Researchers at Cardiff University have discovered a surprising new reason to mask up suggesting that the protective blue face masks make wearers look more attractive.
The study which was published in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications measured how different types of face masks changed the attractiveness of 40 male faces.
They discovered the type of covering matters – blue medical masks – were found to increase facial attractiveness more than other types of masks.
Professor Michael Lewis of Cardiff University School of Psychology and an expert in Faces said research carried out before the pandemic had found that face masks reduced attractiveness because they were associated with illness.
“We wanted to see whether this had changed since face masks were everywhere, and also understand if the type of mask had any effect,” he said as reported by the Guardian.
“Our study suggests that faces are considered most attractive when covered by medical face masks. At a time we may find the wearing of medical masks reassuring, we feel more positive towards the wearer.” The first part of the research was conducted in February 2021 read.
Forty-three British women rated images of male faces without a mask, wearing a plain cloth mask, a blue medical face mask and holding a plain black book around the area a face mask would cover.
And on a scale of 1- 10, they said that the surgical mask made the wearer look better.
Dr Lewis said that the pandemic changed our psychology in how we perceive the wearers of masks.
When we see someone wearing a mask, we no longer think that person has a disease and we need to stay away.
“This relates to evolutionary psychology and why we select our partners. Face masks are no longer acting as a contamination cue,” he said.
Dr Lewis further said when people mask up they look more attractive.
“It is possible masks make people attractive because all the attention is directed to the eyes,” he said.