8 things that make you less attractive according to researchers

There are many ways to increase your attractiveness that don’t involve how you actually look. Having a sense of humour and smiling a lot are some of the tricks that have been shown to work. But we also send out signals that do the exact opposite, often quite unconsciously.

Sleep deprivation
Lack of sleep not only makes you feel worse, it also makes you less attractive. In a 2010 study, participants compared pictures of people who had gotten at least eight hours of sleep the night before with another group who hadn’t slept for 31 hours.

The results showed that those who were sleep-deprived were considered significantly less attractive than the well-rested group.

Stress has a negative impact on us, but did you know that it also reduces your attractiveness? High levels of the stress hormone cortisol make us less attractive in the eyes of others, research shows.

And it’s really worth thinking about. Because of its many negative properties, cortisol has been nicknamed the ‘death hormone’ – partly because it makes us age faster.

Being unpleasant
In 2014, a Chinese study was conducted in which both men and women were shown pictures of people with a neutral facial expression. Some of them were presented with the Chinese words for “unpleasant” and “honest” while others lacked word descriptions altogether.

Those described as unpleasant received by far the lowest ranking, perhaps not entirely unexpectedly. Because who likes a sourpuss?

Defensive body language
Around 60% of communication between people takes place through our body language. So how you sit or stand affects people around you more than you think.

In a 2016 study, researchers created two different profiles in a dating app for all of their test subjects. The personal information was the same, instead it was the pictures that differed. In one, the men and women had been photographed in a defensive position, such as with their arms crossed. In the other profile picture, they were asked to raise their arms and form a V in the air.

The dating profiles with more open body language got the best response from users – a pretty clear example of how body language and attraction go hand in hand.

Bad humour
Humour ranks high on the list of desirable qualities when looking for love. And it seems to be equally important for both. Laughing with your partner actually makes you even more attracted to each other.

Research from 2009 shows that even a little half-baked humour is as unattractive as having no humour at all.

Our attractiveness has a lot to do with how helpful we are to others.

In 2004, researchers had a group of students assess each other’s personality traits (including attractiveness) before and after they started a joint course. When the results were analysed, it became clear that students who were rated as average at the beginning of the course were perceived as less attractive if they proved to be real lazy during the course. In other words – nobody wants to date a slacker.

For like or unlike body odour

With our sense of smell, we can read a potential partner’s immune system in an instant. If we’re too similar or too different, the risk of a weak offspring increases. That’s why we (subconsciously) choose people who don’t complement us, researchers say.

And that can be a small consolation when you’ve been rejected by someone. After all, you can’t help what genes you’ve been given!

Lying about your age or income won’t make you look any better. On the contrary. A 2006 study found that honesty was the single most important trait affecting attractiveness and liking among participants.