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‘Attractive’ Women Make More Money, Study Says

2 minute read

That hour you spent getting ready for your last job interview or big meeting might have been time well spent: Women who style their clothes, hair and makeup earn higher salaries than those who don’t, according to a sociological study published in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.

The Washington Post explains (emphasis ours):

“The research, from Jacyln Wong of the University of Chicago and Andrew Penner of the University of California at Irvine, used data from a long-running national study of more than 14,000 people to look at the association between attractiveness and income. In the surveys, the interviewers asked people a variety of questions about their income, job, education, personality and other attributes. Interviewers also rated their interviewees on how attractive and how well-groomed they appeared.

Like past studies, the research showed that attractive people tended to earn higher salaries. But that wasn’t all. Their research suggested that grooming—practices such as applying makeup and styling hair and clothing—was actually what accounted for nearly all of the salary difference for women of varying attractiveness. For men, grooming didn’t make as much of a difference.”

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The researchers found that “very attractive” people—both men and women—earn 22% more than people who are only of “average attractiveness.” But among women, attractiveness was a net effect of styling, essentially.

“For women, most of the attractiveness advantage comes from being well groomed,” Wong told the Washington Post. “For men, only about half of the effect of attractiveness is due to grooming.”

Also worth noting: Women in this study earned less than men—no matter how they styled their hair.

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Write to Robin Hilmantel at robin.hilmantel@time.com