Comfortably seated on the couch in my living room, I sip a cup of fresh coffee and listen to mellow music on my Ipad after an exhausting day. I am tired, but I am happy. I closed my eyes and I saw faces of may past clients. Hundreds of them. Beautiful and average, young and old, some of them I clearly remember and others just emerge out from some deep corners of my memory and fly away before I can recognize them. Today, they transformed a simple, average looking woman into a star. I watched her stare at her own image in the mirror and fall in love with herself again, after years of being neglected by the man she adored. I saw her smile. I felt her happiness. I am a makeup artist and I love my work. I help women to achieve their dream looks, help them gain self-confidence and help them feel good about themselves.

Makeup does amazing things. It can completely change a person or enhance the already beautiful features they posses. In one YouTube video, several men try women’s makeup for the firs time. In this video, witness makeup transformations of 10 women and finally in this YouTube clip see what a football player has to say about makeup. Celebrities in Hollywood take full advantage of makeup to sell you a dream (also click here). Everyone has their own opinion about wearing makeup. In this blog post I am going to argue the following:

1) Wearing makeup have positive impact on women’s career.
2) Wearing makeup boost self-esteem of the wearer.
3) Many male partners prefer their wives/girlfriends with only minimal makeup or completely without makeup.

Before striving to answer these questions, I would like to share with you some of my personal experiences with makeup. When I was younger, I didn’t like make up on anyone and i don’t like wearing them as well. I was against it because I thought it alters the a natural beauty of women. I did not realize the importance of make-up until we moved to the Middle East. People here pay much more attention to their looks than people in the US. How you look is very important here, because you will be treated according to your looks. Women wearing designer clothes, shoes hand bags, expensive watches are treated better. Also, Caucasian people are treated better than Asian people or people from Africa. I experienced it first-hand. Many maids, nannies and other low paid female workers in Middle East are from South East Asia. I am from the Philippines. Hence, when I go shopping without make-up and dressed as in jeans and a T-shirt, people treat me as a maid. Being a nanny or a maid in the Middle East is mostly equivalent to being a modern day slave. The employer has absolute power over you, holds your passport, pays you salary at will (never mind the contract). Many maids work 16 hours a day 7 days a week with no days off and vacation. People look down at them and are generally rude to them because they know that no one will protect them. So, many times when I went to the mall, women would give me bad looks, people tried to get in front of me in while I was waiting in the line at the supermarket checkout, and generally I was not treated fairly every time I went out. When I started to put on makeup, things changed significantly. Especially when I did a makeup that changed my face completely so that I looked Caucasian 🙂 .

See below my transformation from 2003 until 2012. The 2009 picture was taken the day I interviewed for a job with MAC Cosmetics. (I thought that I was wearing a lot of makeup – I wear more makeup now 🙂 .) I just can’t get over the looks that I had when I did not have makeup on, I think I looked very unhealthy 🙂 .


Looking back at those times when I did not wear makeup, I now realize I would have been much more successful if I was wearing makeup. Makeup can not only help you to conceal imperfections of your face, but also help to conceal emotions that you don’t want to reveal to the outside. For instance, during the interview for a position at MAC Cosmetics I was wearing full make up. I was very nervous and stressed and without makeup I would look like as white as a sheet of paper. But, because I had face drenched with make-up complemented with a strong red lipstick, I was able to hide my fears behind my makeup mask, like actors in the Old Greece used to hide their faces behind masks (now I wear even heavier makeup than before). So, using this mask, I was able to project a strong persona with mega self-confidence to the hiring manager and, of course, I got the job as a makeup artist 🙂 . Since that day, I started loving make-up. I became to think of my makeup as a shield. It was a mask under which I can hide, and I can be someone else, a tougher and stronger person, who will not be so easily hurt and frightened.

Most of the Middle East women never go out without makeup. They are crazy about branded perfumes and cosmetics. Many of women prefer to use expensive makeup brands such as MAC, Chanel and Dior because these brands represent a status symbol. In particular, MAC cosmetics is the most successful brand in the Middle East (MAC products are primarily used for stage makeup and are fairly expensive). MAC company sells more products in the Middle east than in USA and Canada combined.

