It may take up valuable minutes every morning, carefully applying eye shadow, lipstick and mascara.
But make-up really does make women look younger, a scientific study has concluded.
Using bold shades of lipstick and eyeshadow, as well as a good eyebrow pencil, can roll back the years by making facial features more vivid.
Psychologists have discovered we judge how youthful someone looks by the extent to which their eyes, eyebrows and mouth stand out against their skin.
However, as women age, decades of exposure to the sun make the skin darker and more red in tone, dialling down that contrast.
When researchers digitally altered women’s faces to reduce the contrast between skin and facial features, nearly 80 per cent of people judged those women to be older.
A scientific study has found that women who wear makeup are proven to look younger
The authors say using make-up to make the eyes and mouth darker against the skin could therefore make females look younger.
Co-author Dr Richard Russell, from Gettysburg College in the US, said: ‘In terms of make-up, one thing which could be drawn from this study would be that if you are a woman who is older and desiring to look younger, darkening the eyebrows and eyes and making the lips redder does have the effect of making a face appear somewhat younger.
‘We are not consciously aware of looking at this generally, but facial contrast seems to be a sign of ageing.’
While hairstyle and facial shape have been shown to affect how old someone looks, the contrast between their skin and facial features is a new discovery.
Lead author Aurelie Porcheron, from the University of Grenoble, said: ‘Facial contrast refers to how much the eyes, lips and eyebrows stand out in the face in terms of how light or dark they are or how colourful they are.’
The study determined that facial contrast changes as we age after measuring it in the faces of 763 women aged from 20 to 80.
Young women have dark eyes and mouths which stand out against their skin. But older women see their eyebrows fade, while decades of exposure to UV light change the colour of their skin.
The researchers mimicked this change by altering images of women to make their eyebrows, eyes and mouths stand out more or less against their skin.
The study determined that facial contrast changes as we age after measuring it in the faces of 763 women aged from 20 to 80
When 182 people were asked to pick the youngest face, almost four in five said women whose features were darkest against their skin tone looked youngest.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, states that this supports the theory that ‘a universal function of cosmetics is to make female faces look younger’.
The researchers looked at women of different ethnicities, including white French women, Chinese, Latin American and South African women.
The lead author said: ‘People of different cultures use facial contrast as a cue for perceiving age from the face, even though they are not consciously aware of it.
‘The results also suggest that people could actively modify how old they look, by altering how much their facial features stand out, for example by darkening or colouring their features.’