After Reading This Study, I Just Ordered a Lifetime Supply of Blue Medical Masks

Here’s a question for you – of the four faces shown above, which one do you find most attractive?

In a recent study, 43 women were asked to judge the attractiveness of a group of 40 men’s faces across four scenarios: without a mask, while wearing a cloth mask, while wearing a blue medical face mask, and while holding a plain black book covering the area a face mask would conceal.

Prior to showing the faces to the women, the 40 men’s faces were categorized into the 20 most attractive and the 20 least attractive, based on previous studies. (Now I know why those researchers kept bugging me for a headshot – they needed to get more people into that least attractive group.)

The study ran as follows: the women were shown one face at a time, in random order. There were a total of 160 faces to look at (40 men, each one of them photographed in each of the four scenarios shown in the photo above). The women were asked to rate the attractiveness of each face on a scale of 1-7.

The results, shown in the chart below, indicated that the most attractive face was the one covered with a blue medical mask, followed by a cloth mask, then covered with a book, and finally, no covering. This was true for both the attractive group and the unattractive groups.

The study also notes that research carried out before the pandemic found medical face masks reduce attractiveness.

Here is one possible explanation offered by the researchers as to why that thinking has changed: “we’re used to healthcare workers wearing blue masks and now we associate these with people in caring or medical professions. At a time when we feel vulnerable, we may find the wearing of medical masks reassuring and so feel more positive towards the wearer.”

So I can’t wait for my Amazon order of blue masks to arrive. While it may not move me from the unattractive to the attractive group, any improvement would be most welcome…


Study FInds

Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications (this is where the images came from as well)


117 thoughts on “After Reading This Study, I Just Ordered a Lifetime Supply of Blue Medical Masks

  1. Haha, after all, if you wear the blue mask, people think that you’re a doctor!!! We’ll have a fashion show here at home, blue, black, and white. We got a whole bunch blue when took the vaccine. Hubby ordered a whole bunch of black to add to the collection of N95. In a week, we can get the N95 for free. Do we want Covid to stay longer?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. These days, you’re considered a grandma-killer if you don’t believe in wearing masks. So I suspect that in an effort to protect themselves from condemnation, the women selected the mask wearer as most attractive.

    On the other hand, I’ve improved my looks by wearing a bag over my head, so I’m sure a mask makes me more attractive anyway.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think you’re on to something with the bag over your head. If covering half of one’s face improves your attractiveness, can you imagine what covering all of it must do. Perhaps you should write on the outside of the bag that you are a doctor…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. No, he’s not frowning either. You can tell by the eyes what the facial expression below is. I surmise that it’s a bland poker face. He’s holding four Aces, and you’ve got 2-Pair. You can try drawing to a Full House, but you’re still screwed. So it’s not an attractive face.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I think that’s called a murse. When I’m on vacation, I carry my camera in a large camera bag that looks like a murse. And it does make me attractive, because sometimes it attracts weird looks.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. If you put a serious man next to a smiling one I can tell you what the survey will show. LOL!Though it depends on the eyes, some men can ace a serious look, just not this guy. πŸ˜„

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Nothing like market research during a pandemic. I’m betting if the dude actually smiled, people might vote for the no-mask version.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I wonder how many masks I would have to wear to move from the unattractive group to the attractive group. What if all I wear is a mask? There are still many unanswered questions here. We need more research!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Does the study cover women’s attractiveness wearing masks ? If it works the same way, then all that botox, fillers etc. is wasted money. πŸ˜… I don’t really care if anyone thinks I’m attractive in a mask, I avoid wearing it as much as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Regardless of the pandemic, Jim, I like the face masks in my country where so many people have HIV/Aids and TB. They do make me feel safer especially among food servers and kitchen staff. On the other hand, SA is plagued by crime and criminals and the face masks obscure people’s faces and identities, so in shopping centres they can make me a little stressed. Do I think people look better with them, no way!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hehe this is interesting… I honestly thought full face would win but I guess it could be true that we associate masks with caring professions (I guesss…) but this post also reminded me of my hat theory! Any man wearing a baseball cap looks good.. MUCH BETTER than without the hat… I have this chat with my girlfriends often lol men look better in baseball caps lol… that’s all I had to say about that lol

    Liked by 1 person

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