Does This Red Lipstick Remind You of Anything?

For all of our sophistication here at Allure, we are also realists. And when it comes to explaining beauty and the laws of attraction, we’ve interviewed enough experts from every social science field imaginable to know it all has to do with mating, strong smells, and the purple butts you see on baboons at the zoo.

Naturally, we were intrigued to learn that scientists have recently been looking into the widely-held belief that men are attracted to the color red. Not just attracted, actually, but aroused. Researchers in Britain (where research grants are, by law, accessible to scholars pre-K and up) put that theory to the test with an elaborate experiment to determine if men actually see red lipstick and think “vagina!”

This is how the study worked: Forty heterosexual males were shown pictures of female genitals that had been manipulated to alter their color, and were then asked to pick the one that turned them on the most. Fifteen of the images were in shades of pink (fair enough), and one was colored red.

Guess which vaginas the men found the most arousing? Well, it wasn’t the ruby red one, which in fact came in dead last. Should we alert the Nobel committee yet? All of this means either that men actually know what labia look like in real life, versus in a dirty Japanese comic, or that, as the lead researcher admits, what we really need is more research. “This study shows that the myth of red as a proxy for female genital color should be abandoned,” says anthropologist Sarah E. Johns of the University of Kent. “This view must be replaced by careful examination of precisely what the color red, in clothing, makeup, and other contexts, is actually signaling to men.”

While waiting for your next copy of Annals of the Obvious to arrive, consider this incredible ad from Indian TV in which an otherwise attractive young woman tries out a genital bleaching product and inexplicably starts jumping up and down on a couch. Apparently monkeying with the color of your ladyparts is fun to someone.


Daily Beauty Reporter: Redheads Face Yet Another Prejudice

Daily Beauty Reporter: Does Beauty Trump Sexism at Work?

Daily Beauty Reporter: It’s Allergy Season! 4 Ways to Prevent the Symptoms