The Islamic culture does not allow to wear excessive jewelry in public and women cover themselves in plain black cloth (they can have designer clothes under it, but these are not to be seen in public). Many also cover their face with only the eyes visible. So face or just eyes are the only body parts that one can see in public. Therefore, women here pay special attention to their eyes makeup. I think every culture have there own standards of beauty. In the Middle East, generally men are attracted to women wearing makeup. In fact, it is not only the husband who demands that his future wife wears makeup. Before the engagement, the man’s family and the woman’s family also wants the future bride to be enhanced before they show her to their sons. In the past 3 years I have been doing a lot of makeup for women that are about to be engaged. The mother and sister of the future bride always ask me to make their daughter/sister exceptionally stunning but natural looking. Engagement is the seduction stage — often this is when the couple meet for the first time. Not only the bride-to-be have to look the best she can, but also the groom have to look good as well (mostly the groom is a first cousin or a relative). That means grooms have go to the salon and get enhanced as well 🙂 . During the engagement the future groom and the bride meet (this is the only time that a women does not have to be covered up in front of a man who is not her husband, brother or father) with their close family present. After this meeting they decide if they want to marry each other. If they do agree, some families will allow the bride to see the groom before the marriage date but some families don’t allow the bride any contact with the groom at all. Many times, the second time the couple meet is to sign their marriage contract. During this time the bride has to look stunning as well because the groom can still change his mind 🙂 . The wedding celebrations comes the last. The only males, that are not members of the immediate family of the bride, that are allowed to see the bride uncovered during the short marriage ceremony are the husband and his father. All other women has to be covered during the ceremony until all men leave. After the ceremony women and men separate and each gender continues celebration in different venues. The bride has to look beautiful not only because of her husband, but also because her mother-in-law, sisters-in-law and friends of the family will see her and judge her. They also strive to look their best. A typical Qatari wedding has anywhere from 1000 to 5000 people and creates employment for hundreds of makeup artists. (Note that, Qatar is the richest country in the world per capita).

You can see samples of my work on my Instagram. The pictures you see there are from the pictorials that I did for local magazines. It is against the culture here to take pictures of my clients. When performing artist Marina Abramovic visited VCU Qatar in November last year, I was very excited to do her makeup.
Marina and I

Marina and Nisreen

I took these photos just days before she presented an award to Lady Gaga at Glamour Magazin’s 23rd Annual Women Of The Year Awards. Marina is a mentor to Lady Gaga and treated her depression by her own “Abramovic Method.” (Would you guess that Marina was 67 years old at the time these pictures were taken?)

1) Wearing makeup have positive impact on women’s career.

Here is some evidence to prove this claim. In the paper, “Cosmetics: They Influence More Than Caucasian Female Facial Attractiveness“, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, the authors statistically evaluated responses of over 300 subjects to 8 photographs of women taken with and without makeup. Women presented wearing cosmetics were perceived as healthier and more confident than when presented without. Participants also perceived women wearing cosmetics with a greater earning potential and with more prestigious jobs than the same women without cosmetics. The study concluded that women can employ cosmetics to manipulate their appearance and reap up possible benefits, such as being successful at a job interview or negotiating higher salary. By wearing makeup they may also benefit from a boost in positive self-perception and well-being that appears to be associated with wearing makeup. The paper Enhanced female attractiveness with use of cosmetics and male tipping behavior in restaurants, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, investigated male tipping behavior. This was a field study, as apposed to my two previous examples that were conducted in a laboratory setting. One waitress was used in 15 week study, alternatively having a natural look and makeup look. The study confirmed the suspected outcome, that is that male patrons gave tips more often to a waitress who wore makeup and that when they did so they gave her a larger amount of money and that both male and female patrons found the waitress to be more attractive when wearing makeup. The authors also found that there was no difference in tipping patterns of female patrons.

These two academic studies, one theoretical and one practical, both clearly support the idea that wearing makeup have a positive impact on women’s career, and therefore yield a positive answer to question 1). The second paper presents a specific example how wearing makeup lead to higher earnings, but also indicates that gender will play a distinctive role in the study. Notice that all the extra money for the waitress came from male patrons. Would my grandmother read these papers, she would just wave her hand and say: “These academics are just wasting whoever’s money is paying them, to investigate questions that any 12 year old can answer.” She would say: “If your manager is a man, wear makeup, if she is a women be careful with makeup.” This is common sense. As for the tipping experiment — any grown up women or man (or maybe even an 12 year old 🙂 ) would predict the outcome correctly, am I right? This said, there are limitations and wearing too much makeup can actually hurt you. Heavy makeup is often associated with a certain very old profession and may be in fact a turn off, especially if you are applying for or trying to get promoted to a position that requires some brain power (see here). But again, this is common sense.

