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Study: Red lipstick elicits bigger tips

May 21, 2012 1:31:14 PM PDT
Good service in a restaurant can get you a big tip if you're a waitress. But a new French study finds red lipstick may help to enhance the amount of a tip, too.

Dr. Scott Bea did not take part in the study but is a clinical psychologist at Cleveland Clinic.

"The study was set up so that waitresses would wear red lipstick, pink lipstick, brown lipstick, or no lipstick and the startling finding, or maybe not so startling, was that when a waitress wears red lipstick she does so much better in getting tips from males than when she wears no lipstick at all," Dr. Bea said.

Researchers recruited seven waitresses at three different restaurants for the study. They followed them for 8 weeks during the lunch hour.

Results show male patrons gave tips more often when the waitress had lipstick on and when the color was red, the tips were larger. The lipstick had no effect on female diners.

Researchers say red lips are associated with estrogen levels, sexual arousal, and health, which in turn, could lead male patrons to a more positive perception of the women's faces and bigger tips.

Dr. Bea says wearing red will always make you stand out.

"This is a powerful color. People hypothesize what it is about red, but it does stand out. It jumps to our eye; it does have the longest wavelength. That's why stop signs and red lights are red, it's to capture our attention quickly," Dr. Bea said.

Complete findings for this study are in the "International Journal of Hospitality Management."

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