Comparing mating motivations, social processes, and personality as predictors of women’s cosmetics use.

Women’s cosmetics use has been argued to serve a mating function, although previous studies have demonstrated that makeup use is also related to social attitudes and individual variation in personality. To date, however, no studies have actively compared how well mating strategies, social factors, and personality might predict women’s cosmetics use. To investigate this, 119 female participants (Mage = 25.59) completed a survey with questions related to mating variables (sociosexual orientation and intrasexual competition), social factors (social comparison and adherence to social roles), and personality (narcissism). These variables were then used to predict both the frequency of cosmetic use (daily or not daily), and quantity of cosmetic application. Regression analyses showed that a restricted mating orientation and competitive tactic use increased the odds of women wearing makeup daily, while unrestricted mating orientation and narcissism best predicted how much cosmetics women used. While on the surface contradictory, these results imply that the frequent use of cosmetics serve to enhance mate value in order to attract a long-term mate, while the amount of cosmetics used serve as a self-promotion tactic. Neither outcome was predicted by social factors, in contrast to sociological arguments that cosmetics use is due to social pressures. The results demonstrate that when considering mating strategies, personality, and social processes together, mating strategies and narcissism are the best predictors of cosmetics use. This study adds to our understanding of motivations for cosmetics use and opens new avenues for investigation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)