Check out these six looks and see if you agree with the opinions of the authors. The article “Makeup Tips For Your Career: Can More Lipstick Make You Appear More Competent?” published in Huffington Post concludes that “The results showed that makeup can greatly enhance a first impression no matter how much you put on, boosting women’s ratings in attractiveness, likability, competence, and trustworthiness across the board, but that a little eye-shadow can mean the difference between being admired and not being trusted.” Actresses, broadcasters, female or male, wear makeup because it makes them look better on camera. Since they look better on camera, they look better in reality as well. Hence, use make-up to enhance your beauty and have a better career, but do not overdo it since you may end up looking like a clown or worse:)


2) Wearing makeup boost self-esteem of the wearer.

As in the proof of the first claim, let us see what the academics have to say. In the study Relation between facial morphology, personality and the functions of facial make-up in women published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, the investigators concerned themselves with the study of relations between specific emotional and psychological profiles and the use of makeup. In an experiment, sixty-two Caucasian female subjects, that use makeup daily, were divided into two distinct groups depending whether they use makeup for camouflage (group C) of seduction (group S). Women in group S had mostly high self-esteem, high assertiveness and low anxiety, while women in group C had mostly low self-esteem, low assertiveness and high anxiety. The results of this article suggest that make-up is used differently, depending on psychological profiles of women, to manipulate their facial features to enhance their attractiveness. A study by Sarah Berry suggests that British teenagers use makeup to boost their self-esteem (by enhancing their appearance). She writes: “In a survey of British teenagers, appearance was rated above support of family and having a rewarding job when it came to factors affecting self-esteem. Similarly worrying was a survey of US women in which 50 per cent of respondents had negative feelings about their physical appearance without make-up.” Moreover, she concludes that an average (British) woman spends 270,000 UKP on makeup in her lifetime. There is an overwhelming evidence of online and magazine articles to the claim that wearing makeup boosts ones self-esteem. Common sense also tells us that a woman who puts makeup on voluntarily should feel better after the makeup application.

3) Many male partners prefer their wives/girlfriends with only minimal makeup or completely without makeup.

I think we can agree that men generally find women, who are not acquainted with them, more attractive when they are wearing makeup, especially if the makeup is used in a proper way and the woman really looks more beautiful than without makeup, read, for instance, “What Men Think of You Without Makeup“). This conclusion is also supported by the findings of two academic papers that were mentioned in connection with question 1), “Cosmetics: They Influence More Than Caucasian Female Facial Attractiveness” and Enhanced female attractiveness with use of cosmetics and male tipping behavior in restaurants. In fact many man also prefer their partner wearing cosmetics. For instance, in “this blog post” a women complains that her husband is upset that she stopped wearing makeup on Sundays after 22 years of marriage and that “he is worried that this is the beginning of a “downward spiral” for her into a messy, slobby woman with permanent razor stubble.” In her interview with Harper’s Bazaar Gwen Stefani said: “I like to make my husband like me more, and he likes it when I’m wearing makeup.” Orlando Bloom also preferred his wife ex-Miranda Kerr to wear makeup. (What’s wrong with Orlando? Miranda is one of the most gorgeous women out there with or without makeup!)

But, browsing numerous articles on this topic, I found out that even though most men find omen wearing makeup more attractive, many men prefer their partners to wear minimal or no makeup at all. For instance, in the blog post “My Boyfriend Likes Me Better without Makeup” a women states that her boyfriend prefers her natural look. Furthermore, she states that “Men hit on me more often and women complimented my complexion.” Some answers to the question: “Why some men prefer their women sans makeup?”, can be found in the article “Men Tell Us How They Really Feel About Women Wearing Makeup.” According to this article, one man said: “Having to wear make-up seven days a week in order to secure your spouse’s happiness seems bonkers. I don’t appreciate too much makeup use, because I know it’s fake and feel like the person is afraid to show who they really are.” When asked by his wife whether he would want her to wear makeup every day, one husband replied: “I think it would be a waste of your time.” Another man wrote: “When grown men talk about what makes and keeps them happy, makeup is never on the list. I prefer makeup to be for occasions where I get to see her outside of her natural beauty, slightly enhanced. Makeup should help her feel good, not make me feel good. To say otherwise would be selfish to me and degrading to her. It should not be a part of my daily decision of whether or not I’m happy. Any man who is happy with makeup and not his woman should have married a makeup counter.”

