A recent study by Andrew Penner, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine, and Jaclyn Wong, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Chicago, found that there is nothing a woman can do—including being born gorgeous—that matches the power of working really hard to look good.
“Our research started out with the question of whether attractive people make more money than their average counterparts, and there was no surprise there,” explains Wong of the study, published in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. “Then we looked at gender differences, and we were surprised to find there were none—being attractive helps men in the workplace as much as it helps women.”
But do you make more money if you’re born a hottie or if it’s something you’ve cultivated and worked on? This is where gender differences reared their unequal heads in the study. Although poor grooming handicapped both genders professionally, good grooming—everything from wearing heels to having a nice haircut—dramatically sealed the deal for women and mattered far more than natural beauty. In fact, among women considered conventionally unattractive, the boost in salary between the well-groomed and the poorly groomed was one and a half times that of their male counterparts. Fair or not, if you want to succeed in business, be prepared to keep spending money on looking put together…and the pink tax that often goes along with it.