What Beauty Tips Do You Think I Should Use to Attract Men?

Evan, I know you get a lot of really heavy questions, but I have a simple, light-hearted question for you. Should I grow my hair out? I’m 51 and have some gray, but not a lot. I recently added highlights to help blend in the gray. My hair is currently a shoulder-length bob. I have a great stylist and the cut is very flattering, but I wonder if longer hair would be more appealing to men. –Liz

Liz,

Since there are so many people (and women’s magazines) who think that dating coaching is all about the physical, I tend to shy away from topics like this. Isn’t there enough societal reinforcement to remind you what men find attractive?

And aren’t there enough exceptions to these rules to prove that you can still find your partner even if you don’t listen to Cosmo?

Hell, walk around the mall: how many people actually look like a thinner version of Kim Kardashian? Not many, that’s for sure.

In fact, it seems that millions of people are getting married to people who don’t look like models. Men with a gut. Women with an ass. Men who are balding. Women who are graying.

It seems that millions of people are getting married to people who don’t look like models.

Are all these people crazy? Are they settling? Do they have no standards whatsoever? No, no, and no.

In fact, most people arrive organically to the conclusions that I draw as a dating coach – that holding out for a commitment-oriented George Clooney is tantamount to choosing to be single forever. And that if you want to pair up and build a life, you might have to deal with a guy who is shorter than 5’11”, or has a belly. Why? Because that’s the majority of men.

I believe that most of us understand that people do get “thicker” as we get older (at least I do!). People do get wrinkled. People do start to sag and shrink and lose height and musculature. It takes a lot of work to avoid this fate and many people are just trying to figure out how to pay the mortgage and put food on the table.

So it’s not that there’s nothing to be gained from trying how to maximize your overall value in the eyes of men… it’s just that it’s a piece of the puzzle, that’s all.

In my experience, men dream of something that isn’t even real – or is at least exceptionally rare – they want thin and curvy. Some combination of Salma Hayek and Alessia Ambrosio. Big boobs, tiny waist. No fat. Young. Long hair.

This would explain the models you see inside and outside men’s magazines: Maxim, Playboy, Esquire…and would also explain the actresses you see in women’s magazines, where they have their bodies dissected by “experts” in various states of undress.

It’s not that there’s nothing to be gained from trying how to maximize your overall value in the eyes of men… it’s just that it’s a piece of the puzzle, that’s all.

It’s hard to say who’s to blame for cultivating this unrealistic taste – men, women, advertisers, editors – all I know is that we’re being sold an unhealthy fantasy that’s going to smack us really hard when reality sets in. Because people aren’t airbrushed in real life. They don’t have professional hair and makeup. They don’t stay 25-39 forever.

And from talking to my clients, I’ve learned it’s quite dispiriting when you go through the effort to run a triathlon, grow your hair out, hire a personal trainer, get a professional eye job and dye job… and you discover that the men on Match are perfectly content as a paunchy, salt-and-pepper haired 50-year-old businessman. He doesn’t worry about getting his nails done or his scrotum waxed. Why? Because there are plenty of women who will appreciate a smart, considerate, relationship-oriented man, even if he doesn’t look like he did at 35.

Long story short, Liz: yes, long hair, thin waist, big boobs and a stylish and sexy wardrobe will certainly help garner more attention. But you want a man who will be attracted to that and then see past it.

Don’t fall into the beauty trap like so many others who are afraid of what men will think. Instead work on becoming the kind of woman that men will marry because of your character, patience and humor.

Your looks may get you in the door.

Your personality will be what keeps them there.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Barnett

    I agree…

    We should just keep things simple and realize a potential mate’s inner qualities determines their real beauty and attraction.

  2. 32
    Ellen

    Men are so visual it makes my head spin.

    Older women can wear long hair- depends on her face size, shape, whether she has facial sag, so many factors, but I was SO proud of Gloria Steinem bucking the trend and staying with her gorgeous long hair. This was years ago.

    I am 59 and still wear mini-skirts! And lately show some cleavage- even at work- after being really uptight about it my whole life. But hey! women spill out of things. Get used to it, ok?! To get back to minis, I can barely get away with it, I ask my younger girlfriends to be utterly blunt with me but so far so good. Your gams lose it in your fifties, finally, around the knees somehow.

    My elbows are a mess, but I’m NOT getting collagen shots there. I have to draw a line in the sand folks!

