22 Subtle Ways to Make Yourself More Attractive
According to experts and research, there are many small things that'll make you more attractive.
Ask a dozen people what makes someone attractive, and you'll get a dozen different answers. A six-pack, a curvy shape, a great sense of humor, a nurturing nature—these could all be deciding factors in whether or not you get someone's phone number or a second date. But there are plenty of subtle changes you can make that will help you look even better, mostly because they'll give you tons of confidence. From adding a certain color to your wardrobe to working on your body language, these are subtle ways to make yourself more attractive.
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How to Be More Attractive
1. Wear Red.
Adding a pop of red to your outfit won't only make you stand out in a crowd, but it can also make others find you more attractive.
According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, women deemed men wearing red more attractive than those in other colors. In fact, the effect was so profound that even men standing in front of a red background were perceived as more attractive than those in front of a white one.
2. Or wear black.
If bright colors aren't your thing, fear not. A 2021 study published in the Color Research & Application journal found that black is actually the most attractive color you can wear.
The study noted that black has historically had negative connotations (think wearing black to a funeral), but that in modern times, it's become more acceptable to wear on a first date.
"Black is associated with power and authority," Ashley Grader, a beauty expert who manages a beauty school directory, previously explained to Best Life. "Wearing black may subconsciously give the impression to others that you are someone who is strong and in charge."
3. Pick a signature scent.
While nobody loves being bombarded with too much perfume or cologne, the right subtle scent can do wonders for your attractiveness level.
"There is an incredibly strong link between attraction and scent," explains Patrick Kenger, founder of men's image consultancy PIVOT. "Choosing a fragrance that you love has also been shown to boost your own confidence, leading to more attractive body language."
In fact, a 2009 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that men who sprayed on a scented antimicrobial fragrance were not only more confident but when women viewed videos of them, they deemed the ones wearing the spray more attractive than members of the control group.
4. Show your sense of humor.
A 2015 study from The University of Kansas (KU) found that "when two strangers meet, the more times a man tries to be funny and the more a woman laughs at those attempts, the more likely it is for the woman to be interested in dating."
Jeffrey Hall, an associate professor of communication studies at KU and the researcher behind the study, explained that shared laughter is a signal that "your future relationship is going to be fun and filled with good cheer."
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5. Uncross your arms.
That standoffish body language isn't doing you any favors when it comes to your attractiveness.
"Take note of how you're sitting or standing. Most people display very closed body language the majority of the time—arms are folded, legs are crossed, back is hunched forward, etc.," explains Kenger.
Instead, he suggests taking up room and spreading out. "Uncross things. This will make you appear more confident and relaxed, inviting others to feel comfortable around you as well."
To his point, in a 2016 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), researchers found that an expansive body position—like one with your arms uncrossed—made people appear more desirable to others.
6. Get a fresh haircut.
Many people "get stuck in a hairstyle," says makeup artist Mindy Green, founder of mobile beauty salon MG Beauty.
"As you discover more about who you are and achieve different milestones in your life and career, you should make sure the hair still suits you," Green suggests.
"Maybe your hair is too long or short and doesn't compliment the best features of your face or your new lifestyle. Or you spend too much time styling because your current style doesn't work with your hair texture," she says. "Either way, an update every few years is a good idea."
7. Go out with friends.
Another key to looking good is not flying solo.
According to a 2013 study published in the journal Psychological Science, people tend to look more attractive to others when they're in a group.
The study leads, psychological scientists Drew Walker and Edward Vul of the University of California, San Diego, explained that this phenomenon (also known as the "cheerleader effect," based on a How I Met Your Mother episode) is likely due to how people "average out" faces in a group.
"Average faces are more attractive, likely due to the averaging out of unattractive idiosyncrasies," Walker explained.
8. Read the room.
Being the only person in jeans and flip-flops when everyone else is dressed to the nines is rarely an attractive look.
"Always dress appropriately for the situations you're in," advises Kenger. "This shows that you have intelligence by being able to put together something appropriate, as well as respect for the people around you. Both attractive qualities."
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9. Upgrade your eyeglass frames.
The right glasses can make a world of difference—and it's all about learning your face shape.
"Those with rounder faces look better with more angular frames, and those with more angular faces look better with rounder frames," explains Kenger. "This allows your frames to offset some of that roundness or squareness, and thus makes things more proportionate."
