Describing people’s appearance

General

Positive: beautiful is generally used to describe women; handsome is used to describe men; good-looking is used for both; pretty is another positive word to describe a woman (often a girl) meaning ‘attractive and nice to look at’.
Negative: ugly is the most negative word to describe someone; plain is more polite.

Height and build

Note: Another word for slim is thin, but slim has a more positive meaning, e.g. John is lovely and slim, but his brother is terribly thin. Skinny also has the same meaning but is very negative. It is not very polite to say someone is fat; efverweight is more neutral and polite.

Hair

Special features

The man on the left has got very pale skin (= white skin).
He also has broad shoulders, with a small scar at the top of his left arm.
The other man has dark skin. He also has a beard and moustache and quite a hairy chest and a tattoo.

Asking questions about a person’s appearance