The most stunning faces according to science

Natalie Portman


BY BRITTANY
BROLLEY


Is
beauty truly in the eye of the beholder? Not really, it seems. Although you may
not always find yourself agreeing with others on who is attractive, there are
some faces that nearly all of us in western culture would deem beautiful. The
fact that the beauty bias is alive and well is pretty much proof that we tend
to agree on who is good-looking and, frustratingly, who is not.
“Appearance
is the first thing we judge people on,” Anthony Little, a psychologist at
the University of Stirling in Scotland acknowledged when speaking to Science
News for Students. “Being aware that these biases exist is an important
step.” Even if it is totally subconscious, we are all guilty of judging
others at first sight, but the psychologist revealed that a person’s physical
appearance becomes less important as we get to know that person better.
Of
course, you may be curious to know just what it is that makes a person’s face
attractive — scientifically speaking. Here’s what researchers have discovered.
The
“golden ratio”


Amber Heard

Remember
how your math teachers used to tell you that math is everywhere or that you’d
use math all throughout your life? Well, if you were one of those students who
rolled your eyes and complained about doing your algebra homework, you’ve
probably since realized that your teacher was right. Sigh.
“The
idea that everything is, in some sense, mathematical goes back at least to the
Pythagoreans of ancient Greece and has spawned centuries of discussion among
physicists and philosophers,” Max Tegmark, a physicist and
cosmologist, wrote in an article for Discover Magazine.
As
Tegmark alluded to, the “golden ratio” was discovered in Ancient
Greece. Simply put, this mathematical equation, which includes different
proportions, is thought to be the most aesthetically pleasing formula. This
ratio has been used by artists — you can spot it in the Mona Lisa — and has now
even been applied to human faces. Using the golden ratio, Julian De Silva, a
cosmetic surgeon in London, England, discovered the most aesthetically pleasing
celebrity face and revealed his findings to Vogue. According to this Ancient
Grecian formula, Amber Heard takes the cake.

Decidedly
(mathematically) average


Jennifer Lawrence

Using
ancient mathematics may seem like an unusual way to determine an attractive
face, but researchers agree that ratio comes into play. Symmetry, as it turns
out, is an important indicator of attractiveness. Psychologist Anthony Little
said although no face is a hundred percent symmetrical, we, as humans, like
symmetrical-seeming faces. He told Science News for Students,
“Symmetry looks normal to us. And we then like it.”
Little
further explained that people like “average” faces. But again, this
is about mathematics. People find mathematically average faces attractive.
“Averageness includes all kinds of factors,” the psychologist
explained. “Such as the size of the features of your face and their
arrangement.”
As
it turns out, people also find “average” faces attractive whether or
not those faces are symmetrical. As part of a study from 2004, researchers
discovered that manipulating a picture of a person’s face shape to become more
of “an average shape” — while also not upping the symmetry — spurred
others to rate the faces as more attractive. This was true whether the
volunteer viewed a profile or head-on photo. Likewise, when those images were
“morphed away from the average shape,” viewers found them to be less
attractive.
The
Natalie Portman effect



Natalie Portman
Chris
Solomon, a world-renowned expert in facial mapping technology, elevated the
“beautiful” face experiment to a whole new level. Using a computer
program that is generally reserved for crafting facial composites of criminals,
Solomon commissioned people to create what they’d consider to be the perfect
face. A hundred volunteers were then tasked with rating each face for
attractiveness and, in the end, the expert discovered two faces — one male and
one female — that are “the epitome of beauty.” However, it is
important to note that this study was conducted in the UK, so, as Solomon
highlighted, “a study in Asia or Africa for example would no doubt have
different results.”
After
settling on the most aesthetically pleasing female face, the study also
evaluated celebrity faces to find the one most comparable. Solomon and his team
named Natalie Portman as the best match. While she’d probably never want to fit
a criminal composite, matching a beauty composite is pretty cool.
The
face shape we all heart

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

What
is it about Natalie Portman’s face or the original composite from facial
mapping expert Chris Solomon’s study that is so alluring? It comes down to
a combination of features and spacing. Yes, math again. Thankfully, the Solomon
sat down with The Telegraph and broke down all of the different components of
the most “beautiful” female face. Let’s start with shape, shall we?
First
thing’s first: the math. In their report, Solomon and his team used a
ratio measurement system in which “1 unit” equals the width of the
face at the height of the eyes. Thus, the female face is, of course, one unit
wide at the eyes. The mouth is 0.81 units wide, and, overall, the face is 1.44
units long. The face also features “regular, smooth jawline” with a
chin measuring 0.21 units in length. What does all of this mean? Basically, the
ideal female face is heart-shaped.
Heart-shaped
faces — think Reese Witherspoon — are often categorized by high cheekbones,
width at the top of the face, and a narrow chin. The aesthetic composite also
has “near perfect facial symmetry,” which further proves the
importance of symmetry — well, at least when it comes to attractiveness, that
is.
Sculpted-to-perfection
brows


