Beauty doesn’t just come down to simple genetics. There are actually scientific factors behind the lesser known ways someone can make themselves more attractive.
Research has shown that attractive people can earn up to 14 percent more money annually than their less attractive peers. While some of this is based on appearance alone, attraction also relies on the way you carry yourself, how you treat people, and the kind of people to associate with.
Here are a few ways to be more attractive, according to science.
1. Keep your chin up.
People often see a large jawbone as a masculine feature, per the wonderfully named “Facial Attractiveness: Evolutionary Based Research,” a review piece published in 2011.
The authors note that secondary sex characteristics (such as defined cheekbones and large jawbones) may show genetic strength.
Why? Well, one theory is parasitic resistance. Stay with us: Hormones like testosterone drive the development of secondary sex characteristics, and since those hormones also promote a healthy immune system, strong jawbones can show your potential mate that you’re fairly resistant to parasites. That’s also a great bit of info to drop to make a decent first impression (well, not really; save the parasite talk for the second date).
Apart from that, men who keep their chin up come off psychologically as more assertive and confident—even if they’re secretly self-conscious. It’s also a more appealing position for the face because it helps define the jawline and create a slimming effect for the neck region, so try to keep your chin up when possible.
2. Consider wearing sunglasses.
Vanessa Brown, lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, designed a study to determine why sunglasses look so awesome. Granted, she put it in more scientific terms, but at the end of the day, she was researching why a pair of Ray-Bans can turn a dork into Brad Pitt.
In any case, she found a few possible explanations. Sunglasses obscure the eyes (duh), which Brown believes creates an air of mystery around the wearer.
“The eyes are such a tremendous source of information—and vulnerability—for the human being,” she told The Cut. If you’re trying to get romantic, it always pays to cultivate a sense of mystery.
Sunglasses also improve facial symmetry by obscuring any slight anomalies around your eyes. For instance, you might notice that one of your eyes sits higher on your face, or one pupil might be slightly larger than the other; that’s perfectly normal and natural, but people generally prefer symmetrical faces when choosing mates.
Finally, celebrities and models frequently wear sunglasses, so Brown believes that there’s probably some social factors at play. Never doubt the power of advertising when it comes to shaping our cultural ideas of what is (and isn’t) attractive.
3. Boost your adrenaline levels.
Let’s say that you finally landed a date with that hottie down the street. Should you hit up the local coffeeshop, or get tickets to the symphony?
If you’re really trying to make an impression, consider something more exciting. Studies show that adrenaline works as a natural aphrodisiac, and it may even help calm your nerves in a weird sort of way (you won’t be focused on whether you’re likable if your attention is elsewhere).
You might even consider an extreme sport. A 2014 study from the University of Alaska found that women were more attracted to men who take “hunter-gatherer risks,” which include activities such as deep-sea scuba diving, extreme rollerblading, and mountain biking. We’re not sure whether ancient hunter-gatherers really donned scuba tanks, but we’ll take these researchers at their word.
4. Think androgyny.
Women want a big, burly, manly man, right?
A 1983 study showed that people who have a blend of masculine and feminine qualities tend to rank as attractive. The effect goes both ways—men tend to appreciate tomboys, although they still generally prefer feminine faces.
If you’ve got somewhat androgynous features, don’t hide them. By sporting that pink shirt you actually love and showing your sensitive side you usually keep to yourself, you’re being more honest with your potential mate (and you’ll probably benefit from a moderate confidence boost, since you won’t be pretending to be someone you aren’t).
If you’re an ultra-masculine dude, don’t worry—we’re just talking about averages here, so your big beard isn’t going to disqualify you. The body spray, however, might…