Some of the reasons for women wearing makeup include beauty, confidence and giving a boost to an otherwise wearied appearance. A more fundamental reason, however, may be to exaggerate natural sex differences.
Specifically, women generally have darker eyes and lips than men do naturally, and makeup serves to highlight these characteristics. Blusher products may also serve to make women look healthier, while foundation can give an impression of symmetry in the skin tone.
Ancient Roman attitudes to makeup considered it as a sort of magic or manipulation. Indeed, the modern Italian word for makeup is "trucco," which means "trick." The ancient philosopher, Seneca, blamed it for the degradation of morality in Roman society.
Although many women wear makeup in order to feel more attractive, research suggests that it might not necessarily make women more attractive to men. According to a Bangor University study, men and women were shown images of female models with varying amounts of makeup. The female participants were asked to rate how attractive they thought men would find each image, consistently voting for the images with more makeup. In reality, however, the male participants rated those with less makeup to be more attractive.
The results of the study suggest that, while women wear makeup largely to attract others, their idea of what others find attractive is often erroneously weighted in favor of more makeup than is actually necessary.