Mo’ makeup, mo’ money: well-groomed women earn more

According to the Washington Post, a new paper from two sociologists suggests that the time you spend getting ready in the morning is more important than you think – it could be the reason why you’re earning the big bucks or peanuts.

Jacyln Wong of the University of Chicago and Andrew Penner of the University of California at Irvine, used data from a study of more than 14 000 people as a way to look at the link between attractiveness and earnings.

Participants were asked various questions about their job, how much they earn, their education, personality and other attributes. They were also rated on how attractive and how well-groomed they appeared.

Now you probably know that there’s been research saying that more attractive people earn more (you can read this US News article for more on that), but now it seems the time you take to wing your eyeliner, fill in your brows, and set your lipstick apparently equals more money in your pocket too.

Yes, the research in this study actually suggests that all the preening and primping women do or don’t do in the morning is what accounts for almost all of the salary differences for women of varying attractiveness.

And, guess what? While it is still important, grooming didn’t make as much of a difference for men.

Perhaps this is because men's fashion is a bit more limited than women's or that it's not socially acceptable for men to wear makeup to improve their looks? Or maybe it's just because women have to make a lot more effort than their male counterparts to be well-groomed?

Less attractive, but better groomed women earned a lot more, on average, than women who were more attractive, but not as well-groomed.

So what does this mean? I think this line from Washington Post sums it up quite nicely: “the results suggest that beauty, especially for women, is more of a behaviour – ‘something you do,’ rather than ‘something you are.’”

Being attractive is not just about actually having great looks, but seems to be a mixture of biology, personality and grooming.

So why does being well-groomed mean you’ll get paid more? Could it be that making an effort with your appearance means that you’ll be more attentive to your work? Or a sign that you’re aware of social cues and perceptions and want to show that you care?

But where exactly does the line of well-groomed begin and end?

Is it just the way you dress? What if you're more a flats and a cute polka dot skirt girl than someone who'll don a power suit and heels? (BTW, check out these tips if you want to not to dress like a corporate zombie) What about hair? What if you have braids? Is that less acceptable than a weave? Is natural hair seen as less well-groomed than a perfectly straight mane?

There are many questions surrounding this, and we'd love to hear your thoughts - send us an email and tell us what you think makes better grooming and what you think about your salary being linked to how well you present yourself.

Whatever it may be, looks like if you want more money, then you better start taking better care of yourself.

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