When does estrogen boost your beauty?

My Hormonology

When does estrogen boost your beauty?



  • You perceive yourself as more physically attractive during Week 2 in your cycle (the week leading up to and including ovulation) and so do others.


UPDATED NOVEMBER 24, 2022 (originally published June 22, 2010)—You can leave your makeup at home during Week 2 of your cycle (the week leading up to and including ovulation). High estrogen is triggering subtle changes in your face that make you feel more beautiful to yourself, and it’s making both men and women perceive you as more attractive, too, shows a 2009 study in the journal Biology Letters.1

To test this, researchers showed male and female study participants pairs of photos of women in neutral, non-smiling poses without makeup. One photo was taken between Day 8 and Day 14 of the women’s cycles (when estrogen is high). The other photo was taken between Day 17 and Day 25 (when estrogen is lower and progesterone is higher than the first photo session). None of the study participants were aware that the photos were taken at different phases of the women’ s cycles. Yet, when asked to rate the attractiveness of the women’s faces, most participants chose the photos taken during Days 8 and 14.

You can thank evolution for the hormonal make-over, the researchers say.  As you approach ovulation at the end of Week 2, high-and-rising estrogen prompts subtle changes in your body that help you attract a mate. For example, this hormone prompts subtle shifts in soft tissue that make your facial features more symmetrical, it gives you a healthy glow by increasing blood flow to the skin and it reduces puffiness by reducing fluid retention.

Want to learn more about the many ways your hormones impact you during your menstrual cycle? Pick up my award-winning book, 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals About Your Moods, Health and Potential!

Never miss a Hormonology tip!
Subscribe to the free Hormonology newsletter:
I’d love to learn more–sign me up!

(1) Kristina M. Durante, Norman P. Li, “Oestradiol level and opportunistic mating in women”, Biology Letters, 5 (2009): 179-182

Follow me
Latest posts by Gabrielle Lichterman (see all)