Some women are born with it, as the commercial goes, while others do these 10 things that are factors super-sizing attractiveness.
Smile more if you’re female
The science of attraction is rooted in biology, and who a specific individual thinks would make a good partner to reproduce with. So, how to be more attractive is based on what the opposite sex (if you’re heterosexual) is looking for.
However, smiling in women was shown in a University of British Columbia study to be the most attractive expression, but apparently, it isn’t the same when it comes to men.
“People typically associate expressions of happiness with femininity,” says Alec Beall, PhD, a UBC psychologist and one of the authors of the study.
“This gender normative inconsistency could be responsible for the relative unattractiveness of male happiness.” Smiling often makes a woman look friendly and “sexually receptive”.
“Evolutionarily, men have been programmed to seek out women who will be receptive to their advances,” Dr. Beall says.
Red is associated with passion, roses, heat, and sex. Exactly for this very reason, science has proved that wearing red will make a woman instantly look more attractive.
“This red-attractiveness link is partially explained by men’s perceptions of implied sexual receptivity among women wearing reddish garb,” Dr. Beall says.
“In 2013, my colleagues and I even noted this effect among a small-scale society in Burkina Faso, West Africa, suggesting that men’s attraction to red is a cultural universal.”
With all that being said, if you’re looking for love, red should be your go-to color, because there’s no way in failing when you’re wearing this color, even if it’s just red lipstick.
And you might even be doing this subconsciously, Dr. Beall says, because many studies have shown women tend to wear red and pink when they are biologically more sexually receptive, like during ovulation.
Don’t play hard to get
Women might think they are more sexy and attractive if they keep their partner guessing about how they truly feel, while some research does support this (one study from China found that playing hard to get kept men’s interest only after they had chosen a prospective partner).
However, a more recent study from Germany suggests that people are more likely to evaluate others as being attractive if they can easily understand the emotions they’re showing. The reason for this result is in the brain: How well the study participants could decode the other’s “neural vocabulary.”
“Partners must understand and continuously update information about their partner’s current intentions and motivation, anticipate the other’s behavior, and adapt their own behavior accordingly,” study author Silke Anders, a neuroscientist at the University of Lübeck, told Time.
“Understanding and personal attraction seem to depend on both the sender’s brain and the perceiver’s brain, and on how well they match.”
Speak in a higher-pitched voice for women, lower for men
Until now, most people considered that a smoky voice sounds sexy, but recently, new research from the U.K. has found that a higher-pitched voice in women is actually way more attractive to men, and vice versa, that a lower-pitched voice in men is more attractive to women.
“Past work suggests a higher voice pitch is perceived as coming from someone who is physically smaller in terms of body size,” Dr. Beall says.
“Gender dimorphic—in other words, typically feminine—qualities such as these have been shown to increase men’s sexual attraction to women.”
The opposite is true for women, who naturally seek out male mates who are larger in size and have a low voice. Nevertheless, this new U.K. study showed that breathiness in men as well as in women is considered more attractive, which the researchers say it may be because it softened the aggressiveness associated with large body size.
Have a sense of humor
A sense of humor is definitely one of the most important qualities in both women and men. “He makes me laugh,” is one of the reasons most women consider their male partners more attractive.
A good sense of humor in a man has been scientifically proven to attract the attention of women.
“Studies have found that both women and men list ‘a sense of humor’ as a highly desirable trait in a potential romantic partner,” Dr. Beall says.
“But other studies have found that only women actually rate a funnier man as more desirable—women’s desirability was less affected by how funny they actually were.” This means women want men who make them laugh, but men want women to laugh at their jokes.
“Some have argued that women’s particularly pronounced attraction to funnier men is deeply rooted in our evolutionary past,” Dr. Beall says.
“The production of humor requires heritable cognitive skills such as intelligence and creativity, so mating with a funnier person may provide direct genetic benefits to potential offspring.”
Because women are evolutionarily the primary caregivers for youngsters, they may be particularly concerned with having kids with good genes.
So simple, yet so attractive. The thing is, when it comes to attraction, it’s definitely not all about looks. As in the Gwyneth Paltrow movie Shallow Hal, good and kind people often seem more attractive.
“The ‘halo effect’ suggests that those who are perceived as physically attractive are also perceived as having socially favorable personality traits like kindness,” Dr. Beall says.
“Interestingly, recent research suggests that this stereotype may also work in the opposite direction—socially favorable personality traits may also affect ratings of physical attractiveness.”
One study from China asked three groups of people to look at different pictures of faces and rate how attractive they are. The group given positive personality info on the faces (the others were given negative or no info) rated the faces as more attractive.
“Mounting evidence suggests that the ‘what is good is beautiful’ stereotype may also hold true,” Dr. Beall says.
This one seems obvious. If you’re searching for love, it’s preferable not to look like a slob. You probably “clean up good,” and there are biological reasons for this.
“Research shows a large part of physical attraction is centered on the more changeable aspects of our self-presentation,” says psychologist Jeremy Nicholson, MSW, PhD, who writes The Attraction Doctor blog on Psychology Today.
“Specifically, the most attractive physical features fall under ‘self-care’—things like good grooming, clean hair, nice fitting, and quality clothing, good posture, and healthy weight.”
Most people are more interested in a partner who is healthy and strong, which means they have good genes, a person who is capable of taking care of future offspring, which is highlighted by how you take care of yourself.
“These self-care features are attractive because they indicate how we are managing our health and well-being, which demonstrates our potential value as a partner and mate,” Dr. Nicholson says.
As I said before, smiling and showing kindness makes you instantly more attractive in other people’s eyes, while showing signs of stress, like bags under the eyes and tired faces with dull skin, makes you less attractive.
Therefore, it’s not just because stress tends to make its presence visible on our faces, however, somehow, others can sense that it’s part of a weakened immune system.
In a recent study from Europe and South Africa, women considered men as being more attractive when they had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and a stronger immune system.
“Women seem to be able to detect the men who’ve got the strongest immune response, and they seem to find them the most attractive,” study author Fhionna R. Moore, PhD, a psychologist at Abertay University in Scotland, told CNN.
This is because of testosterone, which is correlated with a strong immune system and low cortisol, also plays an important role in attracting women.
Show off your curves
I don’t know why, but most women have always thought that men prefer thin figures, which is in fact, false, because the exact opposite might actually be true.
According to a study, men prefer a waist-to-hips ratio of 7:10, which means you’re fairly curvy and have “good childbearing hips.”
“Biologically, men might be onto something: Women with this waist-to-hip ratio have been shown to have optimal levels of estrogen, and are less prone to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
You can play up your hips by walking with a “swaying gait”—researchers at Texas A&M University found that this swinging motion was seen to be extra-feminine to men. ”
“High heels can accentuate women’s feminine characteristics as well,” Dr. Nicholson says, so if you really want to exaggerate your swinging walk, science says to wear heels.
Don’t wear too much makeup
I know that I said before that men are drawn to red lips, however, most men prefer lesser makeup, even if most women think that a lot of makeup makes them more attractive, according to a U.K. study.
“Women tailor their cosmetics use to an inaccurate perception of others’ preferences,” the study authors wrote.
Another study also showed that the amount of makeup women wear can influence others’ impressions.
“Faces with natural makeup were seen favorably but faces with more dramatic makeup were seen as less trustworthy,” study author Nancy Etcoff, PhD, a research psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, says.
But, let’s face it, women don’t wear makeup just to please men, they wear it because it makes them feel more confident and beautiful, which leads in attracting more attractiveness from the opposite sex.