    My skin on my legs started to look dry last year so I bought a special shower filter and presto, chango, no more dry skin (apparently sulphur and flouride are the culprits). I am prattling on like this, ’cause I am an alpha woman who likes to find solutions rather than lay down and just take the aging.

    Also, I’m a redhead and I find certain men are rather mesmerized by it, love it, think I’m beyond sexy ’cause of it. Mine is light auburn with blonde streaks, so a nice shade, though I help it along now that I am older (Revlon 72). It’s really who I am, even physiologically. For most hair color doesn’t matter but for redheads it just does. We require more anesthesia for example. We are all nerves for the most part. Lower pain threshold in general. In every way. Not always a lot of fun, let me tell you.

    Still I’ve disliked blondes most of my life ’cause of the mesmerizing effect they seem to have on men.  What’s the joke? A guy will hump a water heater with a blonde wig. They don’t even take the facial features into account. The blonde can look like a barmaid, nothing special, but the men will line right up. Sad really.

    Oh, today on yahoo.com or msn or somesuch they ran a shot of Jennifer Love Hewitt without makeup as if that was breaking world news. Beyond disgusting.

  3. 33
    Ellen

    PS My current new REAL boyfriend (thanks Evan) told me recently he likes me without makeup (and also that he liked my singing voice). Sigh. I told him later that he now had a free pass with me for, like, LIFE.

  4. 34
    Kristen

    Besides having a great personality, if you are eating a whole foods plant based diet, you’re going to look great at any age and that will be a huge asset.

  5. 35
    Charlotte

    Thanks so much for this question and all of your comments. 

    So many of the blogs and dating sites focus on a woman’s looks and femininity to the point of the only way you can attract a man is to have waist length hair (color does not matter as long as it is not gray), perfect spray tanned skin, dresses and only dresses (no slacks or casual wear) high heels, etc.  There is very little about being a woman of substance and what a woman’s character and personality brings to a relationship…what her goals in life are outside of looking good and impressing men.

    Now taking care of yourself and grooming says a lot of about a woman and how she views herself.  If she just takes an attitude of not caring, being frumpy or looking like one of the guys of course most men are gonna take a pass.  

    And yes, there are man who will also pass on a woman who does not specifically have long hair, isn’t wearing a dress and dressed ultra feminine.  If a woman wants that type of man then yes, she should do it.    Think about being in a relationship with the type of  man who is only interested in the superficial parts of a woman. 

    I think it is not long hair (blond or otherwise), heels and dresses that attract a man of substance but more that a woman does the best with what nature has given her, making herself as attractive as she can AND that she is his type physically.  Taking care of herself is important to her because it lines up with every other part of her but she certainly has a lot more to offer and that is her approach to dating. 

         

        

  6. 36
    starthrower

    My experience has been that I have gotten more attention with long hair.  I don’t look good in short hair but some women look stunning with it.  Look at Halle Barry who is fabulous with a pixie cut!  I have also been told by more than one fellow that who has seen pics of me as a blonde and as a brunette that they prefer me as a brunette.  So it really depends.  If a guy has nothing to compare you with short hair vs. long hair, then he may go with long hair on impulse.  However, if you’ve ever seen What Not To Wear, a lot of women get significant length taken off of their hair but their husbands and boyfriends love it.  No doubt that has more to do with his love for the women, but it really is so subjective there’s not a really away to anticipate what a man will find attractive.  I would be willing to bet many of us at one time would have been surprised at who we ended up with.
     

  7. 37
    Stacy

    It is impossible to give a hair style advice without seeing a person. Long hair is great but it gets tricky with age. If she looks anything like Patti Stanger and has good hair – I would say yes, grow it out and definitely dye the grey. But a lot of mature women just don’t look good with long hair, period. It makes them look older than they are. This is very individual

  8. 38
    Laura S.

    People watching with both men and women, comparing likes and dislikes, a pageboy bob haircut on older women looks too severe to the guys.  The men like hair that appears more “fun.”  I don’t think it matters if you grow it long, but having the front cut to frame your face would soften things up and bring some fun to your hair and frame your smile.

    @ Lance, the BMI for women is skewed.  I know obesity is rampant among us older women, but some of us haven’t fit the BMI chart since we were 12 and grew boobs.  Those of us with boobs and muscles are way off the chart without sacrificing looks or health.

