10 February 2015: Research has revealed that it can take between 90 seconds and four minutes for you to fall in like. And then just 90 minutes more to fall in love. This Valentine’s Day, Dr Salome Gurgenidze, co-founder of Johannesburg-based aesthetic centre Radiance for You, explains how to make the best of those precious moments.
Twenty years ago, New York psychologist Professor Arthur Arun succeeded in making two complete strangers fall in love in a laboratory, in just 94 minutes. The study involved a combination of four minutes of staring into each other’s eyes, and 90 minutes of intimate conversation using pre-determined questions. The participants ended up getting married.
“When it comes to attracting a mate, it is absolutely true that first impressions last,” says Gurgenidze.
So, if you only have four minutes to create the first impression, where should you start? “With the windows to your soul,” says Gurgenidze.
According to another study, conducted just last year, the eyes are the first feature that both men and women notice on the opposite sex. And while some people are fortunate enough to be born with beautiful bright eyes, fringed with lush lashes and perfectly arched brows, the reality is that most of us could do with a little help cleaning the windows to our soul.
The good news, says Gurgenidze, is that help is readily at hand in today’s modern society.
“If you wear glasses and they make you uncomfortable, try contact lenses. Or investigate the option of laser surgery. If your eyes are constantly red and bloodshot, use eyedrops to keep them moist and bright. Then there’s basic grooming. Have your brows shaped and trimmed. And keep them that way.”
If the problems are less superficial, such as deep hollows under your eyes that make you look constantly tired, or crow’s feet and frown lines that make you look and feel old, there are remedies for that too.
“These days, there are numerous non-invasive means of improving your eye area, such as dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injectables; simple, safe procedures that enhance the area around the eyes, allowing us to feel completely confident when that someone special wants to gaze longingly into your baby blues, or greens/browns!”
When it comes to the eyes, however, there is one important caveat – if you are having any aesthetic work done, always ensure that the practitioner is not too enthusiastic about erasing every little line. “A real smile should always reach your eyes, but it can’t if the area around your eyes is frozen,” says Gurgenidze.
The next item on Gurgenidze’s Valentine’s Day warm up list is the smile – the second feature most noticed by both men and women. Gurgenidze explains that charismatic smiles have been linked to personal and romantic success via a number of international studies throughout the ages.
“Happiness is contagious and magnetic. In fact, the mere act of smiling has been proven to not only improve your own mood, but also that of those around you, influencing how you feel inside and how others respond to you,” says Gurgenidze.
There are three elements that make up a charismatic smile: teeth, lips and eyes.
“Look after your teeth, brush and floss, go to the dentist or the orthodontist, if required. Not everyone has perfect teeth, but healthy teeth are the foundation of charismatic smile,” says Gurgenidze.
Gurgenidze adds that the mouth area does not age well – lips lose definition, volume and colour, as well as gain fine wrinkles in the form of perioral lines and marionette lines. “Fortunately, modern science has a solution in the form of dermal fillers, which can be used to plump up and hydrate lips, as well as fill fine lines around the mouth area.”
The third and final item on Gurgenidze’s list is body language. One of the highlights from Arun’s initial study on the mechanics of falling in love revealed that a whopping 55% of initial attraction is determined by body language.
“It’s true, your body talks,” says Gurgenidze. “Human beings are pre-programmed to assess potential mates according to their ability to reproduce, so men are instinctually attracted to women with sexy, curvy bodies, which is an indication of high oestrogen levels, while women are attracted to strong, active men, which is an indication of high testosterone levels.
“On an instinctive level, men equate round bellies on women as pregnant, and thus taken; while for women, larger bellies on men are a sign of low testosterone levels.”
Eat healthy, exercise. You know the drill. There is no sustainable short-cut to creating a healthy body. “A sexy body, for both men and women, is one that looks healthy, not necessarily skinny,” Gurgenidze emphasises.
“Exercise is very important, not only for maintaining a healthy weight, but also for keeping your core muscles strong. Even if you are larger, or curvier, if you have strong core muscles, you have good posture. People with good posture always look more confident.”
“But if you’re looking for that little extra boost to help shape and tone your body, you could also try VelaShape,” says Gurgenidze. This non-invasive system is the only FDA-approved system for skin tightening, body contouring and the treatment of cellulite, resulting not only in a decrease in circumference of the treated area but also in a reduction of cellulite appearance. It is truly a miracle machine, guaranteed to improve how you look and feel in your own skin.
And that, says Gurgenidze, is the real key to body language – self-confidence!
“The best body language is confidence. It’s not about how your body looks, but how you look in your body. What really attracts people is that ability to walk into a room with your head up and chest out, eyes open and smile at the ready,” says Gurgenidze.
That should take about four minutes. The next 90 are up to you.