Every day, it seems, billboards, magazines, and television ads give women “advice” on how they can attract the opposite sex. From wearing the color red to talking in a high-pitched voice, women receive a plethora of tips that supposedly guarantee them a fairytale ending with prince charming. But this all falls flat after the clock strikes midnight. Now, according to a recent study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, researchers offer a whole-hearted approach to getting the guy of your dreams — by being nice.

Like the movie Mean Girls, everyone can agree Regina George (Rachel McAdams) was more attractive when she was being nice, while Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) became less so when she inadvertantly became “Queen Bee” of the Plastics. In other words, mean girls do not only finish last in Hollywood movies but in real life. Being a good person could actually make people perceive you as more attractive via the “halo effect.” “We can thus presume that personality traits may contribute to judging facial attractiveness and that the personality traits desired in a person are reflected in facial preference,” wrote Yan Zhang, lead researcher of the study of Huazhong University in China, and her colleagues.

Zhang and her research team sought to evaluate the influence of personality manipulations on female facial attractiveness ratings by recruiting 120 participants — 60 male and 60 female Chinese adults — for the study. The participants were first shown unfamiliar female faces and asked to rate the attractiveness of each face. The researchers reported most of the subjects rated the faces similarly.

Two weeks later, the participants were divided into three groups. Each group was asked to evaluate the attractiveness of the same pictures again, but this time personality traits were assigned to each face. One group was told positive traits about each face, another negative adjectives for each face, and the last group wasn’t told anything about the images, according to NY Mag.

The findings revealed the participants who were told good things about the image gave higher attractiveness scores compared to those who gave lower attractiveness scores when they were told negative traits about the faces they were viewing. The group who wasn’t given any information on the personality of the women in the images rated them the same as they initially did two weeks prior.

Although this study can restore women’s faith in society when it comes to superficiality, it did pose some limitations. The study only focused on a small group of participants with a narrow demographic of Chinese women between 20 and 30 years of age. The study failed to address the mechanism through which people associated attractiveness with personality traits. Also, the study focused on rating images of females, which means it remains uncertain whether women are attracted to nice guys.

Similar to this body of research, a 2010 study published in The Journal of Social Psychology honed in on the association between personality and physical attractiveness. A group of 2,000 male participants reviewed photos of a diverse group of women and agreed on the definition of body “attractiveness.” However, in a second experiment, when the men were given positive personality information about the women in the photos, they found a greater variety of body types to be attractive.

Assessing someone’s character may be more important when it comes to survival than the initial physical makeup of the person. Looks don’t last forever, but a nice personality could take you far.

Sources: Kong F, Kou H, Zhang Y, Zhong Y. Personality manipulations: Do they modulate facial attractiveness ratings? Personality and Individual Differences. 2014.

Akbar K, Chamorro-Premuzic T, Ginch J et al. More than just skin deep? Personality information influences men's ratings of the attractiveness of women's body sizes. The Journal of Social Psychology. 2010.