Physical Traits Men and Women Find Attractive, Research Say

Updated on November 24, 2020

“Attractiveness is subjective” has always been the popular opinion. Each person has a type when it comes to potential romantic partners. Society as a whole may view certain characteristics as universally attractive, i.e., clear skin and nice teeth, but people ultimately become attracted to those who possess the looks and qualities they’re looking for in a potential life partner.

This doesn’t mean, however, that popular opinion on attractiveness doesn’t hold water. In fact, it could be an advantage to know the physical attributes that many men and women find attractive. Let’s face it: appearances may not be everything, but it makes people take a second, closer look. Attractiveness compels people to invest the time and effort to get to know potential romantic partners better.

So what physical attributes do people find attractive? Rather than form ideas based on conjecture, let’s take a look at what existing research is telling us.

Hairstyle is a Huge Factor

If you keep fussing over your hair when meeting people, you’re doing the right thing.

Healthy hair is a huge concern for men as they are prone to androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness. Interestingly, findings from a research study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science revealed that both men and women find bald men more dominant and striking than men with a full head of hair. But the findings also say that men and women find men with thinning hair the least attractive.

This tells us two things. First, men who want to be perceived as pleasant-looking need to find good hair fall control shampoo products. Second, it’s better for men to embrace balding instead of trying to hide the obvious state of their thinning hair. It’s clear from the findings that men should only choose either of the two and not linger in the in-between if they want to attract potential partners.

For women, hairstyles are a big factor for attractiveness. According to research, many perceive straight, thin, and long hair as healthier, younger, and more attractive than wavy, thick, and short hair. The researchers also found that naturally attractive facial features and beautiful hair have a mutual influence on each other. In other words, matching facial morphology with the right hairstyle can increase a woman’s attractiveness.

Hair Color Can Influence Attraction

Besides length and texture, hair color can also increase or decrease a person’s attractiveness according to a study published in the Psychological Studies academic journal.

Conducted inside a nightclub, researchers asked women participants to wear blond, black, brown, or red wigs and then sit and wait for any response from the men in the venue. They later found that blond women got approached the most, while ginger-haired women were asked to dance the least.

The researchers also asked men participants to don wigs in the same colors and then go around the nightclub and ask women to dance. They observed that blond men had the opposite reception: women received less dance invites from their blond-haired male participants than their brown- and black-haired subjects.

Interestingly, both genders viewed red-haired people as the least attractive. The researchers deduced that it’s because of the negative stereotypes attached to redheads.

Scars Are Attractive Imperfections

It’s ironic how men and women today are keen on achieving flawless skin, and yet, an early study shows that scars can increase a person’s attractiveness to the opposite sex. Facial scars on men, in particular, are perceived as attractive by heterosexual women. According to the subjects, scarred men appear strong, resilient, and in possession of other attractive, dominant qualities that naturally draw women to men.

On the other hand, heterosexual men appear to find women with scars equally attractive as women without scars.

Body Language Draws the Eye

A study published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America looked at how body posture affects a person’s desirability. Their findings seem to add more proof that many men and women find dominance attractive. When shown pictures of people in expansive postures (e.g., widespread limbs and giving the impression of occupying a large space) and contracted postures (e.g., hunched shoulders and crossed arms), respondents said the former look more dominant and attractive than the latter.

If there’s one takeaway from these studies and findings, it is that you can make yourself attractive to others even if your physical appearance doesn’t exactly conform to society’s current beauty standards. The right hairstyle and confident body language, for example, can draw admiration despite imperfections. Find the best combination for you and you can be the most attractive person in the room even if you’re not the tallest and fairest one, or born with perfect physical features.

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