The answer to the above question is yes, reports the New York Times. A study conducted by the The Journal of Consumer Research revealed that when women were shown advertisements of beauty-enhancing products such as mascara and perfume, they were apt to feel less attractive than if they were shown ads of problem solving products like acne medication and deodorant. Most interestingly, the advertisements used in the study didn’t show gorgeous models. Instead, the ads simply showed a product in a stylish setting. If women were shown the picture of a lipstick for example, and next to the lipstick was a luxurious cashmere scarf; the luxury scarf implied wealth, resulting in women feeling less adequate if they didn’t feel they had the wealth associated with the scarf next to the lipstick.
Maybe the reason behind why women buy so many beauty products is deeper than self-enhancement and vanity. Perhaps, the use of beauty products is a woman’s way of living vicariously through a product that symbolizes the life she hopes to attain.