  9. 39
    Rosy

    When I first left my husband I shaved my hair off. Yes, all of it. The full Sinead O’Connor. It was probably a bit childish but my husband had tried to control so much about my appearance that when I left him I felt it was a way to get back some control. Also, I didn’t want to date so I wasn’t at all concerned at that point about attracting men.

    The hilarious thing was in the space of a month after doing it I got asked out by three different men, once in the supermarket, once in a cafe and once in the pub with my friends! (I said thanks but no thanks to them as I wasn’t in a “dating” kind of a place.) I actually plucked up the courage to ask the third one why he’d asked me out (I was curious) and he said he’d never thought a woman could be pretty without her hair, and as I’d proved him wrong he was drawn to me!

    (I actually didn’t think I was that pretty at all, but there you go, who knows?)

    Three years on my hair is now in a long-ish bob and dyed with henna, and I have a lovely boyfriend who loves my style which is now more “quirky” than “crazy”!

    I’m not recommending the OP goes out and gets herself a skinhead (unless she wants to!) but I really think it goes to show that sometimes a bit of confidence in your own skin and individuality can be quite attractive to some men.

  10. 40
    Tanya

    I love, love, love this post. Once again, bang on!

  11. 41
    snowqueen

    I am 55 and 18 months ago I decided to grow out my grey.  Previously I had dyed it dark brown, my original colour, and it looked fairly natural.  But I hate that dyed look on women when they get beyond a certain stage.  Hard to quantify – but when it no longer looks like it’s a style choice.  I thought that when I reached that age I would have to grow it out and then I wouldn’t have the confidence I had at 54.  I started going grey when I was in my 20s so am very grey/white now.

    I do a highly visible job but decided that I would just have to go for it and endured the badger look for about 6 months!  I maintained my hairstyle (a layered bob just above shoulder length) because it suits my face.  The response was so interesting – it was mostly women who were horrified.  Most of my male friends had no problem with it.  At one point I was dating 3 fabulous men and was having a hard time choosing between them.  None of them seemed remotely concerned about my hair – I kept the dyed hair photo on my profile but then warned them I was in a half/half stage when they asked for a date and no one turned me down (maybe UK males are less shallow?).

    The confidence it gave me to not have to worry about keeping up my roots and to feel liberated from the bottle probably helped.  Now that it’s all grown out I absolutely love it and so many people have told me that strangely it makes me look younger – it’s true I still have virtually no wrinkles because I never let my face get tanned so maybe that helps.

    I would let my hair grow if that was the way it suits me best.  A colleague of mine at work has long white hair and it looks amazing on her.  But I think going with a haircut that really suits you is the best thing to do.

    Oh and yes, I am still going out with one of the men and think I’ll probably be with him for the long term (thanks to Evan but that’s another story).  He’s similarly white haired and we look very distinguished together!  Men flirt with me as much as they ever did.  If you feel attractive you will be attractive.  And the men who aren’t attracted to you – well they just aren’t, no point wasting any time or energy on them.

  12. 42
    Ellen

    Re Snowqueen 42, dark hair after age 50 or 55 just looks old on most people, male or female. Even Jacqueline Bissett, that gorgeous brunette, 65+, should go lighter.

    You are happy with your grey, but for many older women I suggest red (if you are pale and can carry it off). I’m a natural redhead and it just makes me look younger I think. I help it along with some Revlon 72 and blonde streaks. As I’ve aged I haven’t gone grey much, just darker and duller. Apparently the word is getting out ’cause lots of older women are going red in their old age including Julie Andrews, Susan Sarandon, Joanne Woodward, Rene Russo. A quick google revealed this morning that Polish women are dyeing their hair red in droves apparently.

    I’ll stay red for as long as I can stand to dye it ’cause I get a lot of interest due to my hair. There is a certain subgroup of men who go gaga over redheads. Absolutely nuts about us. But the wrong shade of red can be a disaster, that’s for sure.

    Re your male admirers and grey hair- yeah, Brits must be less shallow that way. How refreshing! But can you explain to me the “ginger” bias Brits have towards redheads? lol

    Me, I have my beauty routine and it keeps expanding as I get older but I am a big fan of shark oil at the moment. And hand-held infra-red devices to promote collagen. And Radiesse. Everyone google and discuss amongst yourselves now! :-)

  13. 43
    Nicole

    @Ellen, why not remember that the majority of the people in the world aren’t white, and therefore our naturally dark hair doesn’t make us look “older.”  

