You’d be surprised what makes a woman beautiful – and it’s not all lips, hair, size, or shape! Here’s what the research shows about women and beauty. We’ll start with an unfair assumption about attractive people, and finish with tips on what to do when you feel ugly and sad.
First, the bad news:
“Attractive people are paid more, judged more intelligent, and will receive more attention in most facets of life,” says psychology professor Ingrid Olson of the University of Pennsylvania. “Research has demonstrated time and again that there are tremendous social and economic benefits to being attractive.”
Luckily, it’s not just smooth skin, pouty lips, and Vera Wang dresses that make women attractive. Sophia Loren nailed it when she said, “Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”
If you don’t have flawless skin or an hourglass figure, don’t worry. Your appeal goes far beyond your looks. The science behind the “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” cliché may surprise you.
What the Research Says About Beautiful Women
These 10 research-proven facts about beauty include several natural tips for beauty from the inside out – which will increase your “AQ” (attractiveness quotient!).
1. Beauty boosts income — but so do brains
Attractive people are assumed to be smarter and more capable than average-looking people; research shows that attractive job applicants are hired more often and offered better employee packages than unattractive applicants. However, further research about beautiful women also reveals that education and intelligence still had greater payoffs than attractiveness! Phew. This means that your appearance does not have the final say on your overall financial earnings.
2. Your personality makes you pretty
I mention this in How to Be Beautiful From the Inside Out, but it’s worth repeating:
Your personality shines through to those close to you. According to studies published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, people who are considered by friends or acquaintances to be co-operative, brave, dependable, or hard-working are perceived as more attractive. People known to be rude or offensive are seen as less physically appealing. So, research about beauty shows that your personality traits are as important in determining your appeal as smooth skin and symmetrical features.
3. Curious and confident women are cuter
“People are flattered when you find them appealing—and they naturally reciprocate,” says Ann Demarais, co-author of First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You.
One of the easiest ways to increase your natural beauty is to accept and be interested in other people.
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“Showing interest is a component of confidence,” she says. “And when you’re confident, you appear more physically attractive.”
4. A little wiggle in your walk goes a long way
“People have always tried to identify the magical formula for beauty,” says researcher Kerri Johnson of New York University. “We knew body shape was important, but we found movement was also key.”
Her research study on beauty shows that women who sway their hips and men who walk with a swagger are both perceived as more attractive.
5. Our evolutionary roots are powerful
This research study might support the idea that we’re all superficial cavemen and material girls: Speed-dating research shows that men are attracted to beautiful women, and women to wealthy men. But this doesn’t mean we’re superficial or materialistic!
If a woman is healthy and beautiful, then a man’s natural instincts lead him to want to have offspring with her. She’s a “good bet” to continue his family line. This isn’t a conscious decision; it may be wired into men to gravitate towards beautiful, healthy women. And, the same research on beauty and dating is that women to choose wealthy men. This isn’t because women are shallow (not entirely); it’s because material wealth is a sign of security and commitment.
6. Your skin tone is a treasure trove of prettiness
A woman’s skin tone influences perceived beauty more than crow’s feet or laugh lines.
This is bad new for me; I have a terrible skin tone. An even skin tone offers positive clues about a woman’s health and reproductive capability—and research shows that an uneven or blotchy skin tone, caused by cumulative sun damage and natural aging, can add 10 to 12 years to a woman’s age. So, slap on the sunscreen!
7. Couples who do life together look the same
Research studies on a couple’s appearance shows that long-married men and women grow to look alike because they share similar experiences.
They often travel together and they’ve suffered pain and celebrated joy together. This affects their appearance in similar ways. Research also shows that couples married for a long time are perceived to have similar personalities.
8. Loved ones share similar ideas of beauty
“While there are some universal standards of beauty … certain standards of attractiveness are more likely to be shared among individuals who know each other well,” says Harvard University researcher Richard Russell.
The more time you spend with friends and family, the more your standards of beauty will align. So, if your family values blue eyes and blond hair, then guess what? So will you.
9. Beauty can be beastly for men
Men agree a lot more than women about whom they find—and don’t find—attractive. In a recent research study, some women gave high attractiveness ratings to men, while other women didn’t find those guys at all appealing.
Men, on the other hand, come to more of a consensus about beauty. Because of this, researchers say, men may need to invest more time and energy guarding their girlfriends from potential suitors! Why? Because a woman who is beautiful to one man is beautiful to many.
10. It’s time to ditch your downward beauty spiral!
If you care to much what people think of your appearance, you’re more likely to be anxious, neurotic, and insecure—which makes you less attractive. Focusing on your flaws increases feelings of loneliness, rejection, and isolation. To create an upward spiral of inner and outer beauty, practice accepting and loving who you are—wrinkles, warts, and all.
Which of these research findings about women and beauty stood out to you?
Even more importantly — are you Blossoming into the woman God created you to be? Share your thoughts below! What do you think is holding you back from becoming a beautiful, confident, awesomely Blossomy woman?
If you struggle with feeling like an “ugly duckling”, read What to Do When You Feel Ugly and Sad.
Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books
Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.
How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.
When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.