You might guess that spending extra time getting ready in the morning would help you out at the office. After all, research has shown that attractive women make more money, and grooming is all about making us more attractive, right? But the Wall Street Journal’s blog The Juggle cites a fascinating study that found that on average, spending more time on personal grooming actually leads to a drop in earnings – but only for women.
The study, by Jayoti Das and Stephen De Loach of North Carolina’s Elon University, found that if a white woman doubles the time she spends primping to 90 minutes from 45 minutes, her income falls by an average of 3.4%. (Interestingly, minority men who double their grooming time from 40 to 80 minutes gain an average of 4%.) The researchers drew their data from national time-use surveys, which define grooming as activities like combing your hair, choosing clothes for the day, applying moisturizer, and more.
What’s the explanation? The researchers say it “may have to do with the negative stereotypes associated with an ‘overly groomed’ woman in the workplace.” Perhaps women with tweezed-to-death eyebrows and teased-to-death hair are signaling that their priorities lie outside the office.
And an overly “done” look won’t just hurt you when it comes to salary negotiations – it will also cost you more money to maintain. A new British survey conducted by a deodorant company found that women spend £100,000 (currently the equivalent of about $164,000) on makeup over the course of their lifetimes. That works out to an astonishing $65 a week between ages 16 and 65.
No one would advise you to throw out all your Clinique and go au naturel cold turkey. But it’s worth considering that over the course of a career, you are probably pouring way more time and money into your physical appearance than you have to – and that’s time and money that the guys at work are free to spend elsewhere.
Is your morning routine holding you back?