There have been precious few positives during the Covid pandemic but British academics may have unearthed one: people look more attractive in protective masks.
Researchers at Cardiff University were surprised to find that both men and women were judged to look better with a face covering obscuring the lower half of their faces.
In what may be a blow for producers of fashionable coverings – and the environment – they also discovered that a face covered with a disposable-type surgical mask was likely to be deemed the most appealing.
Dr Michael Lewis, a reader from Cardiff University’s school of psychology and an expert in faces, said research carried out before the pandemic had found that medical face masks reduced attractiveness because they were associated with disease or illness.
“We wanted to test whether this had changed since face coverings became ubiquitous and understand whether the type of mask had any effect,” he said.