7 Traits That Make Women More Attractive (According to Science)

When it comes to what they find attractive, guys seem to adhere to their own set of mysterious standards. While we tend to go with whatever beauty look we want and encourage other women to do the same—whether it’s bright purple lipstick or a messy topknot—we have to admit that a teeny-tiny part of us is curious about what exactly the magic formula is for a good ole double take.

With this in mind, we did a little research and found seven very interesting studies about what traits are supposedly “most attractive” to men (because science studies this a lot). Curious? Bored? Want a laugh? Keep scrolling for seven things that make women more attractive to men, according to science.

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Getty/Caroline McCredie

Bright, Pearly Whites

According to this 2012 study, flashing your pearly whites can affect how attractive you are to the guy you’ve been daydreaming about. Researchers found yellower, more uneven teeth were perceived as less attractive. But don’t go binge-scheduling teeth-whitening sessions just yet; the study also found that brilliantly white smiles were judged as no more attractive than naturally white smiles.


Red Lipstick

This older 2008 study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds a direct correlation between the color red and males’ attraction to females. The best part? According to the study, “Men seem unaware of this red effect”—so by all means, apply your MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo ($19) with abandon.


Larger Hips-to-Waist Ratio

Researchers from New Zealand found that men prefer an hourglass shape and slim waist.


Higher Voice

This study found that men preferred female voices that are higher in pitch and “breathy.” But for the sake of your girlfriends, just don’t take that as an invitation to bring your baby voice to the public space.

Getty/Kevin Mazur

Brunette Beauty

Blondes may have more fun, but are they seen as more attractive? Some studies have found that brunettes are rated more favorably than blondes by male subjects.


Less Makeup

Yet another excuse to join the #nomakeupselfie movement? Subjects in this study from the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology were shown photos of female faces wearing varying levels of makeup and asked to choose which look they found the most attractive and which look they’d guess the opposite sex would find the most attractive. Both men and women agreed on the same amount of makeup they found attractive, but women actually thought men preferred way more makeup than they actually did.


Longer Arms

Don’t have Gisele’s mile-long gams? Having long arms might be more attractive to guys anyway, according to this study.
Have you heard of any of these studies? Tell us your thoughts below.

Article Sources
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  2. Elliot AJ, Niesta D. Romantic red: red enhances men's attraction to women. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008;95(5):1150-1164. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.95.5.1150

  3. Dixson BJ, Grimshaw GM, Linklater WL, Dixson AF. Eye-tracking of men's preferences for waist-to-hip ratio and breast size of womenArch Sex Behav. 2011;40(1):43–50. doi:10.1007/s10508-009-9523-5

  4. Xu Y, Lee A, Wu W-L, Liu X, Birkholz P. Human vocal attractiveness as signaled by body size projection. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(4):e62397. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062397

  5. Swami V, Barrett S. British men's hair color preferences: an assessment of courtship solicitation and stimulus ratingsScand J Psychol. 2011;52(6):595-600. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450.2011.00911.x

  6. Jones AL, Kramer RS, Ward R. Miscalibrations in judgements of attractiveness with cosmetics. Q J Exp Psychol. 2014;67(10):2060-2068. doi:10.1080/17470218.2014.908932

  7. Brooks R, Shelly JP, Fan J, Zhai L, Chau DK. Much more than a ratio: multivariate selection on female bodies. J Evol Biol. 2010;23(10):2238-2248. doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02088.x

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