"It's only human beings who look into a mirror every morning," brain scientist Kenichiro Mogi told a news conference. "In addition, they even put a makeup on."
In their study of 17 women in their 20s and early 30s, they discovered that the human brain reacts almost as if the person is looking at a stranger's face when seeing their own with a makeup on, Mogi said.
They believe the act of wearing makeup helps a person look at oneself more objectively - and therefore could serve to boost ways of communication.
Mogi said the study could lead to the development of cosmetics that would help women be more proactive.
"We are coming to understand how women use cosmetics as a powerful weapon when presenting themselves and in taking a role in society," said Toru Matsuo, a Kanebo executive.
Mogi will present the results of the research to the Washington-based Society for Neuroscience in November.