    Michelle Obama is about 50.  Should she go blond to avoid looking old?  Does her 50 year old’s husband’s greying hair really make him look younger to you?

    At least qualify your statement by saying Caucasian b/c your advice only really applies to them.  

    And my personal opinion is that light hair makes a lot of white people look old and washed out, especially as their faces age(and really just looks almost like white hair which makes them look even older). I know there is a real obsession with blond hair, but I think it does no favors to the majority of people who color/bleach their hair blond.  

     

  14. 44
    thatgirl

    Re 43 & 44,
    Agreed, pitch black hair on very fair skin ( with heavy makeup) can make a woman look older and gaunt, but I agree with Nicole that going several shades lighter than one`s natural color makes many women look washed out dull.  Red highlights are usually flattering, as is softer focus makeup.  And, regardless of length, a softer rather than blunt hairstyle can make a woman seem more youthful.

  15. 45
    britney taylor

    I think that the problem with long hair is that it can start to become thin & wispy which is difficult to manage but going too short can have the wrong effect. I would try a shorter cut initially but as many of the commenters have stated it really is how you feel about yourself that can make the difference.If you have have the confidence you can go with a lot of styles.

  16. 46
    Nicole

    I think that picking things that go well with your hair type and color, skin color, etc. are the best bet.
    As I mentioned, a lot of people are obsessed with blond hair, but it looks bad on a lot of people who have it, and if you have dark hair naturally, over the long term I don’t see anyone who bleaches having healthy hair.
    Long hair is another obsession but if you are someone whose hair is thin, or whose hair has thinned with age, or whose face is kind of drooping with age, it may not be your friend either.
    I’m not old, but have grey strands but have been told they were hot and created a cool effect around my face.  Since my skin is smooth and creamy, it doesn’t make me look older to have it.  I can see coloring some of it eventually but not all of it, b/c I usually get told it is hot by men (maybe b/c I’m not an older lady so people think I have individually lightened hair strands…the colorist at my salon tells me a lot of people seek this look but it’s not something she can replicate).  And when there were fewer, a stylist made them into very natural looking warm reddish brown color that lots of people asked about (but it was a perfect match to how my hair lightens in the sun).  
    I think a good colorist not only knows how to mix colors to achieve a good one, but can also match the right color to the right complexions.  He/she knows when highlights/lowlights can be artfully applied rather than totally lightening the hair.
    Too often I see bad dye jobs that are bad b/c they just do not match a person’s tone (and there is a wide range of colors available but for example, the blond that a darker lady can pull off is not the same blond that would suit paler skin, and I’ve seen similar things with red.  I’ve seen women of many races pull off atypical hair colors but it always looks good to me when a)the hair still looks healthy and moisturized and b)when the color compliments their skin tone, so for example, I have seen some of my fellow black women with beautiful, darker variations of red, auburn,  or dark blonde, just like I’ve seen some truly awful ones).

  17. 47
    Aisling

    My favorite hunk Chris Meloni from Law & Order SVU is married to a gorgeous woman with very short hair.

  18. 48
    Tori Fitzner

    Lots of good perspectives here. I’d add that Charles Lamb said,”We grow gray in spirit long before we grow gray in our hair.” So additude matters but sadly truth is hair color matters too. It’s part of the package we present to the world. And as for the length, it’s like an unwritten rule that once a woman gets to a certain age the shorter their hair should be. That’s so 1950s thinking. While a personal opinion, I would still caution that longer gray hair is probably not all that flattering. As Zann put it, that’s a visual alert that too often raises a red flag I’m afraid.  Otherwise I’d say Liz should go for it and embrace the inner Repunzel yearning to break out. Many of today’s hairstyles work well for those in their fifties as they do for those 20 years younger. I’d suggest layers and highlights if she goes longer however. That can give hair that looks fantastic at any age.

  19. 49
    judy

    Well, I reckon the best beauty tip is to do what you feel best with.  For me, that’s keeping in reasonable shape, having short hair in the Summer, and long in the Winter (it keeps me warmer) and so what if I look older with long hair? I AM older – it’s because of my age!
    I used to think according to stereotypes – women over da di da age CAN’T do this – yes, they jolly well can.  Mini skirts, T-shirts, jeans.
    Maybe the best beauty tip is to smile and be happy.  And to pay him attention.  Dunno but it sounds like a good start to me! (and in addition, you’ll feel good, even if he’s the wrong man!)

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