The findings are based on two years of research by cosmetics giant Kanebo.The company's 'Cosmetics, Beauty and Brain Science' project determined that there are distinct cognitive activities involved in a woman's perception of her face with and without make-up.
The researchers used a brain scanner and monitored activity in the caudate nucleus of the brain and found that when a woman sees her own face without make-up, she anticipates how she will eventually appear to others and a 'reward system' is activated, releasing dopamine to give sensations of pleasure.
"We know from previous research that when this area of the brain is activated we can derive pleasure from certain activities," the Telegraph quoted Keishi Saruwatari, of Kanebo's laboratories, as saying.
"We interpret that as meaning that when a woman looks at her face she is imagining how she will look when she has applied her make-up. "There is a mixture of expectation, encouragement and ambition," he said. "Make-up contributes to building relationships with others and feelings of pleasure in women," Saruwatari added.