Another reason why many men don’t like their girlfriends/wives wearing makeup when most of them are attracted to women waring makeup, could be one that they will never admit in public — jealousy. Many man feel insecure when their partner is too attractive. (Recall the classical american song: If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, make an ugly woman your wife 🙂 .)
I know a very beautiful friend of mine whose husband is buying her tons of chocolates in order to make her fat. so that she is less attractive to others. A legitimate reason why some man may prefer their partner without makeup may be the concern about their partner’s well being. Some boyfriends/husbands may be aware of the adverse effects that make-up may have on their partners (I will discuss this issue in more detail later) and so they would rather forfeit the immediate benefit of having a more beautiful girlfriend/wife to the long term goal of having a healthier partner in the future. According to one study an average American woman eats 7 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime. That’s a lot of aluminium and other cancerous chemicals being disposed to her body! For others, their partner’s not wearing makeup may be a sign of intimacy that they will cherish.

Based on my research, I believe that most men find a woman more attractive if she is wearing makeup, provided that the woman is unacquainted to them. But many men prefer their girlfriends or wives to wear little or no makeup. Therefore, it seems that makeup helps a you to get noticed, but when you are in a long term relationship, your boyfriend or husband has probably already seen you at your worst. And because he is still around he probably liked what he saw, and by that I mean not only your physical attributes, but also your personality. Therefore, he may prefer to see the real you, which means minimal or no makeup. (You can read what a woman who went a year without makeup has to say here.) But a loving partner will not complain if you wear a full makeup, provided that’s what you like.

Keep it safe!

It seems to me that people in general are not worried about, or are unaware of, some negative side effects that long term wearing of makeup can cause. And since this blog is about makeup, I feel that I should talk a little bit about some dangers that excessive makeup can cause in the long run. Common sense tells us that makeup has to have some negative side effects. And indeed, sometimes makeup does have them. But not all makeup is harmful, and one should be knowledgeable about makeup ingredients. For instance, makeup can cause allergic reactions or some eyeliners may not be suited for people wearing contact lenses. In his article “Top 10 Harmful Effects of Using Cosmetics” Neil Verma writes: “With the benefits, cosmetics also bring danger of diseases like cancer and many other chronic ones. Lipstick contains aluminum which may cause long term anemia and even glucose intolerance. Many products contain chemicals like zinc oxide, BHA, barium sulphate etc. are very harmful for body and may result in many organ failures like that of kidney and liver. Further if swallowed even by mistake; generally the lip cares, lip balms and lipsticks go in with food can lead to many respiratory diseases also. It has also bensen reported that cosmetics like body moisturizers can cause trouble to endocrine system as well and disturb the thyroid content of body. Another online publication “What Are the Effects of Makeup on the Skin?” warns, among others, about clogged pores and acne. Kay Uzoma writes: “Many people who wear makeup never get a single pimple. So while it’s incorrect to say that makeup can cause acne, it can make it flare up if you already have blemishes. A pimple is a hair follicle plugged with oil and dead skin cells combined with adverse bacterial activity. When you wear foundations and powders that clog your pores and hair follicles even more, you can aggravate acne. The AAD recommends avoiding oil makeup and using non-acnegenic or noncomedogenic makeup, which won’t block your pores.”

As a general advice, when using makeup, look for products that are fragrance-free and oil-free, since these ingredients are usually the most irritating to the skin. Look for products that are labeled hypoallergenic since these are less likely to cause allergic reactions, noncomedogenic — these products won’t block pores, and nonacnegenic — these products should not won’t cause acne to became worse. One should also know that none of these three terms are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and so you should carefully monitor the reaction of your skin to any makeup product and discontinue its use if you encounter any adverse reaction. Makeup contain a variety of ingredients, some are beneficial and some may be even potentially dangerous. If you use makeup on a daily basis, an alarming amount of chemicals may be be absorbed into your skin, or be breathed into your lungs. In this situation, you should definitely know what potentially harmful ingredients your makeup has in it and take precautions that these ingredients do not affect your health. You should avoid wearing makeup or use only minimal makeup if you suffer from acne. It is also extremely important that you remove all your makeup before you go to bed at night. Wearing makeup overnight is always harmful to your skin. This Yale School of Medicine publication has a lot of useful information in it on how to treat your skin. If you would like to educate yourself more in this direction, just Google “effects+makeup.”


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