We all know that most airlines have exacting grooming standards for their cabin crew. Female flight attendants are expected to wear makeup at all times when on duty and as brand ambassadors, cabin crew should always be presentable and ‘looking the part’. So when it comes to the recruitment process, you can bet airline recruiters will be judging how you look.
That’s not to say that you need to have perfected the exact ‘look’ of the airline but you most definitely need to show up at an Assessment Day looking well groomed. But is it possible to apply too much makeup? After all, there’s a fine line between what is and what isn’t acceptable.
And just like you and me, recruiters are only human – they’re susceptible to making split-second judgements of potential new cabin crew based on just their looks. If you want to stand the best chance of succeeding at an Assessment Day, you want to maximise your likeability.
And that’s where some really interesting scientific studies reveal how the way you wear your makeup can have a huge impact on what people think of you.
In a study led by Dr Christopher Watkins of Abertay University’s Division of Psychology, researchers discovered that women who wore excessive amounts of makeup wouldn’t be perceived as good leaders.
“This research follows previous work in this area, which suggests that wearing makeup enhances how dominant a woman looks,” explained Dr Watkins.
“While the previous findings suggest that we are inclined to show some deference to a woman with a good looking face, our new research suggests that makeup does not enhance a woman’s dominance by benefitting how we evaluate her in a leadership role.”
Using computer software, participants evaluated a series of photos of women from wearing no makeup to having a fully made up face for a “social night out”. The participants evaluated women more negatively as a leader if the image suggested she was wearing a lot of makeup.
Earlier research from Harvard University (and interestingly funded by the makers of Max Factor), goes even further, suggesting “makeup had significant positive effects on ratings of female facial attractiveness.”
But importantly, the way the makeup was applied also had a big impact. Using similar methods to the Abertay University study, participants were asked to rate three makeup ‘looks’ – natural, professional and glamorous – and then rate its effect on trustworthiness, likeability, competence and attractiveness.
Both the natural and professional looks had the most positive effects, with both looks having a significant impact on likability and the natural look increasing trustworthiness as well. The glamorous look, however, had a significantly negative effect on trustworthiness and had no impact on likeability.
The report’s authors suggested a “beauty halo effect” from wearing makeup can increase feelings of warmth and cooperation in others but a “dark side” of beauty can infer vanity and immodesty.
Not that we’re suggesting you enter an Assessment Day without wearing any makeup at all – the results definitely show the right makeup look can have a big impact on what people think of you. And in fact, another study from the UK showed that employers were less likely to hire women who showed up to an interview wearing no makeup at all.
And finally, there’s one more very good reason to wear makeup to your Assessment Day – in yet another study, researchers discovered that female students who wore makeup in an exam achieved higher scores than counterparts who simply listened to good mood music for example.
The right makeup can make you feel better and could even help you achieve more. Our advice is to stick to natural or professional looks that use a conservative colour palette – leave the glitter and bold colours at home!
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.