Beauty is as Beauty Does?: Makeup and Posture Effects on Physical Attractiveness Judgments1


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    I want to thank Michael R. Cunningham for his ideas on theoretical aspects of this research and David A. Kenny for his advice on data analysis. I also want to thank Evelyn Klein Fair, Cynthia Gawarecki, Curtis Bergstrand, Robert Korn, Lisa Gunterman, Maggie Meloy, and the University of Louisville Office of Information Technology for their assistance during various phases of this research.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Don R. Osborn, Department of Psychology, Bellarmine College, 2001 Newburg Road, Louisville, KY 40205-0671.


Recent studies have examined human beauty as a biological, structural trait. This view of beauty is incomplete because it does not consider the amount of variability in beauty judgments attributable to self-presentation strategies. This study was designed to estimate the importance of self-presentation practices on beauty judgments. For women within plus or minus one standard deviation of average facial attractiveness, makeup effect size estimates were comparable to previously published estimates of the importance of structural factors in attractiveness judgments. Similarly, for average weight stimuli, posture was comparable to body build in influencing attractiveness judgments. Implications for personal appearance businesses, health psychology, and counseling practice are discussed.