Face masks can make you more attractive: Study

PHOTO: The Straits Times file

Face masks can make you more attractive, according to research from Cardiff University.

Images of men wearing a blue surgical face mask were perceived as being the most appealing.

Dr Michael Lewis, Reader at Cardiff University said: "What we found is that in the past, when people put a surgical face mask on, this cues people to think of there's a disease present and that will make people judge the face as being less attractive.

"But what happens now is that when people see someone with a mask, they're no longer being cued that there is a disease there. But what they're doing is seeing people as being more attractive."

43 women were asked to rate the attractiveness of images of male faces without a mask, wearing a plain cloth mask, wearing a blue surgical mask and covering their face with a book.

Lewis says the sample size was large enough to draw conclusions.

"The experiment took place in February 2021, when there was currently within the UK a face mask mandate. People were required to wear a face mask so people would be seeing face masks a lot more."


Lewis says the global health crisis has changed the way we think about people wearing masks.

"So one of the things we looked at was whether the effect was only present there for unattractive faces or whether it was present for attractive faces as well. And what we find is that covered up with the bottom half of face is yes, it does improve the attractiveness of unattractive faces.

"But equally, even for the highest set of attractive faces within our database, it's still increased the attractiveness. So what we'd expect is if we had George Clooney or someone as attractive as George Clooney."

"What we're doing is: We're looking at the top half of his face and we're filling in the gaps of what might be in the bottom half of face. And we tend to fill in those gaps. We tend to fill in those gaps with whatever we think would be most attractive there."

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