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The makeup and skincare industry is almost exclusively for women. While it is true that there are some men who choose to use skin care or even makeup, the vast majority of customers are women. It is curious to consider why one gender feels the overwhelming need and compulsion to alter their appearances while the other gender does not.

It’s Historical

The use of powders and paints applied to a woman’s face is as old as time. Japanese Geishas applied white rice powder to their faces, Greek women applied red iron to their lips and Egyptian women painted their eyelids. The worldwide love affair with makeup is as old as recorded history itself. It should come as no surprise that modern day women are also fascinated with the practice. The difference is that today’s makeup has a wide array of concealment options. Women can span the gap of coverage all the way from painting their faces with unnatural colours for a bold fashion choice, to using makeup designed to look as though she was wearing no makeup at all.

Escape Their Age

A primary reason many women report as the chief driving factor in their decision to wear makeup is that it has the ability to alter how old they look to others. Very young girls will often begin wearing makeup in order to look older than their years. A few years down the road and older women will begin to buy make up products designed to hide early aging signs such as skin spots, wrinkles and sagging.

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Highlight or Hide

The beauty of makeup is that it is designed to perform a multitude of tasks. The client can choose to use make up to highlight their natural beauty or to hide an element of their natural face that they feel self-conscious about. Products such as mascara and eyeliner are used to lengthen eyelashes and make eyes look larger. Women with larger eyes are known to have higher levels of oestrogen which means the woman is more fertile and more attractive to men. Conversely, a woman with uneven skin tone, scars or pimples is likely to invest in a foundation and concealer product, both of which are created to hide what women call “imperfections” in their complexions.

Bonding Experience

The saying goes, “Like mother, like daughter.” The bonding quality of makeup is clearly demonstrated as a mother teaches her daughter the proper techniques of skin care and make up application. A bonding experience likely closely parallels that of a father teaching his son to fish or work on cars.

Make up application and knowledge is a distinctly feminine experience, something handed down from one generation to the next. You are unlikely to find a mother who doesn’t enjoy make up and a daughter who does. This bonding experience is long lasting, and inspires memories within the daughter long after the lessons have been completed. Beyond mother and daughter bonding, there is also woman to woman bonding. Friends, sisters and female co-workers can also bond over makeup by sharing products, application tips and horror stories of out-dated make up trends.

Fit in Socially

For all the reasons listed above and likely many more, women feel a need to wear makeup in order to fit in socially. Be it to share stories of their youth or simply to feel as though they are, “keeping up with the Jones'”; women feel the need to fit in with other women. Often a woman without make up will report feeling less attractive to members of the opposite sex and less confident of herself when surrounded by her peers. The simple application of makeup can change this social awkwardness, and hence the dependency of make up wearing continues.

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