm doing it to "hide." I'll just laugh at you.

By anon339038 — On Jun 19, 2013

Why doesn't any of this apply to men? Why is it women, women, women? Obviously, make up is a waste of money and stupid. Otherwise, it would apply to men as well.

By anon326882 — On Mar 24, 2013

Women wear makeup to feel confident. They do it because some guys are arrogant. We can do what we please.

By anon325082 — On Mar 14, 2013

Everyone has the right to do whatever they please to and makeup is the best friend a girl has. So whoever has a problem with that, kindly go away.

By anon321369 — On Feb 22, 2013

Made me think of an article I found the other day at Takimag defending physically beautiful women. Not a common perspective, but a clever one. It was

"Wrath of the Rotund" by Guy Somerset.

By anon317902 — On Feb 04, 2013

I wear makeup and I love wearing it and applying it. For me it's a creative outlet that allows me to express myself. If I don't wear it I don't feel insecure or "empty inside". Why do all these jerk men think that makeup is something only ugly women use to cover up their ugly? Maybe we use it because we just want to spend a little time on ourselves and by ourselves in the morning? Maybe we do it so people like you will scoff at us on the bus?

If my red lipstick is such an offense that it inspires ridiculous online debates such as the one going on here (which I stumbled on by accident), then I will gladly wear it for no other reason than to provoke you pathetic people out of your hiding. If any of you are single or living in a basement not belonging to you, don't ask yourselves why.

By anon313586 — On Jan 12, 2013

Well if makeup is so offensive to some of you, then why are you being so judgmental of someone you don't even know? That act in itself is offensive. You shouldn't judge someone's character based upon what they look like; you do not know their history or why they choose to wear makeup, so why should you feel so offended by it?

Also, maybe you shouldn't wear clothes. Clothes can give the illusion of giving people slimmer appearances depending on how they dress, so maybe you should just be a sloth and bare it all. Who cares whether someone wears makeup or not? It's the person who counts!

By amypollick — On Sep 28, 2012

@anon293915: It depends on the department. I've seen female police officers with short hair, with ponytails and in buns. Some departments just ask that they keep it up and out of their way.

Also, if a woman is a detective and no longer wears her "blues" every day, she doesn't necessarily have to put her hair up, although most of them seem to keep their hair shoulder-length or thereabouts.

By anon293915 — On Sep 28, 2012

Do policewomen have to wear their hair up in a bun? Or just up?

By anon276559 — On Jun 25, 2012

"enhance natural beauty"

I take steroids to enhance my natural muscles, use a variety of methods to enhance my natural genitals, drink caffeine to enhance my natural intelligence, use google while playing Jeopardy to enhance my natural memory, drive a car to enhance my natural speed, use a gun to enhance my natural fighting ability, and browse the internet to increase my urge to not stab myself in the face but it seems to not be working.

By anon269259 — On May 17, 2012

Wearing makeup makes a girl look beautiful, but you as yourself are beautiful.

By anon259641 — On Apr 07, 2012

I adore make-up and I am a complete tomboy in every other sense! I don't show my body off (I live in band t-shirts and jeans) and I don't do all the nails, extensions etc, only because I don't like that look. It's not me, but I love the artistry in make-up. In fact, I don't wear it at all most days, but just sometimes while sitting in front of the mirror, pampering myself in a very mindful way (I concentrate so it switches me off as I my job is emotionally draining, so it relaxes me). I really enjoy the skill involved in using good brushes, etc., and using my face as a blank canvas.

For the record, I have very clear skin, and hopefully without sounding conceited, I don't think I am naturally unattractive. I do think that in some cases, it would really help young women who think they 'need' the stuff to work on the issues underneath this feeling of 'need'. No one needs it, but then again, no-one needs TV, junk food, beer, nice clothes, etc. and it's not about needing for everyone at all.

Also, I was at a museum last week and was fascinated by how much make-up Egyptian men wore. I actually find men with make-up on very attractive. I like the stuff, and I couldn't give one little damn if that upsets anyone else. I'm not hurting anyone at all.

By sleekhairseo — On Apr 04, 2012

This isn't always the reason, but so many girls these days are uncomfortable with how they look so they just want to wear an "extra layer of skin" to look prettier. This is mostly because so much media and stuff is going around with hot women and everyone wants to look like a superstar.

