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The Beauty Benefits of Ovulation

Find out why you look fabulous when your fertility levels peak.

July 14th, 2011

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The Beauty Benefits of Ovulation

When it’s “that time of month,” it’s natural to feel frumpy, bloated and unable to find a single thing to wear in your jam-packed closet. But there’s another time of the month when you actually look your hottest. (Leave it to Mother Nature to bring things back into balance.)

Turns out, your body goes through some subtle, sexy changes when you’re at peak fertility in your monthly cycle, which grab men’s attention. It’s basically your body’s unconscious way of saying, “Hey sailor!”

Here’s a look at the arousing changes that happen around ovulation:

Your face looks more symmetrical. It’s ingrained in our DNA to be drawn to people with symmetrical faces—meaning, if you divided a face in half, both the left and right sides would be mirror images of each other. That’s because a symmetrical face may signal healthy development and good genes. And we are all about merging our genes with the healthiest picks of the litter. When a woman is ovulating, her face becomes even more symmetrical-looking, upping her hotness factor.

MORE: Makeup and Hair Tips for Facial Symmetry

You blush like a schoolgirl. Research shows that women's faces are more attractive to both sexes when they’re most fertile. When women are near ovulation, estrogen levels rise, which boosts blood flow under the skin's surface. This results in visible, come-hither cues such as rosier cheeks and redder lips.

Your voice goes up. When you reach the point of peak fertility in your cycle that may be the best time to try to hit that high note in karaoke. A 2008 UCLA study found that when women were asked to say a simple introductory sentence, their vocal pitch increased during high-fertility times in their cycle as compared with low-fertility times. The researchers found that this difference was the greatest for women whose voices were recorded on the two highest fertility days within the fertile window (the two days just before ovulation). Why is a high voice so fly? Research shows that men prefer women with more high-pitched voices because it sends an unconscious signal to men that the woman is at her most fertile. (Plus, we doubt guys that would want to date a woman who sounds like Barry White.)

RESEARCH: Committed Men are Less Attracted to Fertile Women

You smell better. Al Pacino was onto something. The scent of a woman is more attractive when fertility levels peak during the monthly cycle, according to a 2010 study published in the journal Psychological Science. According to Florida State University researchers, men who got a whiff of an ovulating woman’s scent subsequently had higher levels of testosterone than guys exposed to the scent of a non-ovulating woman or a control scent. These olfactory cues trigger a response in men that’s linked to the initiation of romantic courtship and sexual behavior.

RESEARCH: Fertile Women Can Smell Attractive Men

Your self-esteem takes a hit. Normally, this would not be a good thing. But having your self-esteem drop down a notch may make you put more effort into primping and improving your appearance, according to research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. The study found that women experienced a decrease in self-esteem closest to ovulation, when women tend to be more attractive to men. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll fall for any old schmo when you’re ovulating. The subtle dip in self-esteem may make you want to spring for highlights and a new pair of heels—not lower your standards.

MORE: What Makes a Face Beautiful?


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