Whether you think the beauty industry is full of artifice and false hope, or believe it provides legitimate services and products, there is definitely a psychological component. While trying to maintain a firm sense of objectivity and logic, I still sort of fall into the latter camp. I think mascara is a miracle product that makes you look instantly awake and younger. And retinoids work. But there’s a lot of gray area, and this is where beauty ads come in. Their sole purpose is to convince you that you NEED something, that your looks could be improved. This Sunday the New York Times style section reviewed a new study from The Journal of Consumer Research wherein the authors observed the reactions of young women after they looked at a series of images and advertisements. There were a few surprises. The women looked at advertising and plain images of products, without any human models--just pictures of bottles and tubes with ad copy. The products were divided into two categories: beauty enhancing (like perfume) and problem solving (such as acne cream).