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Why Women Still Are Forced To Pay the ‘Makeup Tax’

Photo: Driely S.

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The makeup tax is real: The Atlantic's Olga Khazan found stats that suggest that the average woman will spend $15,000 in her lifetime on beauty products and could devote as many as two weeks per year of her life applying all that product.

Khazan than takes aim at the most common response to this issue: "Just don’t wear makeup!" She lists all the depressing ways sciences has proven that society pushes wearing makeup as a cultural norm:

- In one study, women who were made up were likely to be awarded "prestigious jobs" by study participants than they were when the same women were bare-faced.

- Male diners at restaurants tip more when female waitresses wear makeup.

One study suggested that a subtle amount of makeup could improve how people perceive a woman’s likability, her competence, and trustworthiness.

- In another study, both men and women surveyed thought "regular" women looked best when they applied a moderate amount of makeup.

Khazan sums up the findings like this: "Years of research has shown that attractive people earn more. Thus, the makeup tax: Good-looking men and good-looking women both get ahead, but men aren't expected to wear makeup in order to look good."

Is there any way to fix this? Khazan suggests that the option to work from home could help workers not be judged so much for their appearances, and wishes that Hillary Clinton would've given a real answer when asked why it's fair that a woman feels like she has to spend 30 minutes getting ready in order to feel professional at work, when her boyfriend dashes out the door in five minutes.