People Prefer Less Makeup, But Think Everyone Else Likes More Makeup, According to Study

Here's a shocking revelation: Humans have no idea what other people find attractive.

Recently, posting #nomakeupselfie photos was used to raise money for cancer research, but the idea has been around for a while. It's a little bit empowering (I don't need eyeliner to show my face to the world!) and involves a little bit of fishing for compliments (rarely do people post genuinely unflattering photos of their "bare" faces). And a psychologist at Bangor University in the U.K., fascinated by the phenomenon, decided to see if people really do prefer ye aulde #nomakeup glow.

When Dr. Alex Jones studied people's reactions to photos of women with varying degrees of makeup, he found that both men and women tended to find photos with less makeup more attractive. This is something we already knew: men don't like caked-on makeup, everybody likes a more natural look, makeup looks best when it's practically invisible, yawn. But here's the ironic twist: both sexes were pretty sure dudes found more makeup more attractive. And everyone was wrong about that.

Note that men and women found less makeup attractive, not zero makeup. Everyone's still into a little mascara. But the takeaway here is that we may be misguided about what other people think is hot — and this could be weighing us down. The study isn't groundbreaking, but it could prove helpful as a source of encouragement. If you're obsessing over shades of mascara because you're paranoid about looking good for someone in your life, remember: you think they care more about makeup than they actually do. It could be all in your head — and on your eyelashes.