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Biology Backs Up the Need to Look Good

Posted: April 12, 2010
Four crushed eye shadows in different colors

More than $40 billion is spent on cosmetics globally each year and hundreds of hours are spent applying creams, lotions and powders. Even with the recent downturn in the economy, makeup addicts have simply turned to drugstores, instead of high-end boutiques, to snag their products, according to a recent consumer report by Euromonitor International.

Some people treasure their makeup and can't imagine life without it. Others would argue all this time and money is wasted. But what does science say? Biologists argue that cosmetics can play a significant role in how your life turns out.

While it is often said that love is blind, "physical attractiveness seems to be one of the most prominent factors, if not the most significant one, in human mate selection," said behavioral biologist Bernhard Fink of the University of Gottingen in Germany. And cosmetics enhance attractiveness in a quantifiable and real-world relevant way, Fink said.

Cosmetics have also been shown to boost earning potential and perhaps even make a promotion more likely, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology in 2006.

But before letting the woman behind the makeup counter pack up a duffel bag of "life-altering" products, you might wish to know which ones are worth the dollars and time.