If you want to look younger, here’s a quick tip. Researchers have found that just making your eyes, lips and eyebrows stand out by darkening or colouring them can make women appear more attractive.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, showed that people of all cultures find women with high facial contrast — a measure of how much facial features stand out — more youthful.
“Facial contrast refers to how much the eyes, lips and eyebrows stand out in the face in terms of how light or dark they are or how colourful they are,” said one of the researchers Aurelie Porcheron, University of Grenoble in France.
While people of different ethnicities can have different skin colours, age-related changes in skin colour tend to be similar.
Porcheron and her colleagues speculated that the relationship between facial contrast and ageing might be similar across different ethnicities.
To test their hypothesis, the researchers studied images of women of different ethnicities, including Chinese Asian women, Latin American women, South African women and French Caucasian women.
To avoid differences caused by gender, the study focused exclusively on women. The women were aged from 20 to 80, and the researchers analysed their facial images using computer software to measure various facial contrast parameters.
The research team found that while there were some small differences, several aspects of facial contrast decreased with age in all four groups of women, including contrast around the mouth and eyebrows.
This indicates that at least some aspects of facial contrast naturally decline with age in women from around the world.
The researchers then investigated whether people from different cultures pick up on these changes when perceiving how old someone is.
To test this, they used photographs of women of a variety of ages, from the same four ethnic groups.
This time, they used computer software to generate two versions of each face, one with high contrast, the other with low contrast.
The research team invited male and female volunteers from two different cultural backgrounds, France and China, to choose the younger-looking face between the two versions of each face.
The participants chose the high facial contrast face as the young face almost 80 per cent of the time, regardless of the cultural origin of the participant or the face.
“People of different cultures use facial contrast as a cue for perceiving age from the face, even though they are not consciously aware of it,” said Porcheron.
“The results also suggest that people could actively modify how old they look, by altering how much their facial features stand out, for example by darkening or colouring their features,” Porcheron added. (Bollywood Country)
Manjeet Kaur cannot say exactly how old she is or how long she has lived on the pavement of a busy street in New Delhi, her belongings in plastic bags, her washing hanging on the railing.
Kaur was kicked out years ago by her husband’s family in the northern Indian city of Ludhiana after a quarrel over property.
She boarded a bus to New Delhi with her two young sons, going first to a Sikh gurudwara, a place of worship, for free food.
With no money and no one to turn to, Kaur and her sons settled on the pavement outside the gurudwara, marking their space among other families who lived there.
When it rains, they cover themselves with plastic sheets.
They have little protection from the winter’s cold or the summer’s heat, when temperatures routinely soar above 40°C (104°F).
“I had nowhere to go. The house, the land — nothing was in my name,” said Kaur. “Here, the police harass us, and the locals curse us, and I’m sometimes too afraid to sleep. But we cannot afford to pay rent and the shelters are not good, so what option do we have?”
Kaur is one of at least 10,000 homeless women in India’s capital, where thousands of people arrive every day from villages and small towns, looking for better opportunities.
Many end up in slums and other informal settlements. Others settle under bridges, flyovers, on pavements and road dividers.
Women, who are estimated to make up about 10 percent of India’s homeless population, suffer the brunt of a growing crisis brought on by rapid urbanization, soaring property prices, and a critical lack of shelters and affordable housing.
Compounding the difficulty is a lack of reliable data on homeless people, and homeless women in particular.
Delhi, a city of more than 16 million people, has 46,724 homeless people — among the most of any Indian city — according to the 2011 census.
Rights groups say the estimate is conservative, and that the actual figure is three times higher.
They also question the reported decline in India’s homeless population to 1.77 million nationwide in the 2011 census data, from 1.9 million a decade earlier.
In the same period, the urban homeless rose by a fifth, according to the data.
“Our cities are growing at a remarkable rate, and that puts a strain on the government’s capacity to respond to the needs of the people, including the homeless,” said Ashwin Parulkar at the Delhi-based think tank Centre for Policy and Research.
“Not having an accurate understanding of the extent of homelessness — who they are, where they are, what their needs are — hinders policymaking and compromises the ability to plan and provide for them,” he told Reuters.
Globally, at least 150 million people, or about 2 percent of the population, are estimated to be homeless. More than a fifth of the population lacks adequate housing.
But getting an accurate handle on homelessness is difficult because of different definitions in countries, and governments’ inability to adequately measure the phenomenon, said Joseph Chamie, a former director of the U.N. population agency.
Governments also have a tendency to understate the problem, while the homeless are reluctant to be counted, he said.
Yet the causes are the same: poverty, lack of affordable housing, mental illness, alcohol and drug addiction, family breakdown, civil conflict and environmental disasters, he said.
“There is no quick solution: even developed countries are encountering considerable difficulties. So ending urban homelessness in less developed countries is unlikely,” he said.
With at least 55 percent of the world’s population living in urban centers, homelessness is ever more apparent, from Los Angeles to Hong Kong.
The problem is especially severe in India, which is forecast to overtake China by 2024 as the world’s most populous country, with tens of millions cramming into already crowded cities.
Alongside, evictions are rising: At least six homes are pulled down and 30 people forcibly removed each hour in India to make way for metro stations and highways.
Homeless women bear the brunt, as they face more abuse and violence on the street, but have few claims over property and limited access to shelters, said Shivani Chaudhry at the advocacy group Housing and Land Rights Network in Delhi.
Many of these women have left abusive marriages, suffered sexual violence, or have been abandoned by families for mental illness or after the death of a husband, she said.
“Homeless women suffer the worst kinds of violence and insecurity, and are vulnerable to sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking,” said Chaudhry. “Shelters are not a permanent solution.”
Housing for all
India has committed to provide housing for all its citizens by 2022, with an aim to build 20 million urban units.
But analysts say the program bypasses homeless people who cannot afford the mortgage payments.
The Supreme Court has ordered states to provide at least one 24-hour shelter for every 100,000 residents in major urban centers.
Few states have complied, citing the high cost of land.
“Our top priority is to have enough permanent shelters with facilities and services, including health care, job training and counseling,” said Bipin Rai, a senior official at the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board.
“But the main challenge is lack of land. So we have to make do with temporary shelters,” he said.
Delhi has the most shelters of any Indian city — about 200 to hold more than 16,000 people. There are 20 shelters for women.
More than half the shelters are porta-cabins, which are refashioned steel containers with few facilities.
At some permanent women’s shelters, women get three meals a day, skills training, and help getting identification papers and school admissions for their children.
At one such shelter, colorful drawings by the children are on a wall, including several of a simple house flanked by two trees, the sun smiling from above.
“I would like to earn enough so I can live in a house with my family,” said Saima, who had previously lived on the street after coming to Delhi some years ago. “But that may not be possible. This may be our only home.” (VOA)