A recent study by Manchester University shows that red lips hold men's attention longer than nude ones.
"Our research suggests that red lips and perceived attractiveness are still inextricably linked, with red lipstick the most powerful attractor, and one that significantly increases visual fixation," Dr. Geoff Beattie, the study's lead scientist, told the UK's
Daily Mail. "The practice dates back as far as the ancient Egyptians, who used red lipstick and rouge to enhance their attractiveness."
According to the study, which involved tracking the eye movements of 50 men as they were presented with images of different women, in the ten seconds after meeting a woman for the first time the average man will spend more than half that time looking at her mouth. If she's wearing lipstick, he'll find it difficult to look away: Men gazed at women's lips for an average of 7 seconds while spending just 0.95 seconds looking at their eyes and 0.85 seconds noticing their hair. And the brighter the lipstick shade the better: Pink hues kept men fixated for 6.7 seconds while fire engine red shades held their interest for 7.3 seconds.
The study also reveals that lip size is largely insignificant when it comes to perceived attractiveness - despite whether women have thin lips or possess Angelina Jolie's bee-stung pout, if they wear a bright shade of lipstick they automatically secure much greater levels of attention than those who do not.
Fall 2010 saw the return of the crimson lip, as seen on the runway for the Proenza Shouler, Givenchy and Chanel shows. At Proenza Shouler and Givenchy, models' faces were rendered pale and matte so that the main focus was on the lip, which was strongly defined and colored in strong statement shades like dark wine and blood red.