You’d be surprised what makes a woman beautiful – or ugly. Here’s what the research shows about beauty and beautiful women, ranging from the assumptions people make about beautiful people to why men are attracted to hips that sway.
Here’s a tip that make you feel bad or good, depending on how attractive you think you are:
“Attractive people are paid more, judged more intelligent and will receive more attention in most facets of life,” says psychology professor Ingrid Olson. “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.”
No matter how much we say that physical appearance isn’t what makes a woman beautiful, we always want to improve our appearance! That’s normal – it’s just how we are.
For a different spin on beautiful women, read Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast. In this version of the classic fable, Beauty is not as beautiful as her older sisters, who are both lovely and kind. Beauty has no confidence in her appearance but takes pride in her own intelligence, her love of learning and books, and her talent in riding. She is the most competent of the three sisters, which proves essential when they are forced to retire to the country because of their father’s financial ruin. This book will change how you see beautiful women (though it’s not based on research about beauty!).
And, here are five research “secrets” about beauty…
What Makes a Woman Beautiful? 5 Research Findings About Beauty
Attractive people are assumed to be smart and capable
“When someone is viewed as attractive, they are often assumed to have a number of positive social traits and greater intelligence,” reports Dr Carl Senior of the Organizational Cognitive Neuroscience Center.
This research finding about being attractive is known as the “halo effect” in psychology. Research shows that attractive job applicants are hired more often and offered better employee packages than unattractive applicants. But beautiful women don’t get a free ride forever! Sooner or later, skills or talent has to surface.
Focusing on your flaws creates a downward spiral
If you don’t feel like a beautiful woman, and you’re sensitive to rejection based on your appearance, you’re more likely to be anxious, neurotic, and insecure. This makes you less attractive. Focusing on your physical weaknesses and flaws increases feelings of loneliness, rejection and isolation. To be a more beautiful woman, concentrate on your physical, emotional, and intellectual strengths. Get comfortable with who you are and where you’re going in life, and you’ll create an upward spiral.
If you hate your appearance, read Overcoming Self-Hatred - it’ll change how you feel about yourself, which will change how you look!
A little hip sway goes a long way
“People have always tried to identify the magical formula for beauty, and we knew body shape was important, but we found movement was also key,” says Kerri Johnson of New York University. Here’s a research-proven beauty tip: how you move is as sexy as how you look. Women who sway their hips and men who walk with a swagger are both perceived as more attractive.
Think of Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable in the classic book and movie Gone With the Wind. She had the hip sway (and the fluttering eyelashes, twirling parasol, and rosy cheeks) and he was the epitome of swagger. Together, they sizzled – and almost 70 years later we still consider their movie to be one of the most romantic of all time. Of course, Leigh had other qualities that made her a beautiful woman.
Men and women are attracted to age-old qualities
Speed-dating research shows that men are attracted to beauty and women want to date wealthy men. This doesn’t mean we’re superficial cavemen and material girls! On the contrary, these qualities have kept the human race alive for centuries. Beauty in a woman indicates good health and future offspring; material wealth in a man is a sign of security and commitment. Luckily, this doesn’t mean men are only attracted to flawless women.
If you don’t feel healthy and beautiful, read Tips From Women Who Are Happy With the Way Their Bodies Look.
Women are attracted to men who like kids
This isn’t a beauty tip as such, but it’s interesting! Research shows that women can subconsciously identify men who like kids from their photos alone. The greater the men’s affinity for kids, the more attractive they were as long-term relationship potentials. The women in this study also found certain men attractive for short-term relationships; those men had higher levels of testosterone and less affinity for children. This explains why Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie both chose Brad Pitt (and why most of us would promptly welcome his boots under our beds!). He likes kids and he’s bursting with testosterone, which makes him ideal for both long and short-term relationships.
If you have trouble thinking of yourself as a beautiful woman, read How to Feel Beautiful No Matter What You Look Like.
What are your thoughts on these beauty tips from research? I welcome your comments below…