Life just isn’t fair, and physical attractiveness lets some people get ahead without even trying.
Studies have shown that attractive people are more likely to get favorable treatment in school, at work, and in social situations. One study in Tourism Management showed that attractive people get better service at hotels because employees tend to believe good-looking people are kinder and better customers.
So whether you’re trying to find love, get a promotion, or just get better service at Howard Johnson, here are some simple ways to appear more attractive without doing much at all.
Stand with a Group
A study in the journal Psychological Science found that people are slightly more attractive when viewed in a group setting than by themselves, a phenomenon ladies man Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother called the “cheerleader effect.”
Drew Walker and Edward Vul of the University of California, San Diego studied how people rated the attractiveness of others and found that those standing in a group were rated slightly more favorably. In five studies including 130 college students, they found that being in a group bumped people from the 49th percentile to the 51st percentile of attractiveness.
“The effect is definitely small, but some of us need all the help we can get,” Vul joked.
“Average faces are more attractive, likely due to the averaging out of unattractive idiosyncrasies," Walker said. "Perhaps it's like Tolstoy's families: Beautiful people are all alike, but every unattractive person is unattractive in their own way.”
Pull Up Your Double Chin
Have a little extra skin under your chin that you’d prefer not to see in pictures? Right before the shutter clicks, lift your tongue up to the roof of your mouth. The slight muscle movement pulls up the skin underneath your jaw and gives you a leaner look.
(Also remember this trick the next time you get a brain freeze from eating ice cream too fast. The heat from your tongue helps kill the pain.)
And if you’re trying to tone up your jawline in the long-term, try chewing gum. It strengthens the muscles and slowly burns fat, like a treadmill for your face.
Roll Your Shoulders Back and Stand Tall
Mom was right to tell you to stand up tall. Body language often says more about us than words can.
Biologically, slouching is a signal of weakness, as if we’re curling up to protect our vital organs during an attack. The biggest, strongest alpha males in the animal kingdom strut around unguarded, showing that they aren’t afraid of other competing males.
Rolling back your shoulders and sticking your chest out a little shows that you are confident in your abilities, whether it’s fighting off competitors or fighting for a mate—all without saying a word.
Men: Don Some Facial Hair
A study in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior found that the Brawny man look isn’t the best way to woo a mate, unless you’re trying to tell them you’d make a good dad.
Researchers had men and women rate the attractiveness, health, masculinity, and parenting abilities of men based on their photographs. Overall, women said men with heavy stubble were the most attractive, while men rated full beards and heavy stubble as most attractive.
However, both sexes rated full beards highest for both parenting ability and healthiness. In fact, women in the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle found men with full beards to be the most masculine.
“Our findings confirm that beardedness affects judgments of male socio-sexual attributes and suggest that an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive, while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring,” the researchers concluded.
A different study in the same journal found that, on average, women prefer a man’s face that is slightly more masculine than average, so celebrating Movember might just help you get a date.