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Beauty Beat: Peek Season and A Grin Wins

In winter, oglers aren't choosy; and smiling as an accessory.

Peek Season

In winter, oglers aren't choosers.

If there's a time for a woman to debut her bikini photos on Facebook, it's in the dead of winter. Research shows that that's when her physique will receive its most generous reception from men's appraising eyes.

Psychologists at the University of Wroclaw in Poland asked men to rate images of women's bodies in attractiveness during all four seasons. Men also rated photos of breasts and of female faces. Raters found the bodies and breasts sexiest in the winter and least arousing in the summer. Apparently, during the summer months when men get to ogle cuties baring skin, their standards for attractiveness go up. Face ratings stay flat year-round. Lead author Boguslaw Pawlowski suspects he'd find seasonal fluctuations in women's judgments too, but they'd be less pronounced, since physique is not as important to women.

The researchers also found that men living in the country are more attracted to their partners than are men in the city, presumably because the urban dweller has greater exposure to beautiful women.

Ah, summer in the city... — Matthew Hutson

Why a Grin Wins

Smiling as an accessory

Guys, if you think your smile can help you get away with murder, think again. Even though women are more sensitive than men to nonverbal behavior, a jury of ladies isn't always swayed by gentlemanly grins. Men, on the other hand, readily make social judgments of women based on smiles. According to findings, flashing her pearly whites can make a woman appear more generous, agreeable, extroverted, emotionally stable—and attractive. So ladies, use your smiles strategically. Just beware that, as researcher Marc Mehu notes, managing your expressions too much can backfire and make you look insincere.

A Frosty Expression

PT road tested three lip products that keep your mouth smile-ready in the winter months.

  • MaryKay Satin Lips Set, $18

    The exfoliating mask lifted off dead skin and made my lips feel refreshingly lighter. The balm is a nice softening follow-up.

  • Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, $3

    With the warming sensation and the peppermint taste, I had trouble refraining from reaching into my pocket every 5 minutes to swirl this all-natural product on my lips.

  • MAC Prep+Prime Lip Primer, $14.50

    How to avert the gross look of lipstick or gloss on chapped lips? The primer helped to smooth my lips, making lipstick application flake-free. —Gina Ryder