The Unexpected Facial Feature That Makes Women More Attractive

Having lived with yourself for a good number of years, you probably know what facial features of yours you like the best. Is it your eyes? Your sharp nose?

Interestingly, the lips are among the facial features that make women more attractive, according to a 2018 study – specifically, lips that are full and proportionate to your facial width. It doesn't hurt if they are painted red either, the study further notes. Lip augmentation procedures have increased by 43% over the past two decades (per SELF). "Patients are becoming more comfortable with discussing it," explained Dr. David H. Song, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 

Your lips are also one of the first things someone notices about you when they meet you for the first time, a different study has found (via Daily Mail). The study was carried out by scientists at Manchester University and led by Dr. Geoff Beattie. After analyzing what facial feature 50 men lingered on the most within 10 seconds of meeting someone new, lips (specifically, a pout painted red) came out on top. As Beattie shared, "This study proves that lips represent one of the most sensual aspects of a woman's body and play a critical role in human sexual attraction. Full and red lips combined deliver the perfect pout to achieve male fixation, but women who simply wear lipstick — regardless of their lip type — secure significantly greater levels of attraction than those who do not."

Full lips might be a sign of youthfulness and sexual energy

Full lips might be attractive because they are a sign of sexual energy and youthfulness, according to anthropologist, partner, and cultural strategist at Culture Agency in Atlanta, Jamie Gordon (via Women's Health). "When you look at the anthropological history of the female body and sexuality, full lips signal not only sensuality, but being excited about having sex. Much like how studies show that the higher your hip-to-waist ratio in some African tribal cultures, the more attractive you are, full lips can also make you seem more attractive," she explained. 

A 2010 study in Vision Research found that women with large lips not only indicated "strong mating potential," but were also considered more attractive when on a face with average length and width ratios (versus thin lips on a similar facial structure). A full pout is determined by the fat pads in your lips, as explained by board-certified dermatologist and Van Dyke Aesthetics founder Susan Van Dyke (per Byrdie). But this changes with time: "As we age, all these fat pads slowly shrink and thin. The result is a thinning lip (as well as volume depletion on the entire face)."

So how can you protect this physical trait that secretly makes your face more attractive? While cosmetic procedures like lip fillers or botox lip flips are possible avenues you can pursue, if you're interested in more natural methods, you can start by paying attention to how you're taking care of your pout as you age. 

How to care for your lips so they remain attractive as you age

Much like caring for the rest of your body, caring for your lips takes consistent and mindful effort. While you might already have a lip balm in your purse for all those cold months when your lips need some extra TLC, collagen supplements may help keep your pout plump as you age. Functional medicine practitioner Robert Rountree told mindbodygreen, "Collagen literally holds us together — it makes up 30% of the body's protein and 70% of the skin's protein. The No. 1 cause of skin aging is the loss of collagen." You may also want to avoid certain lifestyle choices. According to Harley Street facial cosmetic surgeon Dr. Julian De Silva (via The Independent): "Don't smoke, stay out of the sun, and don't overdo the booze if you want your lips to be naturally full for longer."

Going out in the sun? Safeguard your lips like you would any other part of your face or body. "Protecting your lips from the sun is just as important as protecting your face," shared aesthetic nurse practitioner Shawna Jones (via mindbodygreen). "Look for products that have a physical sunblock [titanium dioxide and zinc oxide]. Some also contain other moisturizing actives, like hyaluronic acid, to hydrate and smooth the lips."  Eat nutritious food and drink enough water during the day. Any health professional would give this advice for overall health; unsurprisingly, your lips can benefit from such healthy habits, too.