And when it doubt, go rimless: A 2011 review of research published in the Swiss Journal of Psychology suggested that rimless glasses were the only type of eyewear that increased a subject's perceived trustworthiness without diminishing their attractiveness.
10. Make eye contact.
Whether you wear glasses or not, one of the quickest and easiest ways to appear more attractive is to look in the eyes of the people you're talking to.
A 2018 review of research published in Frontiers in Psychology confirmed that eye contact from someone good-looking can actually activate reward centers in the observer's brain, making the person giving eye contact appear even more attractive.
11. Spend time with your canine companion.
You know that your dog is adorable, but did you know your four-legged friend makes you look better, too?
That's according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, which found that men with dogs were perceived as more attractive and better partners by others.
"Dog ownership could signal that the man has enough material resources such as time and money to take care of the dog, or that he is dominant enough for a dog to obey him," says the study. "It can also signal that the man has empathy and other emotional resources, allowing him to affectionately bond with another, and to have a long-term commitment to care."
12. Groom your eyebrows.
"A well-groomed brow will polish your whole look," says esthetician Stephanie Jones, owner of The Blushery in Beacon, New York. "Keep up with regular brow shapings every four to six weeks with a skilled esthetician. While getting your brows shaped, have your esthetician show you how to properly fill in sparse areas and define your arch with the right products at home, in between appointments."
Even science backs up our cultural obsession with bold brows: A 2017 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology revealed that high facial contrast—like thick, dark brows—is perceived as particularly attractive.
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13. Swipe on some mascara.
Play up your eyes, and you'll look more attractive in an instant.
"Black mascara is universally flattering," says Jones. "No matter what the natural lash color may be, a quick coat of black mascara will open the eyes, lengthen and lift lashes, and define the eye shape." And remember what we said about eye contact?
14. Add a pop of color to your makeup.
Much like that red accent in your outfit, a bit of vibrant color in your makeup is sure to turn heads, too.
"Add some vibrancy with a pop of color," suggests Jones. "Clear skin, black mascara, and a killer red lip are sure to elevate any look."
And there's research to prove it: A 2017 study published in the journal i-Perception found that red lips and darker colors of lipstick were perceived as most attractive.
15. Skip your morning shave.
Think that clean shave is making you look like a million bucks? Think again.
A 2016 study on facial hair published in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology revealed that heavy stubble is most attractive to women, followed by light stubble, full beards, and, last of all, a clean-shaven face.
16. And don't go overboard with your body hair grooming.
Before you go wild with the waxing, know this: A 2016 study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior revealed that men with chest hair were viewed as more attractive by women than those with hairless bodies.
17. Play up the length of your legs.
It's no wonder heels are considered such a sexy accessory: A 2004 study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences suggested that there's a link between leg length in women and their perceived attractiveness.
And that goes for men, too. A 2018 review of research published in Royal Society Open Science found that the same is true for women viewing men.
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18. Tilt your head.
Adjusting the angle of your head by just a few centimeters could make you look more attractive in no time.
According to a 2015 study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Ethology, when given photos of women to review, people deemed those with their heads tilted down as more attractive than their non-tilted counterparts more than 60 percent of the time.
19. Smile more.
If you had to choose between someone scowling and someone with a warm, welcoming smile, you'd choose the latter every time, wouldn't you?
And you're not alone: A 2016 study published in the journal PLoS One revealed that smiling not only makes people appear younger to others but more attractive as well.
20. Whiten your teeth.
A smile goes a long way, but a white one might go even further.
According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, the condition of a person's teeth is highly associated with their perceived attractiveness.
The researchers also found that lightening a person's tooth color was the change most likely to cause others to perceive their teeth as attractive.
21. Demonstrate your kindness.
One of the easiest ways to look better? Remind people of just how kind you are with a few good deeds.
A 2014 study published in Personality and Individual Differences revealed that people perceived as good and kind enjoyed what's called a "halo effect," meaning that their kindness actually made them more physically attractive to others.
22. Be clear about how you're feeling.
One surprising thing that can make you feel better and look better to others is being open about your feelings, whether you're happy, sad, or even stressed.
According to a 2016 study published in PNAS, the degree of attraction people felt to others was directly related to how well they understood the other person's emotional state.