Beauty is truly only skin deep, and at the end of the day, it's pretty meaningless if we don't foster the more lasting parts of our identity, like kindness and intelligence. However, sometimes we just want to feel like we look our best, and for those occasions, there are scientifically verified ways to appear more attractive.
As much as I firmly believe that way too much emphasis is placed on physical attributes in our culture, and also think that the media definitely creates unrealistic standards of beauty (I'm supposed to hold down a full-time job and look like a Photoshopped celebrity who has a personal chef and trainer? I don't think so), I also definitely feel more confident when I'm happy about the way I look. It's an inescapable part of being human, no matter how much we might be aware of our culture's perverse fascination with looking "perfect."
That being said, there are definitely super simple ways that science tells us we can look more aesthetically pleasing — which in turn will hopefully give us that little added boost of confidence to help us take on an important moment or event. Because at the end of the day, so much about beauty products and fashion is really about how they makes us feel, and not about what they're actually doing to us on the outside.
So in the spirit of feeling our most awesome, here are eight things you can do to look more attractive, backed by science.
1. Keep Your Teeth White
According to a study from the University of Leeds featured on Business Insider, clean white teeth are a quick indicator of good health and thus instantly make us more attractive to others. So grab those whitening strips (or whatever method works best for you and your life) and say hello to an awesome smile.
2. Go For A Voluminous Hair Style
A piece in Everyday Health noted that thick hair is associated with health and vitality, which instantly makes you look better. If your hair has been thinning with age or is just on the thinner side in general, celebrity stylist Oribe recommended using a dry shampoo on the roots to absorb heavy oils and create an instant illusion of fullness.
3. Take Care Of Your Skin
A study published by the NIH showed that smooth skin is a major factor in overall attractiveness since, much like white teeth, it instantly indicates good health. So if you want that added boost of confidence, start giving your skin a little TLC. And since I'm a skincare junkie, I can't help but recommend a gentle chemical exfoliate followed by a quality (scent-free) moisturizer. It's a simple and cost-effective method for glowing skin. Also, never forget the sunscreen — seriously.
4. Have Red Lipstick Handy
The same Business Insider piece noted that a University of Manchester study found that our lips are considered to be one of our most attractive and arousing facial features. It also found that drawing attention to them with red lipstick means they will be stared at for an average of seven seconds longer. So if you're looking to feel your sexiest, go with the red!
5. And Put On That Red Dress
If you like red lipstick, you should also consider that red dress in your closet. In a study out of the University of Rochester, participants rated people as more attractive when they're in red over other colors — even when shown pictures of the same person.
That's right — a study featured in the Social Psychology Bulletin simply subtly mimicking the person we're talking to can increase your attractiveness. So the next time you're in conversation with someone you're really into, be sure to pay attention to their body language and respond with a similar gesture or posture. Subtle mimicry indicates attraction.
7. Accentuate Your Symmetry
You've likely heard that facial symmetry is strongly associated with attractiveness, and a study out of Stanford confirms this. However, the fact of the matter is most of us aren't perfectly symmetrical. Our eyes might be two slightly different sizes, our mouth may be a little lopsided, our nose could be a little uneven. It's natural and normal, and is generally not something to stress about at all. However, if you want that extra boost of confidence, the good thing is that makeup is kind of a miracle when it comes to creating the illusion of symmetry. You can soften a hooded eye, shadow the nose, or slightly reshape a lip — it's all about knowing how. Check out the above Pixiewoo video to see how you can make your eye bigger or smaller to see how it's done.
8. Be Confident
This is something I've written about before as well. Confidence can instantly make you a more magnetic person. According to Harvard psychologist Craig Malkin, it's because confident people are more likely to engage in behavior that inspires trust in other people, like solid eye contact and open body language, as well as are more likely to be open and say what they mean. So even if you're naturally on the shyer side, try to fake it 'til you make it on those nights when you want to feel super cute.
We're all our own worst critic when it comes to the way we look, which is why some quick, scientifically-proven ways to look better can be just the thing to help melt away our insecurities. So throw on that red dress, pump up your hair, and remember that you look awesome.