Could Face Masks Make You Better-Looking?

Friday, January 14, 2022 – Do you want to look more attractive? Wear a mask.


This is the takeaway from Welsh researchers who have found that masking may make men more attractive to the opposite sex and that some types of masks do a better job than others.

Study author Michael Lewis from Cardiff University said: ‘Research conducted before the pandemic found that medical face masks reduce gravity – so we wanted to test whether this had changed since face coverings became so ubiquitous and to understand whether the type of mask had any effect. “. Expert in the psychology of faces.

And indeed, I did.

Lewis and his colleagues showed 43 female images of men’s faces. They were asked to rate the attractiveness of men without a mask, with a cloth mask or blue medical mask or where they were holding a plain black book over the area to be covered by the mask.

The trial was conducted in February last year – seven months after COVID-19 made face masks mandatory in the UK.

Men who wore masks were rated as the most attractive, and those who wore blue medical masks scored the highest, according to findings published Jan. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications.

Lewis suspects the preference for blue masks stems from seeing them on health care workers.

“Now we associate these with people in the care professions or medicine,” he said in a university news release. “At a time when we feel vulnerable, we may find wearing medical masks reassuring and therefore feel more positive about the wearer.”

Women also found faces more attractive when covered with cloth masks than when left uncovered.

“Some of this effect may be due to the ability to mask unwanted features in the lower part of the face – but this effect was present for both less attractive and more attractive people,” Lewis said.

The findings contrast with a previous epidemic study in Japan that found masks elicited thoughts of illness and a desire to avoid wearers.

“Current research shows that the pandemic has changed our psychology in how we perceive who is wearing masks. When we see someone wearing a mask we no longer think ‘that person has a disease, I need to walk away,'” Lewis said.

He explained that this has to do with evolutionary psychology and why we choose the partners we choose.

“Illness and evidence of disease can play a big role in mate selection – previously any references to illness were a big negation,” Lewis said. “Now we can notice a shift in our psyche such that face masks no longer act as a pollution signal.”

Next for researchers: What about men? Do they think masks make women more attractive?


  • Cardiff University, press release, 13 January 2022

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