This wouldn't have been ugly if I'd waited until 9:36  PM.

This wouldn’t have been ugly if I’d waited for the photographic golden hour.

The cure for breast cancer may be years away, but rest assured that it’s only because scientists are hard at work determining the recipe for the perfect selfie. A study of 2,000 British adults revealed that there’s a “photographic golden hour,” and that pictures taken at 9:36 PM are the most flattering. Thank god we now know.

Basically, a group of researchers concluded that people can only keep their clothes, makeup, and hair from looking like a hot mess for three hours, and since most grownup parties begin around 7, sometime in the 9 o’clock hour is your best bet for a cute group shot. If you wait until after 10, everyone will be drunk and sweaty and gropey and ugly. So, you know. Science.

The Daily Mail discussed this phenomenon with party planner Caroline Gardiner, whose party planning unquestionably qualifies her to elaborate on the findings of a scientific study:

In the party planning business, the rule of thumb is that attendees will turn up looking pristine but it will take them a while to relax with colleagues and truly look their best. After a couple of drinks and a bit of time warming up during the meal, partygoers are usually at their most convivial, and that’s when we’d recommend people get their photos.

Did you hear that? You could have saved yourself hours of untagging derpy Facebook pics if you’d just waited to take out your camera when everyone was convivial!

Another photo op ruined by it being 11:29 PM.

Another photo op ruined by it being 11:29 PM.

The Mail also consulted a “celebrity stylist,” Karl Willett, who added some more scholarly insight:

Even the most gorgeous starlet can wilt after more than a few hours under the party lights, once the music and dancing get underway. Similarly, Christmas partygoers should get their festive picture before they fall prey to drinking too much or being caught in unflattering poses.

Okay, so I understand why you should take pictures before everyone’s wasted and annoying, but why are we saying 9:36 specifically? Do we have to take the time difference between here and Britain into account? And what if we want to take pictures of ourselves when we’re not at a party? Despite the vast advances made by this study, it looks like science still has a long way to go.

Via Daily Mail / Photos: Hayley’s college antics