A recent study examined the preferences for female eyelash lengths. The results indicated that individuals across all races typically found an eyelash length equal to one-third of the eye’s width to be the most attractive. Faces with extremely long or no eyelashes were perceived as the least appealing. The study was published in Scientific Reports.
Eyelashes, the short, fine hairs that grace the upper and lower eyelids, play a crucial role in enhancing beauty. They frame the eyes, making them appear larger and more captivating, thus adding to the overall aesthetic appeal of the face. Beyond aesthetics, these tiny hairs also serve a protective function by acting as a natural barrier against dust, debris, and sweat, which helps prevent eye irritation and infection.
Additionally, the sensitivity of eyelashes to touch prompts protective reflexes like blinking when foreign objects approach the eyes. Eyelashes are an essential element of many beauty routines and cosmetic enhancements, contributing significantly to an individual’s allure and facial charm. Scientists have measured the length of eyelashes in different mammal species and found that their length seems to be constant across species at about one-third of the width of an eye.
Study authors Farid Pazhoohi and Alan Kingstone suggested that there exists a specific eyelash length preference and that deviations from this standard, either longer or shorter, might be deemed less attractive. They hypothesized that eyelash length could signify an individual’s health and genetic quality.
Consequently, people might be inclined to perceive the most functionally optimal eyelash lengths, which minimize eye surface evaporation and contamination, as the most attractive. The authors pursued this study not only to validate these suppositions but also to discern potential differences in eyelash length preferences among genders and different ethnic groups.
The study involved 319 U.S. MTurk workers who identified themselves as Asian, Black, or White. The average participant age was 41 years. 39% were married, 19% were in relationships, and 32% were single. The remainder were widowed, divorced, or separated. Almost half (49%) of the participants held an undergraduate degree, while 15% had completed postgraduate studies.
Using Daz3D software, the researchers crafted four facial images representing females from diverse ethnic backgrounds: Asian, Black, Indian, and White. These images were modeled after real individuals from respective global regions. Subsequently, Photoshop was employed to create 11 variations of each image, differing in eyelash lengths, totaling 44 unique facial images. Participants assessed the attractiveness of each image by answering, “How attractive do you think this woman is?” and provided a rating on a 7-point scale.
The results revealed that women found faces of Indian descent more attractive than both Black and White faces. They also preferred Asian faces over White ones. Conversely, men found Indian and Asian faces more appealing than Black faces, and they rated Asian faces higher than White faces.
Although there were slight variations in preferences among different ethnic groups, participants predominantly favored faces where the eyelashes constituted 30%-35% of the eye’s width. They also had a preference for Asian, White, and Indian faces with eyelashes that were 25% of the eye’s width, while favoring 40% for Black faces.
Asian participants exhibited a liking for faces with 20% eyelash lengths. In contrast, both Black and White participants favored Asian faces with eyelashes making up 40% of the eye’s width. Uniquely, White participants also found Black faces with 45% eyelash lengths appealing. Faces devoid of eyelashes or with overly long eyelashes were rated as the least attractive.
“The current study has revealed that regardless of the sex or ethnicity of an observer, the effect of eyelash length on the perceived attractiveness of a women’s face follows an inverted-U function, with attractiveness rising then falling with increasing eyelash length,” Pazhoohi and Kingstone concluded. “Critically, this pattern is observed for depiction of faces of different ethnicities (and eye color). Collectively, the data dovetail with the view that the optimum eyelash length evolved to maximum protect and facilitate vision. As such, deviations from that optimum are perceived to be less attractive as they may serve as signals of ill health.”
The study sheds light on general perceptions of eyelash attractiveness. However, it also has limitations that need to be considered. Notably, study participants rated static, computer-generated images of a female that were made to be similar, differing mainly in skin color. Attractiveness assessments of real people might not be the same. It is also possible that eyelash attractiveness perception might depend on other facial features which were not varied in this study.
The study, “Eyelash length attractiveness across ethnicities”, was authored by Farid Pazhoohi and Alan Kingstone.