By anon239014 — On Jan 06, 2012

For those arguing that makeup is deceitful and that wearers are concealing their true selves, it alarms me that you're judging a person's character entirely based on their 'face value', so to speak.

By anon238885 — On Jan 05, 2012

'A lie and a mask'! Come on. Really? Can't make-up be an accessory like any other? Something to adorn and enhance the body? Like clothing or jewelery? I mean what is really natural nowadays? Do you dye or cut your hair or shave your legs, your face, or your armpits?

By anon229581 — On Nov 14, 2011

I've been having a battle with make up for the past few weeks, envying those who don't wear it because in some ways it is a curse. Once you wear it, you see that you look better and you don't want to take it off and because everyone has seen you with it when you show your natural face you look strange. However, make up should not be seen as a problem by men. It offends me as a woman to hear a man say we are hiding behind a mask, when we are only enhancing the way we look. When make up is caked on it's stupid just like when a man is doused with cologne.

Foundation is what I think is the problem; it doesn't enhance anything. It just covers, which isn't very fair to men because they don't get a true idea of what you look like. Mascara is fine. After all, they are my eyelashes that it is going on, not fake ones, so that is the true length if them. Other eye make up is also acceptable, such as eyeshadow, etc.

I have bad acne on my cheek so I wear a little concealer over it, but every time I do I feel like I'm cheating myself, yet I have become dependent on that concealer so I cannot leave the house without it until my skin has cleared up.

Overall, to some extent, make up allows us to express who we are, but it hinders our confidence. To be honest, I enjoy applying eye make up and no one should tell me that I shouldn't. It is the covering of blemishes that causes problems. Covering dark circles is acceptable because they can go anytime but scars can't so it's deceiving. The choice is yours, though. It is your life.

By amypollick — On Oct 31, 2011

I'll certainly agree that the amount of makeup some women wear is ridiculous. Fake eyelashes and long, dragon lady fingernails just look silly, in my opinion.

Having said that, I just can't agree that wearing makeup is a lie. What about in cultures where this is the norm? Do you have the guts to tell a bride in India that the henna she wears is just a lie, or that her culturally acceptable makeup is a mask and she should wash it off? Her male relatives would run you out of the place.

Makeup that looks like it's been spackled on with a trowel is one thing. But looking pale, sick and lashless is something else again. Blonde women who have blonde eyelashes, for example, look like they've been underground for three years when they don't wear a little mascara to darken their lashes a bit.

And before you get started on me, no, I don't wear mascara *at all.* I have dark lashes, first, and second, I'm allergic to the stuff. I type for a living, so my nails are natural too, and I don't wear hair extensions. I don't cover up the scar on my neck from my thyroid surgery earlier this year.

I do, however, wear a light base, mostly just to even out my skin tone, a little blush, some eyeliner and lipstick. I don't wear Cleopatra black eyeliner, either. I wear a coffee brown that just enhances my lower eyelashes. I can put on my makeup in under five minutes, so it's obviously not a lot. My base matches my skin tone, and it just evens it out. And yes, if I have a screaming, honking zit, I'm covering it up. I don't want to be talking to a customer and have the person looking right at that zit the whole time.

Maybe I am lying and hiding behind a mask. Maybe so. But it's my mask and I have the right to "hide" behind it if I choose to do so. It's a free country, and my husband of 15 years loves my face, with or without makeup.

While I think overdone makeup is extremely unattractive, I also feel it is arrogant to say that women who wear even modest makeup are lying and hiding behind a mask.

I strongly suspect many men who say these kinds of things have been indoctrinated with the Victorian era view that wearing "paint" meant one's morals were suspect and women who wore such "paint" were of loose repute and should be shunned by "decent people."

By anon226397 — On Oct 31, 2011

I totally agree with ScottNM! Makeup is a lie! I wish you men and women out there would stop thinking that you have to wear it to "enhance" your features, "feel better about yourselves" or whatever bullcrap reason you want to give for wearing it every single day of your lives!

Makeup for actors and actresses who are shooting a film or acting in a play -- now that is completely different! They are trying to be fake, so it's acceptable for them to wear it on stage! Let me repeat: on stage! Not off!

