The Science Behind Looking Good to Feel Great, According to Experts
Dating is nerve-wracking enough to begin with. Add in all the prep work that happens behind the scenes – from scouring my shoebox-sized closets to find the perfect ‘fit to running across the city to make my mani-pedi appointment – and it’s easy to feel anxious.
For me, the worst part of all was spending hours getting ready for a date and feeling hot AF, only to show up and know within minutes that the dude was a total dud. Granted, I chose to put all that effort into looking and feeling beautiful for myself (no, not some random guy – though it’s truly tragic to have wasted all that time getting ready for nothing. Especially when I could have been using that time to crack open a bottle of cab and binge The Bachelor with my squad!)
So, whether it’s for a date, work meeting, or just a day you want to show up for yourself (we stan it all!), studies show that taking this extra time for ourselves to look good and feel great can boost our confidence, lower our anxiety, and leave us glowing inside and out.
“There is an under appreciated joy that women and feminine-identified beings can take in self-creation on every level, and putting yourself together (in terms of hair, makeup, outfit, beauty routine, etc.) is part of that,” says licensed psychotherapist and Deeper Well Therapy founder Annalise Oatman, MA, LCSW. And remember, there’s nothing shallow about this – despite what the haters may say. (And, as always, this is a judgment-free zone!) Oatman agrees, saying, “Joyful self-creation is a healthy feminine art form that has often been denigrated in the culture as shallow or not really important.”
Let me spill the tea on why and how your glam routine can set you up for success in the streets and between the sheets. ;)
It can set us up for success.
FYI: Wearing lipstick can actually boost your confidence and make you smarter – yes, you read that right.
But, don’t just take my word for it. One study found that female students who wore lipstick before an exam scored better than those who went bare-faced. “Consistent with the idea that makeup increases self-esteem, the students who put on the make-up actually did receive a higher grade on the test than students who did not,” says Nicole Andreoli, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at Pathways Psychological Services. Plus, you know this is legit since the study was conducted by none other than Harvard Medical School.
These fascinating findings have been coined “the lipstick effect,” and rightfully so. (IMO, whoever said a bold lip doesn't instantly boost your confidence has clearly never tried MAC’s Ruby Woo shade before.)
It quite literally sparks joy.
Dating can definitely be stressful, and if you’re in need of a much-needed mood boost before meeting your Hinge or Bumble cutie IRL, just apply on some shadow, contour your cheekbones, spritz on some Beia Hydrating Setting Mist, and keep on swiping!
While others may find this to be silly, Oatman says to “never underestimate” the power of looking and feeling fierce. She also urges us to throw all rules out the window. So, if a subtle, no-makeup makeup look is your jam, stick with that as opposed to an edgy cat-eye and full-on face contour, even if that’s what’s currently considered “on-trend.” Remember, feeling beautiful will never go out of style!
It can decrease anxiety.
Dating anxiety is absolutely real – so keep calm and carry on gather your favorite beauty buys to combat it.
Dr. Andreoli says that wearing makeup is linked to lower levels of anxiety, self-consciousness, and introversion. So, whether it be a bold lip, shimmery shadow, on-fleek brows, or anything in between (you get the memo!), makeup allows us to get creative by experimenting and spicing things up – just like you should in the bedroom ;)
A handful of people, myself included, find makeup fun and therapeutic. In fact, back in my single days, I sometimes found my glam routine leading up to the date to be more fun than the actual date itself.
It can boost self-esteem.
Whenever my eyes are puffy from crying over a stupid boy or if I am feeling super nervous before a meeting, I will often keep red lipstick in my purse to apply before practicing my power stance. (YSL #50 Rouge Neon is my go-to!)
However, it’s actually the act of blending, mixing, and experimenting with makeup that can help boost your self-esteem. Dr. Andreoli says that “wearing makeup is related to the feelings of mastery, autonomy, and control – all of which are key elements in fostering self-esteem.”
I’m totally on board with this messaging, which is why I took it upon myself to do some deeper digging. (You can thank me later.) Just take it from this Business Insider story that perhaps a bold lip or concealed face means more than what meets the eye. In the article, therapist and body image expert Temimah Zucker revealed that “Perhaps a bold lip color represents how powerful your words and thoughts can be. Or maybe concealer is less about concealing oneself, and more about being mindful that some people will see all of you, and others might not.”
So, next time you find yourself feeling down, gather your favorite makeup must-haves – mine is my Dior Lip Glow, my Tarte Tartelette eyeshadow palette, and, of course, my Beia Hydrating Setting Mist – and apply away.
It can actually help you feel more productive.
Although an uber-refreshing iced matcha or latte can certainly help to amp up your productivity levels, so can doing your hair and makeup. To us, it’s as simple as this: Look good, feel good, do good.
“Studies have shown that something as simple as makeup, a new hairdo, or the right outfit can literally impact how productive you are in your day,” says Oatman. After all, makeup is supposed to help you look *and* feel your best! Need I say more?
Happy swiping, girlfriend!