By Sandra Wallace – Senior Injector (RN)
The Power of Red: What is it about red plump lips that is so attractive? A woman wearing red lipstick (or a red dress) certainly tends to stand out in a crowd. But what is it, exactly, that makes wearing red so attractive?
Is it the colour red itself? Or the contrast between red and the colours in your skin, hair or eyes? Psychologists and others have actually done research studies on the colour red to investigate the psychology of red.
Wearing Red Can Give You a Competitive Edge
So does Red help or hinder your chances in life – or the kind of attention you get? One study found that contestants in a physical contest had a better chance of winning if they were wearing red than any other colour.
Researchers have concluded that wearing red improved the sense of dominance over others in competition and seeing other competitors who were wearing red increased the perception of the other person as either dominant and/or being a threat. In other words, red does symbolise power but it can also symbolize ‘watch out.’
But these are just for competitive situations. What about facial attractiveness and the power of red? Redness in faces equates to attractiveness when women rate men’s attractiveness.
In November 2016, U.S. researchers reported that when women view men, the redness in the men’s faces positively influenced how attractive they rated the men. The women also judged the men as healthier.
The opposite is also true in how men rate women’s attractiveness – red apparently matters. In another study by the same researchers, men rated women as more attractive if their face was redder, and rated them less attractive if their skin was not as red. They also judged the women as healthier.
It is likely that these perceptions have to do with our innate, sometimes unconscious responses to what we consider to be healthy in a potential partner. If your facial skin is redder, there’s likely to be more blood flow to the skin and in general in your body. And having good circulation is usually a sign of good health, as well as youthfulness and the perceived potential to reproduce.
The Power Of Red in Photographs
In yet another study, this one in the UK in 2010, scientists allowed participants to change the colouring of the skin of women’s faces on a photograph to make the woman look more attractive in their view.
The participants increased the redness of the faces, especially the lips, which increased the contrast in the face. The scientists concluded that the association of the lip colour contrast and attractiveness may be attributable to its association with oxygenated blood including estrogen levels, sexual arousal and cardiac/respiratory health.
The Psychology of Colour and the Power of Red in Fashion
Wearing red works, too, to improve perceptions of attractiveness. It can draw attention and may leave a more positive impression than, say, wearing brown, beige or even black. What do we know about wearing red? Recent studies show that a woman wearing red clothes draws men’s attention and that women who wear red are seen as being “warmer” and more competent. Others note they even feel more confident – and more alluring – when wearing red. So red is a colour of power that can command attention – on your lips or as a fashion choice.
Studies of the Red Effect and Attractiveness
At the University of Phoenix, researchers handed a picture of a female wearing a red or white shirt eating healthy or unhealthy food. They asked the participants to rate the female for attractiveness.
When the woman wore red, she was rated as being more attractive. But if she wore red and ate an unhealthy food, the red effect didn’t occur. She wasn’t as attractive. So perhaps the context of wearing red, and behaviours we see linked to a person wearing red, may either enhance or negate the effect of the power of red alone.
Red Lips: Do Cosmetics Really Help? – Yes!
Many women swear wearing red lipstick and other makeup colours makes a huge difference in how they perceive their own attractiveness. Scientists in the UK believe they have the red effect figured out. They report that the use of cosmetics by women seems to consistently increase their attractiveness. It’s because the cosmetics increase the contrasts (in their skin colouring) that decline with age, such as when the skin starts to appear dull or ‘lifeless’ due to less circulation.
When you look at your mom and grandmother, their features may seem to blend together; but wearing makeup makes their eyes, eyebrows and mouth stand out so they look more youthful – and often, a bit more beautiful in their and in others’ perceptions. It all has to do with colour. And facial skin health and skin tone colour, as we age, is somewhat dependent on circulation, not just makeup.
Fortunately, circulation in the skin – along with collagen – can be improved with home skincare treatments to help give your skin a bit more colour – and more life.
How Can You Increase Your Facial Attractiveness
When you’re young, your eyebrows, eyes and eyelashes, and lips stand out naturally. Your lips are fuller and redder, thus increasing the contrast of colours in your face. You can enhance it by wearing red lipstick and other colours – but you have a bit of natural redness too, and plump features, which really helps. So, what are all these studies telling us how we can try to look our best as we age?
We could interpret them in a few different ways. How you interpret them will be something fun to test in your life. Here are three ways you might interpret the studies, but at the end of the day – just see what you experience when you experiment with the power of red, including red lip colour.
Three Research-based Lessons to Help You Be More Attractive
Lesson 1 – Don’t leave home unless you have your makeup on
Increasing the contrast in the face doesn’t mean not covering up that newly sprouted pimple. Wear your eye makeup, use the liner on your brows, and for the power of red’s sake, wear your favourite red lipstick if it compliments your other colouring. There are different shades of red, fortunately, so even when you’re at the gym, you can still wear red lipstick.
Lesson 2 – Work out other ways to look healthier
In one study, scientists in Scotland tested the effect of diet on skin colour. Six weeks of eating 3 portions of fruits and vegetables was enough to be rated more attractive to the opposite sex. Beauty comes from within! Now imagine how much more attractive you would look if you consumed an 8-ounce glass of freshly squeezed vegetable juice daily, which is equal to about 6 servings or more. You wouldn’t have to wait six weeks for others to think you were more attractive.
Lesson 3 – Consider lip plumping with lip filler injections.
These dermal fillers to lips give you a bit more facial contrast, so your lips aren’t dwindling away as you age. Injections can even remedy an overly gummy smile or uneven lips, or just add a bit of natural looking plumpness to thin lips (so long as you use an injector who doesn’t go overboard).
Wearing red lipstick for upcoming beach parties? Maybe you should!