What is Facial Beauty?

People often say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. But is this true? Not according to scientists in the universities of Regensburg and Rostock in Germany. Research there on facial beauty has revealed that baby features are a characteristic of attractive male and female faces.

Perfect Beauty According to New Research in Germany

The scientists are running an online experiment on their website, inviting you to rate the faces yourself. The faces of supermodel Kate Moss and the French actress Brigitte Bardot are featured as examples of beautiful babyish faces.

Baby faces are characterized by:

  • Large eyes
  • Big forehead
  • Small, short nose
  • Small chin

Using photographs of real people and computer morphing techniques, the scientists created their own attractive and unattractive male and female faces.

For instance, their unattractive face prototype was an amalgam of four unattractive faces. While their attractive face was created by using photos of four attractive faces. These images were then presented to test subjects in order to determine what made them appealing or unpleasant to look at.

Results revealed that beautiful male and female faces combine both babyish and sexually mature features.

Characteristics of the Beautiful Female Face

  • The shape of the face is narrower
  • The fat quotient is low
  • Lips are fuller
  • The eyes are more widely spaced
  • The eyebrows are thinner and more defined
  • Lashes are lusher, longer and darker
  • Cheek bones are higher
  • The nose is narrower
  • There are no dark rings beneath the eyes
  • The eyelids are not pronounced

Characteristics of the Attractive Male Face

The researchers were surprised to find that attractive male faces shared many of the female traits of beauty. Interestingly, even women found babyish male faces more attractive.

  • The shape of the face is narrower
  • The fat quotient is low
  • Lips are fuller and more symmetrical
  • Eyebrows are darker
  • Lashes are lusher, longer and darker
  • Upper half of the face broader in relation to the lower
  • Cheek bones are higher
  • The lower jaw and chin are more prominent
  • There are no lines between the nose and mouth
  • The eyelids are not pronounced

Facial Symmetry

For centuries, experts on the subject have regarded symmetry as essential to beauty. This is probably true for the body, but does not apply to faces. This research shows that symmetry is quite inconsequential in terms of facial beauty. While faces rated attractive were not always symmetrical, those which were very asymmetrical were still rated as unattractive.

The research also found that the condition of the skin plays a big part in deciding what is attractive.

Positive Reaction to Beauty is Instinctive

As Dr. Alan Slater, a psychologist at Exeter University, who researched the effect of beauty on babies puts it: “Attractiveness is not simply in the eye of the beholder, it is in the brain of the newborn infant right from the moment of birth and possibly prior to birth.” He adds that symmetry is not what babies or adults are reacting positively to.

How Society Reacts to Beauty

Part of the German research sought to answer the question of the social consequences of beauty. Are people biased against unattractive faces? Do they give preference to beautiful people?

The answer is a resounding yes. Research showed that those with attractive faces are considered more pleasant, successful, content, creative, intelligent, hard working and exciting than those who are unattractive.

It is fair to say that people with attractive faces have an advantage. Facial beauty seems to signals health and superior genes.



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