Painted (2012)

Scarlet, Crimson, Vermillion, Carmine, & Ruby

Giclee Print
- 10" x 8"
What a red mouth can tell us about perceived economic conditions and human nature all without even saying a word.

Researchers in France have found that red lipstick boosted female waitresses' tips from male customers (though not from female customers). Researchers, Nicolas Guéguen and Céline Jacob of the Université de Bretagne-Sud, had 7 waitresses wear red, pink, brown or no lipstick while serving 447 customers in three restaurants in the town of Vannes.

They found that male patrons gave tips more frequently to waitresses wearing red lipstick than to other waitresses, and, when they tipped, they gave more. This effect was only found with the colour red.

A related study by scientists at Manchester University, involved tracking the eye movements of 50 men as they were presented with images of different women.

Scientists found that in the ten seconds after meeting a lady for the first time, the average man will spend more than half his time gazing at the mouth. More so if lipstick is applied, on average at least 7 seconds (pink: 6.7 seconds, red: 7.3 seconds). Without make-up, the average time dropped to 2.2 seconds.

Lead researcher Dr Geoff Beattie believes ‘this study proves that lips represent one of the most sensual aspects of a woman’s body and play a critical role in human sexual attraction. Full and red lips combined deliver the perfect pout to achieve male fixation, but women who simply wear lipstick – regardless of their lip type – secure significantly greater levels of attraction than those who do not.'

‘For centuries, women have painted their lips red to enhance their appeal, with this practice dating back as far as the Ancient Egyptians who commonly used red lipstick and rouge to enhance their attractiveness.

‘The research suggests that red lips and perceived attractiveness are still inextricably linked, with red lipstick proving to be the most powerful attractor and significantly increasing visual fixation.’

Interestingly, although average spending decreases during a recession, there is an exception when it comes to beauty products. Dubbed the ‘Lipstick effect’ women put more emphasis on looking good and spending more to do so in tough times.

The lipstick effect is one of several alternative economic indicators, which include The Economist’s Big Mac Index, and the Men’s Underwear Index (MUI).

So what does this all mean? It could be as simple as looking good to feel good. Or maybe it goes deeper, maybe it has more to do with built in survival instincts. A tool used for attracting partners to one another, helping to forge a bond and increase each others survival through hard times.

Both say something about the human mind and its subconscious drive to persist through adversity. Either through the love of self or the the love of another.