Researchers at the University of St Andrews have shown for the first time that women with higher levels of estrogen do indeed have more attractive faces.
The team photographed 59 young women’s faces aged between 18 and 25 and analysed their sex hormone levels. Women with higher levels of estrogen were rated as more attractive, healthy and feminine looking.
-Model Farhiya Shire
For many years, scientists believed that when lovers gaze at each other they are merely using facial clues – large eyes, small nose, large lips and so on – to check that their prospective mate has high “fitness” and can efficiently pass their genes to the next generation.
The female sex hormone estrogen prevents the growth of facial bone, reduces the size of the nose and chin, and leads to large eyes, increased thickness of lips and fat deposition in the cheek area, along with hips and buttocks, features that announce that a woman is fertile.
Ms Law Smith said: “Women are effectively advertising their general fertility with their faces. Our findings could explain why men universally seem to prefer feminine women’s faces. In evolutionary terms, it makes sense for men to favour feminine fertile women, those that did would have had more babies.”
The first is that larger eyes (along with fuller lips, bigger breasts and smaller chins) are a sign of higher levels of estrogen. Women that have higher levels of estrogen will be more successful and have an easier time conceiving than women with lower levels. This means that women with larger eyes will be seen as a better ‘mate’.
A neotenous feature is a characteristic of youth shared by babies and children that humans evolved to retain so they could attract quality mates with “protective and nurturing impulses”. A mate with protective and nurturing impulses would be more likely to help raise their offspring and raise reproductive success.