For centuries, ladies have been adorning themselves with make-up.
Now, a new study has finally unravelled the reason — women anticipate “a rush of optimism and anticipation” as they prepare to wear make-up.
Researchers in Japan, led by Dr Ken Mogi, have carried out the study and determined that there are distinct cognitive activities involved in a woman’s perception of her face with and without make-up.
They came to the conclusion after monitoring activity in the caudate nucleus of the brain of a group of women using a brain
scanner. The researchers found that when a woman sees her own face without make-up, she anticipates how she will eventually appear to others and a “reward system” is activated, releasing dopamine to give sensations of pleasure.
“We know from previous research that when this area of the brain is activated we can derive pleasure from certain activities.
We interpret that as meaning that when a woman looks at her face she is imagining how she will look when she has applied her make-up.
“There is a mixture of expectation, encouragement and ambition. Make-up contributes to building relationships with others and feelings of pleasure in women,” Keishi Saruwatari of cosmetics giant Kanebo, said.
Though the study focused on female responses, the researchers believe similar feelings may be at work when a man shaves or puts on cologne on the body.
"We can now not only put a functional value on a product now, but also measure the emotional appeal. By using quantifiable research, we'll be able to strengthen emotional value of a product and develop more appealing versions," said co-researcher Yasuhiko Tanaka.