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The Science of Social Vision$
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Reginald B. Adams, Nalini Ambady, Ken Nakayama, and Shinsuke Shimojo

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195333176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195333176.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 December 2020

Why Cosmetics Work

Why Cosmetics Work

(p.186) Chapter 10 Why Cosmetics Work
The Science of Social Vision

Richard Russell

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the question of whether personal decoration practices are arbitrary or follow discernable rules. The primary focus of investigation is the practice of color cosmetics(make-up). It begins by demonstrating the existence of a sex difference in facial contrast, then presents evidence that cosmetics are used in precisely the correct way to exaggerate this sex difference, making the face appear more feminine, and hence attractive. It then describes ways in which cosmetics are used to manipulate other factors of beauty in addition to sexual dimorphism. It proposes that cosmetics can be viewed as a kind of technology for manipulating these universal factors of facial attractiveness. Finally, the chapter discusses how this account of cosmetics may relate to personal decoration in general.

Keywords:   cosmetics, beauty, attractiveness, sex differences, facial contrast, personal decoration

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