We rounded up science-backed strategies to make yourself more appealing — and only some have to do with your physical appearance.
Two time-tested ways to look better are eating a nutritious diet and sticking to a workout routine. Unfortunately, those strategies need a while to take effect.
If you've got a party tonight — or if you need to impress a date today — you'll be pleased to know there are plenty of ways to amp up your appeal within a matter of minutes.
Below, Business Insider has rounded up nine ways to make other people think you're more attractive — that don't take very much work. Think changing the color of your outfit or listening more intently to what your conversation partner is saying.
Read on to learn the tricks of the trade.
In two experiments, published 2014 in the journal Cognition and Emotion, researchers in Switzerland examined the relationship between attractiveness and smiling.
They found that the stronger the smile, the more attractive a face looked.
In fact, they found, a happy facial expression appeared to compensate for relative unattractiveness.
As Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and author of "The Anatomy of Love," previously told Business Insider: "When you smile, those who see your smile, smile back, even if very briefly. And as they smile, they use facial muscles which trigger the release of neurochemicals in their brain associated with feelings of pleasure — and they are thus likely to feel happy in your company."
A 2010 cross-cultural study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General — with participants from China, England, Germany, and the US — found that women are more attracted to men wearing red.
In one experiment from the study, 55 female undergrads looked at a color photo of a man in either a red or green shirt, and then rated the man's attractiveness.
Sure enough, the man was rated significantly more attractive when he was wearing a red shirt. The results were similar when researchers compared the red shirt to other color shirts as well.
Interestingly, participants generally weren't aware that the man's clothing color was influencing their perceptions of his attractiveness.
In one small French study, published in the journal Psychological Reports, a man told a joke to two friends at a bar while a woman sat at a nearby table. Then that man was instructed to approach the woman and ask for her number. In another version of the situation, one of the men who listened to the joke asked the woman for her number. (These scenarios were repeated about 60 times total.)
After the man left, an experimenter approached the woman and asked her to rate the man on attractiveness and intelligence, and to indicate how much she would want to date the man long-term.
Results showed that the guy was three times as likely to get the woman's number when he'd told a joke. Plus he was rated more attractive and intelligent.
Simply knowing that you're wearing a new fragrance can make you act more confident, and even make you seem more attractive to other people.
In a small 2009 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, researchers gave one group of male undergraduates a spray with antimicrobial ingredients and fragrance oil and another group an unscented spray without antimicrobial ingredients. Over the next few days, the men who used the scented spray reported higher self-confidence and felt more attractive.
The strange part? When a group of women were shown silent videos of the men, they found those who were wearing scented spray more attractive, even though they obviously couldn't smell them. The researchers determined that the men using the scented spray displayed more confident behavior, which in turn made them more attractive.
For a 2015 Australian study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, researchers looked at about 90 undergrads participating in a speed-dating session, and found that men who scored high on a test of mindfulness also received high attractiveness ratings from women.
The researchers can't say for sure why this pattern emerged, but one possibility is that men high in mindfulness may have been more attentive to their partners, and better able to manage any anxiety that would otherwise interfere with their communication.
In a 2013 study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, 100 Israeli women read vignettes about men. Some of the men were described as "cads": They would cheat on their partner and get into fights. The other men were described as stereotypical "dads": They would work hard at their job and take good care of their kids.
Whenever the story featured a cad who owned a dog, women rated that man as a more suitable long-term partner than a cad who didn't own a dog. Cads with dogs were even rated slightly more attractive than dads with dogs.
The researchers concluded that owning a pet signals that you're nurturing and capable of making long-term commitments. It can also help you appear more relaxed, approachable, and happy.
Not into pet ownership? The good news is simply being seen with a dog can make you seem more dateable. In one 2008 study, published in the journal Anthrozoos, a 20-year-old man approached hundreds of women and asked for their phone numbers. When he had a dog with him, he was much more likely to score their digits.
Research suggests that men who act kindly toward babies are more attractive to women.
In a 2014 French study, published in the Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, a 20-year-old man seated on a park bench was approached by his "sister" (a confederate) and her baby. This scenario was repeated multiple times: Half the time, the man spoke to and paid attention to the baby and half the time, he all but ignored the baby.
After the "sister" left, the man complimented a woman seated nearby and asked for her phone number. When the man had played with the baby, 40% of the women gave him their number, compared to the 12% who gave him their number when he ignored the baby. The man was also rated more attractive when he'd played with the baby.
Another French study, published 2015 in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that women are more attractive to men when they wear high heels.
In one experiment, a woman sitting at a bar was more likely to be approached by men at the bar when she was wearing high heels, compared to when she was wearing flats or medium heels.
Wearing heels may affect men's behavior in other ways, too. In another experiment, men were more likely to comply with a woman's request to complete a survey when she was wearing high heels.
In a blog post for Psychology Today, Madeleine A. Fugère, a professor of Social Psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University, writes about a psychological trick to make you appear more attractive. "Start your night with the contrast effect; end it with the assimilation effect," she writes.
The contrast effect describes what happens when you appear especially beautiful in comparison to someone who's not so good-looking. The assimilation effect describes what happens when you're rated as more attractive because you're associated with a good-looking group.
Fugère explains how to take advantage of both strategies:
"At the party, follow a less attractive individual to the entrance, to make yourself appear more attractive at the moment of arrival. Subsequently, you should hang out with your most gorgeous friends all night, making you a part of that attractive group."
It's not exactly the kindest method you can employ to be more attractive, but hey — it might work.