November 29, 2022

The Psychology of Makeup and How It Impacts Your Business 

FILED IN: Uncategorized

Why does showing up as the face of your brand matter so much to your business growth?

My response to this question had me scrambling through mental notes from psychology journals (that I read for fun, by the way). A basic understanding of how the brain processes the first impression is helpful to answering this questions.

Whether from a scroll on Instagram, seeing an ad campaign, or watching a reel for the first time, the viewer’s mind begins to run the image through a hardwired facial recognition software to determine if the subject is trustworthy. In a fraction of a second (1/10, to be exact), a person can look at a static post and immediately begin to look for 2 things. 

First, the brain processes the shape of the face looking for symmetry, balance, and proportion. Humans have a basic instinctual need to assess whether the presence in front of them is a threat or an ally. We’re not consciously sizing up the shape of someone’s face looking for symmetry and balance. But this neurological need to gauge attraction leads to an impression of the subject’s intelligence, capability, likability, and trustworthiness.

This list sounds like the “Know, like, and trust” factor we work hard to achieve with our followers.  

Next, the brain searches for emotional cues. For example, someone may be sweet and deferring, yet something about the shape of their eyebrows or the corners of their mouth makes them look angry. This can form a negative impression in the viewer’s mind that the person did not intend to create.

“But you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover!”

The word “shouldn’t” implies that human beings naturally do just that. No matter what degree of integrity, character, or emotional intelligence a person develops, human beings possess a solid primal instinct for self-preservation. In other words, we shouldn’t judge each other’s “covers,” but we do.

Humans are hardwired to size up others and classify them as either a threat or an ally. 

Human beings make snap judgments about one another based on outward appearance. 

However, human beings can master the skill of guiding the eye to their advantage. 

What does this have to do with makeup? 

Business owners, brand builders, and creative entrepreneurs are working so hard to build the know, like, and trust factor across all of the online platforms that we show up to every day. I teach my clients how to leverage makeup to guide the viewer’s eye to their advantage. But not just to their benefit but to the advantage of the people they serve and the audience they nurture. 

The psychology of makeup is all about impression management.

When you show up as the face of your brand, you are serving your audience by allowing them to feel more deeply connected to you. Your audience wants to see your face. Your stock photos are beautiful. Your Canva graphics are gorgeous. Nevertheless, your audience wants to see you. When you show up on camera as the face of your brand, you influence your audience. When you show up as the face of your brand, having considered and mastered the skill of impression management, you are effectively sending your leads or prospects your audience the following message :

“I realize that you are involuntarily forming an opinion of me at this moment. I humbly accept that you can’t help but rank my attractiveness to determine whether I am smart, competent, and sincere. So, I am doing you the service of removing any barriers of suspicion between us by tailoring my appearance to satisfy your instinctive need for balance, familiarity, and emotional connection. I have ensured that my intelligence, capability, likability, and trustworthiness are supported by an impression I intentionally create. The potential impact of my brand’s message to transform your reality is worth the effort. You are worth the effort. The time, the skill, and the intention it takes to guide your eye to signal to your brain that this connection is and will be to your advantage is worth the effort.” 

When you’re in business, impression management is worth the effort. Learning how to do your own makeup like a pro will benefit your confidence and brand image. It will strengthen your online, but it is also one of the most humble, thoughtful, and intentional things you can do for your audience.

This explanation may seem like a lot of pressure to put on lipstick or a contour powder. However, your viewers’ brains are working overtime to make sense of the shape of your face, the shape of your eyebrows, the corners of your mouth, the colors that you choose, and the message these cues send. 

You create symmetry, proportion, dimension, and interest by mastering your makeup look. You will go from looking tired, washed out, and dull on camera to looking vibrant and excited to be delivering your content. In addition, your makeup should magnetically attract your audience to your message. Makeup is an easy and effective way to remove any subconscious barrier of suspicion that your viewers may have of you to no fault of your own or their own. It’s just how the brain is wired and isn’t anybody’s fault. 

The best thing you can do at the threshold of a first impression to reinforce the “Know, Like, and Trust Factor” is to leverage makeup as a tool and skill. By mastering your on-screen look, you can effectively and confidently show up as the face of your brand and serve your audience in a big way.

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