(Photo by Maylin Rowe)
Need a Beauty Boost?
By Jacqueline Napoli
We have heard this sage advice before. Our moms told us (perhaps to a little eye-rolling) that true beauty consists of what lies on the inside. Eleanor Roosevelt, the longest-serving First Lady in U.S. history, famously said it too: “No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.”Science has done it again… caught up with the Bible, that is! In 2014, Scientific American published a blog article, titled “Is Kindness Physically Attractive?” showcasing several studies proving that people can actually become twice as beautiful, or (yikes!) twice as unattractive. What exactly did researchers discover? They found that kindness and excellent character make you much more attractive to others, whereas meanness and nastiness make you, well, kind of ugly.
The apostle Peter said it almost two millennia ago. He taught women through one of his letters not to merely concern themselves about stuff like hair and makeup and fashion and fitness, but to pay keener attention to the kind of beauty that is extremely valuable to God. He urged us to focus on the hidden beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. It seems that nowadays, scientists are proving that Peter turned out to be quite the beauty expert.
Some examples? In one of the interesting trials mentioned by the Scientific American blog article, a group of students went on a six-week archaeological dig, and right away the guys were asked to rate the girls’ attractiveness on a scale of one to ten. The results were consistent: nice girls’ prettiness increased after three weeks, and mean girls’ prettiness diminished. One girl got a 3.5 score at the outset, before anyone knew her, but once the guys discovered how friendly, fun, and hardworking she truly was, their perception of her doubled to a score of seven.
The opposite was observed in a yearbook study. Strangers were asked to decide how good-looking certain people were in a yearbook. One particularly handsome fellow received very high ratings by the strangers. But the story changed when some of the girls that had known him during high school had a glance. One winced and reacted with intense disgust; another rated him “extremely unattractive.” This was after not seeing him for thirty years!
The article’s author, Scott Barry Kaufman, summarizes: “I know this is not your standard beauty tip, but the results of these studies do suggest that if you want to improve your physical attractiveness, strengthening the content of your character may be the most effective thing you can do.” Isn’t it wonderful when scientists discover the truth of what God’s been saying all along?
So, to boil it right down, perhaps along with all our exfoliating and conditioning and checking fashion blogs, we could do ourselves a favor for both time and eternity. We could seek to acquire the unfading beauty that is precious in God’s sight by seeking to be so close to Jesus, through worship, obedience, and unhurried time in the Word, that His gentle, quiet beauty could have a chance to radiate through our lives, down to our very faces, even if they might be a little “plain.” We might just end up twice as pretty, to both God, and people.
Find out more about this study here: