masks canada

Study shows people are considered more attractive when wearing face masks

Face coverings have become a very necessary accessory over the last 22 months, but would you ever think they could actually make others consider you more attractive?

A new paper out of Cardiff University shows that yes, you actually might be more appealing if you cover half your face (sorry).

Researchers at the Welsh institution have found that the simple disposable blue masks in particular "increase facial attractiveness more than other face coverings," despite the fact that most would assume medical masks "prompt an image of disease and thus result in lower ratings of facial attractiveness of the wearer."

Men included in the study were perceived to be more physically attractive when wearing a mask than without one — a study where women in various masks were rated has yet to be released, but is said to have yielded the same results — with one professor at the school telling the Guardian that "the pandemic has changed our psychology in how we perceive the wearers of masks."

The garment no longer signifies disease contamination now that it is necessary in so many settings, and could even indicate that someone is socially responsible, or is associated with a caring or medical profession.

"At a time when we feel vulnerable, we may find the wearing of medical masks reassuring and so feel more positive towards the wearer," the prof told the outlet.

There is also the fact that we've simply had to get used to meeting and interacting with people with face coverings on, and thus have moved our attention from the mouth up to other areas, like the eyes.

"From the results presented here, and previous results, there appear to be at least three effects at play in the interaction between face masks and attractiveness," the final paper reads. 

"The sanitary-mask effect is the reduction of facial attraction produced by the association between the mask and disease... the occlusion effect is the increase in attractiveness produced simply by obscuring the lower part of the face... and a medical-mask effect is observed here whereby medical masks increase facial attractiveness."

It continues: "Combinations of these three different effects are able to explain the disparate findings presented here and also previous research in the field. The exact relative contribution of these three effects across genders, cultures and global health crisis remains to be fully explored."

Lead photo by

Tom R.

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