Why masks make you more attractive: studying

Forget gua sha face stones, ice rollers and lip plumpers, you probably already have the simplest and most effective tool to make your face more attractive: a blue medical mask.

As the world grapples with whether or not to continue wearing a mask, a recent study may convince some to put it on.

Wearing a mask makes you more attractive, a Study published in the Cognitive Research Principles and Implications Journal found. (If only someone had told all the Karens before their angry fits.)

According to researchers from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology in the UK, blue medical masks were seen as the most attractive, with cloth masks coming close second and still making faces “significantly more attractive”.

“Our study suggests that faces are considered most attractive when covered by medical face masks,” co-author Michael B. Lewis said The Guardian.

Man wearing protective face mask exercising on rowing machine in outdoor gym
Blue medical masks are the hottest, but a cloth mask will also do the trick to help you raise the bar.
Getty Images

Female participants in the study, also led by Oliver Hies, viewed four photos of a man wearing a medical mask, a cloth mask, a book covering half his face, and no covering. Medical masks topped the list, cloth came in a close second, and no covering last.

The results suggest that covering the lower half of your face in any way, hot or not, increases people’s attractiveness – showing that the results weren’t necessarily about hiding unattractive features.

The reason might be that covering the lower half of your face brings with it a certain allure and mystery — a surefire spur since many studies and publications have claimed that 93% of communication comes from non-verbal cues, including smiles and frowns .

Masks also draw attention to the eyes and hair — two of our most appealing facial features, the study found.

Before the outbreak of the pandemic, medical face masks were mainly associated with diseases, but since COVID forced everyone to wear masks for almost two years, our thoughts on seeing people wearing masks, especially medical ones, in public, changed drastically.

“The findings contradict pre-pandemic research that assumed masks made people think about illness and the person should be avoided,” Lewis noted. “The pandemic has changed our psychology of how we perceive mask wearers. When we see someone wearing a mask, we stop thinking, ‘This person has a disease, I have to stay away.’”

Woman in a protective mask holding her phone
Since the beginning of the pandemic, wearing a blue medical mask has acquired positive connotations.
Getty Images/Westend61

Blue medical masks in particular might be considered the most attractive due to their associations with medical professionals or the “white coat effect” where women find male doctors sexy when they wear a white coat.

“That may be because we’re used to healthcare workers wearing blue masks and we now associate them with people in the nursing or medical professions,” Lewis added. “At a time when we feel vulnerable, we may find wearing medical masks reassuring and make us feel more positive about the wearer.”

Masks can also be “seen as a sign of responsible and caring citizens, which can have a positive impact on perceived attractiveness.” Throughout the pandemic, wearing masks has been seen as a show of respect and contributing to supporting society, which are great traits to add to your dating profile.

Lewis told The Guardian that a second study is underway, with men evaluating masked women. Why masks make you more attractive: studying


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