Make-up is just another mask that people hide behind because they were never taught that they are beautiful just the way God made them!

By anon151864 — On Feb 11, 2011

I think women wear makeup to mask insecurities or as they like to call it, blemishes. When they're young, they do it because mom, older sister or whatever is doing something "grown up" and she wants to do it.

When they get older, it goes deeper. I read a post on Yahoo where a female asked the question "why do women wear makeup and men don't". She then went on to say that men look more imperfect than women and should wear makeup.

All I have to say to that is I think not. She should go wash that makeup off her face and stand next to some men. They probably look better than her. There's nothing wrong with trying to look good, but makeup is just a lie and a mask.

By ScottNM — On Jan 07, 2011

I am a man and I personally am offended by women wearing makeup. I am just being honest.

How dare you have the audacity to expect me to treat your fake nails, extended eyelashes, totally covered up face with false accents creating an illusion.

Make up in a nutshell is a lie. It is deception. When young kids paint themselves to accent their faces as scary, I go along with it and act like I believe it is really them and act scared.

I cannot do that to women who every day expect me to treat the liquid mask like that is who they really are. I respect myself too much to give that power of illusion/deceit to a woman. JMO

By anon132642 — On Dec 07, 2010

I love all this information. I'm doing an essay on how the media isn't to blame for women or teenagers wearing too much make up! we are girls and that's what we do, as long as you know how to do it!

By anon104869 — On Aug 18, 2010

Some men wear make up these days too. Total vanity!

By icecream17 — On Jul 31, 2010

Cafe41-I will have to try that. I will have to get some Continuous Coverage. I just want to add that learning how to wear eye makeup is critical because that is the most noticeable feature on the face.

It is really easy. For a day wear makeup look, you can apply a cream to powder eye shadow on the entire lid. Choose a color that in beige or crème tone for the base.

If the color is too dark, it will not flatter you eyes. Cream to powder eye shadows are wonderful because they are waterproof and stay on longer than regular powdered eye shadow. Sephora sells an excellent one by a company called Nars. It retails for about $20.

The next step is applying a liquid eye liner. Bobbi Brown offers the very best liquid eye liners. It comes in a small pot and the colors range from violet to black.

A small tip to remember is if your eyes are blue then the brown eye liner will make your eyes look bluer. If you have green eyes then violet, mauve or purple eye liner is best because this shade brings out the green color best.

If you have brown eyes then you can really wear any color except for brown which will make you look bland. At this point, you have to lift the brow and then apply the eyeliner beginning with the corner and narrowing in until you reach the inside.

Next, you apply your long wearing mascara beginning from the outer lashes in and only applying on the top layer of lashes.

Applying on the bottom gives a shadow that makes it look like you have dark circles. This should be enough for daytime. For evening, you can apply a complementary shade based on your eye color on the crease and move slightly outward.

By cafe41 — On Jul 31, 2010

Sunshine31- I agree with you. I usually wear the Cover Girl continuous wear makeup base because I want something that will hold my make up for a long time.

I found that long wear makeup like this allows me to just have to touch up my makeup with pressed powder for my oily spots, but my makeup stays fresh.

I love long wear makeup. I sometimes use Continuous Coverage by Clinque. It is a combination concealer and foundation that offers maximum coverage. It is great for photo shoots or for when you want your face to look flawless.

It is not for every day use as it is a bit heavier than most foundations, but it does go on smoothly. It also contains a sun protection factor of 15.

By sunshine31 — On Jul 31, 2010

Tina99- I agree with you. I always feel better when I am wearing makeup. I just wanted to add that it is important to learn how to wear makeup properly.

This will really enhances your natural features. The most important thing is to choose the right foundation or base makeup color.

Choosing a color that is too light can make your face look ashy while selecting a color that is too dark looks severe and will contrast too much with your neckline.

This might be easier if you go to a department store where they have available testers. The color should be applied on a bare face. If the color disappears then you know you have chosen the right shade. You should never be able to tell that you have foundation on as it should be very subtle.

By tina99 — On May 27, 2010

yes, i agree with you. i use makeup myself and i feel uncomfortable when i do not use makeup.

Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison


Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a BeautyAnswered writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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