Research suggests there’s more to our love for shiny things than a cultural connection (that glossy equals wealthy) or simple visual appeal (that shiny equals pretty!). A group of experiments published in a recent Journal of Consumer Psychology explore an evolutionary explanation for why humans are drawn to all that glitters: our primitive desire for water. Crazy, right? Here’s how they got there.One experiment split 126 test participants into three groups. The first group ate crackers without water. The second ate crackers with water. The third did neither. Each group then looked at a pile of photographs—half on glossy paper, half on matte paper. Every group preferred the glossy photos, but the groups that had eaten crackers rated them as much more attractive. And the thirstier participants got, the more they wanted to look at the glossy images.
Thank you, science, for giving us an excuse to talk about pretty, shiny things! Our favorites are below, and we want to see yours, too! Follow us on Pinterest and pin your favorite shiny thing using the hashtag #YBshiny. At the end of the week, one pinner will win a $100 gift card to our shopping site, BeautySage. Go ahead, show us your shiny pins!
1. Oilies: Amanda Schupak, Science Editor
I’ve never been big on bling. But back in the day, boy oh boy, did I dig on an oily. In the sticker trade of the 1980s, oilies were liquid gold. Those whimsical swirls of iridescent green, blue and purple stimulated meditations on the fluidity of life, the beauty of nature and the enduring value of appreciating assets in a tumultuous market environment. Fuzzies wore thin. Puffies suffered from deflation. An oily was a sacred mainstay in any worthwhile sticker portfolio. I am still heavily invested in oilies. Fortunately, the new economy recognizes their value. For those looking to get back into the market, Miss Midies’s 1980’s Sticker Store, Stickers’N’Stuff, the U.K.’s Oilies World of Changing Color (which apparently imports from the U.S.) and, of course, Etsy have hard-to-find oilies for sale.
2. Essie Luxeffects in Jazzy Jubilant: Amy Marturana, Editorial Assistant
Nothing makes me feel girlier than glitter nail polish. There’s just something about how it sparkles and reflects the light that makes me feel like a movie star and little kid again all at once. (What can I say—I’m a child of the 90s.) My obsession with blinged out tips started with OPI’s now discontinued Teenage Dream from the Katy Perry collection, and now, glitter polishes come in tons of different sizes, shapes and colors. Which proves I’m not the only one who could sit and admire my pretty, shiny nails all day long.
3. Dolan Nova Pants: Courtney Dunlop, Executive Editor
Fancy sweatpants? Count me in! I’ve been drooling over these shiny pants because I like the way they’re flashy without being fussy. I would wear them to work or a party, or even the gym. (Kidding!)
4. Bejeweled Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips: Julie Giusti, Social Media Manager
Gushing over pretty packaging is something I pretty much do every day—but this actually gets me excited about life. As if the mini version of Vaseline’s classic jelly jar wasn’t irresistible enough, they went and bedazzled it with hot pink crystals. When I first saw it, I squealed with delight and promptly put it next to my computer at work so I can admire it always—I even bring it home with me on weekends. Sometimes, a little bit of sparkle is all you need for a midday pick-me-up.
5. Jonathan Adler Carnaby Zebra Stacking Dish: Rachel Grumman Bender, Health Editor
I love this platinum zebra dish from Jonathan Adler. I keep it on my nightstand and place my engagement ring and wedding band—my all-time favorite shiny things—along with my watch on it before bed. When the dish is empty, it’s still a fun, decorative piece with personality and shine.
6. 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS: Valerie Fischel, Creative Manager
I’ve been obsessed with the 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS since I was a kid. Sure, the version I’ve built in my head features a 470 horsepower V8 engine that can reach speeds of 117 MPH, but I’ve spent far more time agonizing over whether I’ll paint mine candy blue with white racing stripes, or red lacquer with black racing stripes. It’s also one of my most popular pins on Pinterest with almost 450 repins. People love this shiny beauty.