This Is What's Really Making You Look Old

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Just when you thought it didn’t really matter whether or not you put lipstick on before a trip to the grocery store, turns out, it does. Well, maybe for some it might. New research has found that how you use and apply makeup can affect how old people think you are.

The contrasting nature of facial features (which can be faked with makeup) is one of the subconscious cues that help us humans decipher how old a stranger is. Gettysburg College phycology professor Richard Russell, one of the researchers on the study, says that makeup enhances the contrast of say, our lips from our skin, and has culturally been worn to make our face appear more youthful and beautiful.

You see, as we age, the color of our lips, eyes and eyebrows change, while the skin becomes darker turning our face into one more monotone shade. The less contrast there is between the color of the skin and our features, the older we look. 

"The difference in redness between the lips and the surrounding skin decreases, as does the luminance between the eyebrow and the forehead, as the face ages," the study says. But the trick is that the mind is not consciously aware of noticing this. We typically only think of wrinkles and saggy skin as age signifiers. "Unlike with wrinkles, none of us are consciously aware that we're using this cue, even though it stares us in the face every day," says Russell.

Looks like it's time to apply some lipstick. Learn how to find the perfect lip color here.