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Italian men are best-looking, but stubble’s OK in USA

According to a "Male Beauty" survey of nearly 10,000 men and women in 12 countries, Italians are the most handsome men in the world, while men who are balding and aging do not necessarily lose their looks. The No. 1 requirement: Good hygiene.
/ Source: Reuters

Italians are considered the most handsome men in the world, while men who are balding and aging do not necessarily lose their looks, according to an international survey on what makes men attractive.

A "Male Beauty" survey of nearly 10,000 men and women in 12 countries conducted by market research firm Synovate found that good hygiene was actually the top requirement for men to being considered handsome.

The second main requirement to be considered good-looking was confidence, with nearly one fifth of all respondents saying a man must carry himself well, followed by having a "great smile."

Hair, or a lack of, seemed to have little impact with only one percent of respondents saying that a full head of hair was needed to be handsome.

Older men can also take heart as 60 percent of respondents said a man's appearance gets better with age, with Americans, Chinese, Greeks and Malaysians agreeing with that the most.

"Words like distinguished, refined and dignified are regularly used to describe older men," Bob Michaels, Synovate spokesman, said in a statement.

"Here, men are seen like a fine wine - they only get better. Which is good news for some of us."

But looks did also come down to geography.

The survey, conducted in October in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Greece, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Britain and the United States, found Italian men were considered to be the most handsome -- even though Italy was not one of the countries where people were polled.

They were followed by men from the United States, Russia and Brazil.

Being clean-shaven was also a preference agreed by the majority of men and women, although the numbers varied in markets such as Canada and the United States, where Hollywood actors Brad Pitt and George Clooney have made a little stubble sexy.

Highlighting the discrepancies between the sexes, slightly more women than men considered wearing aftershave or cologne to be sexy, although overall the number of people who agreed and disagreed with that statement was equal.

In Spain, more men than women consider having muscles and dressing well to be essential requirements, while the opposite was true for Greek women, who were more likely than their male counterparts to think a macho look was appealing.

Far more British, French and Australian women also seemed to value "a great smile" than men do.

Despite almost one in three women rating their partner's looks as being very important to them, over 70 percent of men said they maintained their appearance to satisfy themselves.

Deodorant was picked as the most used beauty aid by men, followed by whitening toothpaste and aftershave.

But despite their efforts, less than half of all male respondents thought they looked sexy.

Synovate used face-to-face and phone interviews to compile the survey. Respondents were aged between 15 and 64 years.