According to a recent study in the Cognitive Research Journal, during the COVID-19 pandemic masks have been found to increase attractiveness.
According to the findings, men with masks appealed more to the opposite sex than an uncovered face, and those with blue medical masks ranked the most attractive.
"We have come to trust the blue medical mask with medical workers, medical workers equates to safety, equates to treating people and stopping spread of disease," says Board certified Clinical Psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere. "And therefore, when you see someone wearing that mask, you feel much safer around them."
Gardere adds the preference may be explained by evolution.
"We choose mates based on safety and being protected and therefore equating the masks with some sort of protection is what may be in the unconscious mind of the person viewing an individual wearing that mask."
Interestingly enough, a pre-pandemic study in Japan found that masks induced thoughts of disease and aversion of wearers – the phenomenon is called the "sanitary-mask" effect.