The scientists found that facial masculinity wasn’t nearly as important as skin tone to the women in either ethnic group. They did not see an association between masculinity and rated attractiveness, but they did find an association between skin tone and attractiveness.

However, though the golden color was very important for women rating faces of their own ethnic group, they didn’t seem to care as much about that trait in men of other ethnicities. The researchers suggest the women were unable to detect the relatively subtle skin color differences in men of other races.

The golden hues in our skin likely come from the carotenoid pigments of the fruits and vegetables in our diet, Stephen explained, adding that those plant pigments are thought to promote health and fertility.