Love at First Swipe

In a world ruled by bite-sized bios and split-sec­ond de­ci­sions, are ap­pear­ances ev­ery­thing? COSMO en­listed 10 women for a month-long Tin­der makeup ex­per­i­ment to ind out

Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - GET INTO IT - BY KATE FOS­TER

When Michael’s proile popped up on my Tin­der feed, my thumb moved in­stinc­tively to swipe left. Far from my usual artsy type, his frat-boy good looks and pho­tos fea­tur­ing beer and the req­ui­site puppy made me as­sume he’d be – how do I put this nicely? – a to­tal douche bag. And since my bio touts my love of writ­ing and punk mu­sic (unashamed hip­ster here), I ig­ured he prob­a­bly wouldn’t be into me ei­ther. But I was dat­ing un­der cover, with a proile pic of me wear­ing way more makeup than I nor­mally would – so I thought, why not? Per­haps Michael would be into this al­ter­nate ver­sion of me. I swiped right. Boom: we were a match!

The ex­per­i­ment

Ac­cord­ing to Tin­der sta­tis­tics, women wear­ing heavy makeup on the app are 55% more likely to be swiped right on than women wear­ing no makeup, and 26% more likely than women wear­ing light makeup.

So COSMO re­cruited 10 women (four are shown here) of di­verse back­grounds, eth­nic­i­ties and body types to dig deeper – specif­i­cally, to suss out how the way we do our makeup in­flu­ences who will ap­proach us, and how they’ll in­ter­act with us. We spent a month swip­ing on Tin­der: two weeks us­ing pro­files with nat­u­ral makeup (noth­ing more than light foun­da­tion, mas­cara and groomed brows) and two weeks on new ac­counts rock­ing glam to the nines (full-on con­tour, dra­matic eyes, ma­jor arches and bold lips). Pho­tos were taken in our of­fice to avoid outliers (rest­ing bitch faces, in­sane cleav­age). Ev­ery­thing else was kept con­stant be­tween our two pro­files, from bios to the num­ber of daily right swipes.

The re­sults

So, can a flick of eye­liner or bright lips re­ally mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween re­spect­ful con­ver­sa­tion and crude ad­vances? Bi­o­log­i­cal an­thro­pol­o­gist He­len Fisher, au­thor of Anatomy Of Love, says yes: ‘But it’s not that the same man would treat you dif­fer­ently be­tween the two ap­pear­ance types; it’s that you’re at­tract­ing an en­tirely dif­fer­ent type of man.’

Ac­cord­ing to her re­search, all of us (male and fe­male) are born with four ba­sic tem­per­a­ment styles. Which one you ex­press de­pends on your brain chem­istry. There are ex­plor­ers (whose high dopamine lev­els make them seek out new ex­pe­ri­ences), builders (in whom sero­tonin, a mood sta­biliser, is the most prom­i­nent), di­rec­tors (testos­terone, the tra­di­tional ‘male’ hor­mone, is the driver) and ne­go­tia­tors (oe­stro­gen dom­i­nates, so these are pri­mar­ily women).

‘Male di­rec­tors tend to be drawn to women high in oe­stro­gen,’ Fisher says. ‘Be­cause makeup of­ten mim­ics signs of higher oe­stro­gen lev­els (red lips, large eyes) it’s no sur­prise that higher lev­els of makeup at­tract the high-testos­terone men.’ Some traits of di­rec­tors?

What­ever you’re look­ing for on­line, one thing is clear: makeup is a pow­er­ful tool for tak­ing charge of your love life

Self-con­fi­dence and as­sertive­ness but with re­duced em­pa­thy – sim­i­lar to the guys we en­coun­tered on our glam pro­files.

On the flip side, men ex­pres­sive of the ex­plor­ers style (they tend to be cu­ri­ous, en­er­getic and cre­ative) and builders style (they’re more tra­di­tional rule-fol­low­ers) are more likely to care about in­ter­ests in a Tin­der bio – like if you’re into hik­ing or look­ing to start a fam­ily – rather than ap­pear­ance alone. These, Fisher hy­poth­e­sises, are the men we crossed paths with on our nat­u­ral ac­counts.

What­ever you’re look­ing for on­line, one thing is clear: makeup is a pow­er­ful tool for tak­ing charge of your love life. Want to weed out the play­ers? Try an #IWokeUpLikeThis shot as your main photo. Seek­ing a flirty convo or a FWB? Work in pics with liner or lip­stick.

As for Michael, my hot, jock-y glam match? Af­ter a few days of tex­ting back and forth, we met up. Four mar­gar­i­tas and five hours of flirty ban­ter later, I walked home – my cat’s eye melted off from cry­ing with laugh­ter, my red lip­stick worn away from a good­bye kiss. Hello, fu­ture hook-up!

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