What Makes a Face Beautiful?

The Secret to a Beautiful Face

The secret to a beautiful face has been a quest for humans since antiquity. Many women spend up to $12,000 on average annually on beauty products and grooming to enhance their beauty. Studies have shown that there's a significant wage disparity between the beautiful and the average woman. A Federal Reserve study has shown that exceptionally attractive women tend to earn more money per hour than their Plain Jane counterparts. Unfortunately, this "plainness penalty" and "beauty premium" exist across all occupations, including lawyers. So what makes someone's face beautiful?

Florence Colgate "Most Beautiful Face per Science" (Photograph courtesy of nationalledger.com)

Note: Florence Colgate indeed has a very attractive face and fits the golden ratio. However, there's still some asymmetry with her face, such as the left nasolabial fold is higher on the left with smiling and the small asymmetry of the nose. So does she have a perfect face? ~Dr. De La Cruz

The Study of BeautyExtensive research has been conducted on the analysis of beauty. This has shown that whether you're Asian or European, the idea of what constitutes an attractive face is very similar. What defines a beautiful face transcends racial boundaries. Thus, there's a common element of what constitutes beautiful across all ethnicities. The ancient Greeks believed that all beauty is based on mathematics, as exemplified by Venus de Milo.


Venus de Milo (Photograph Courtesy of Sailingissues.com)

The beauty of a face was studied mathematically since the 5th century BC by the Greek sculptor, Polykleitos. Through a system of ideal mathematical proportions, Polykleitos developed a set of aesthetic principles and wrote a treatise called the "canon".

  • The ideal distance between the eyes should be equal to the width of the nose.

  • The length of the ears should be equal to the length of the nose.

Doutzen Kroes (Photograph Courtesy of www.bhavikpatelunlimited.com

Greek sculptors also believed that the relationship between many pairs of measurement, such as the lips, should be equal to the "Golden ratio" (φ), which is approximately equal to 1.618. This is exemplified of what constitutes a beautiful lipwith an upper to lower lip ratio of 1:1.618.

The Golden Ratio/Mask of Megan Fox (Photograph Courtesy of www.digitallywright.com)