Are Cosmetics the Secret to Looking Younger?
There’s a lot of confusion about whether makeup makes us look older or younger, and often the conventional wisdom of makeup tends to contradict itself. For example: did you pile on the eyeshadow as a teenager, hoping not to get carded? Or, do you think that a woman of “a certain age” shouldn’t wear dark lipstick because it’s too harsh?
The answers to beauty’s greatest contradictions may lie in science. A new study suggests that there may be a more subtle cue to evaluating someone’s age: Facial contrast. Essentially, there may be scientific proof that cosmetics actually can help us look younger.
Psychology professor Richard Russell and CERIES (an independent research foundation established by Chanel in 1991) published a study in March of this year assessing 289 faces ranging from 20 to 70 years old. According to the study, redness of the lips, definition of the eye, and the luminance contrast between the brows and forehead are all subconscious cues for assessing a person’s age. They found that the color and depth of eyebrows, eyes, and lips contrasted less and less with the surrounding skin as age increased. In other words, as age increased, contrast decreased. And contrast, it turns out, is important in visually determining how we age.