Since the pandemic began, ‘we may find the wearing of medical masks reassuring’, said a researcher from Cardiff University. Photograph: Westend61/Getty Images

Wearing a face mask might actually make you appear more attractive. Cardiff University researchers measured how different types of face masks changed the attractiveness of 40 male faces. They found the type of mask makes a difference, as blue medical masks were found to increase attractiveness most. Researcher and expert in the psychology of faces, Dr. Michael Lewis, explains, “Our study suggests faces are considered most attractive when covered by medical face masks. This may be because 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.” They also found faces were considered more attractive when covered by cloth masks than when not covered at all—and say that could be because masks can cover undesirable features in the lower part of the face—though the effect was the same for both attractive and unattractive participants. Lewis adds that the pandemic has changed our psychology—we no longer perceive someone wearing a mask as having a disease or needing to be avoided.