Angelina Jolie


While
you’ve perhaps never analyzed the spacing between your eyebrows and eyes, the
ideal distance is, apparently, 0.125 above your peepers. The more you know,
right? But it wasn’t just the spacing that made a difference for the composite
face in Chris Soloman’s study. The female face had shaped and arched
eyebrows. Of course, just because this may be what science has deemed most
attractive, that doesn’t mean you should start heating up the wax and going to
town on your brows.
That
said, it is true that the furry caterpillars above your eyes are pretty magical
beasts. With a few tweaks and tweezes, eyebrows have some major transformative
power — perhaps more so than any other facial feature. “Eyebrows can
really contour and change the shape and appearance of your overall look by
bringing balance and proportion to not only your eyes, but your entire
face,” Jared Bailey, a global brow expert for Benefit Cosmetics, revealed
to InStyle. Yep, eyebrows can create an appearance of symmetry. And, you know,
shaping and arching your brows is a whole hell of a lot easier than, say,
trying to change the shape of your face.
“Super
symmetrical” eyes


Scarlett Johansson

Brown
is the most common eye color by a landslide. According to World Atlas, anywhere
from 55 to 79 percent of the world’s population is thought to have brown eyes.
Brown also happens to be the color of the eyes in the ideal female face
composite in Soloman’s study. The Natalie Portman-esque face features dark
almond-shaped eyes that are each 0.23 wide and a distance of 0.48 apart from
the centers of the pupils.
According
to L’Oréal Paris, there are six general eye shapes a person can have: monolids,
round, almond, downturned, upturned, and hooded. Each of the six shapes has its
own unique characteristics. Not sure if you have almond eyes? According to the
site, your eyes are this shape if “you have a visible crease in your
eyelid and, unlike those with round eyes, your iris touches both the top and
bottom of your eyelid.”
The
company further revealed that almond eyes are — surprise, surprise —
“super symmetrical.” When accentuating almond eyes, you don’t have to
try to add in symmetry with eye makeup and can instead use “makeup to
accent your natural eye shape.”
A
“dainty” nose


Emma Stone

When
it comes to the ideal sniffer, Chris Solomon and his team discovered
“slim” and “small” to be the ticket. A nose of 0.37 units
long with bridge and base width of just 0.1 and 0.25 units, respectively.
Plastic surgeons have noted a similar infatuation with itty-bitty noses. When
speaking with CBS News, cosmetic surgeons Richard W. Fleming and Toby G. Mayer
revealed the noses women have been asking for the most. According to the
experts, Natalie Portman’s is number one. Next came Emma Stone’s and Nicole
Kidman’s noses — which are both small and slim. But why the love for
little noses?
“My
theory is beauty standards have lauded small noses over big ones because they
fit in with the idea of women being delicate, dainty, and not taking up
space,” Radhika Sanghani, the woman who started the
#sideprofileselfie movement on social media, wrote in an article for Grazia.
“But we’re not. We’re bold, strong, and we can take up as much space as we
want, even with our bodies.” Big, small, crooked, straight — embrace those
noses, ladies.
“Sensual”
lips


Emilia Clarke

Small
noses may be idealized, but the same principle apparently does not apply to
lips. Chris Solomon’s female composite has “full lips” and a mouth
that’s 0.38 units wide. In addition to Natalie Portman, the study provided
examples of Scarlett Johansson and Emilia Clarke. And it may come as no
surprise to learn that that’s what plastic surgeons Richard W. Fleming and Toby
G. Mayer found as well. The doctors told CBS News that Scarlet Johansson
had the most-requested lips of any celebrity. Women also looked to Angelina
Jolie and Christina Aguilera for their lip inspo, the surgeons revealed.
Full
lips — at least in American culture — have been idealized for a
while. Jamie Gordon, an anthropologist, partner, and cultural strategist
at Culture Agency in Atlanta, Ga., revealed what he thinks to be the
root of the obsession. “When you look at the anthropological history of
the female body and sexuality, full lips signal not only sensuality, but being
excited about having sex,” he explained to Women’s Health. Michael C.
Edwards, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic
Surgery, added, “People may think a fuller lip is more sensual, or they
may be influenced by pop culture and social media.”
The
David Gandy effect


David Gandy

One
of the most interesting aspects of Chris Solomon’s “beautiful” face
study is how vastly different the ideal female and male faces ended up. Other
than both of the faces having brunette hair and “near perfect facial
symmetry,” they don’t share many other features. When comparing the
composite with male celebrities, Solomon and his team discovered that British
model David Gandy is as close as one man gets to having the “perfect”
face. His nearly one million followers on Instagram would likely agree.
According
to The Scotsman, when Domenico Dolce of Dolce & Gabbana first saw the
British model, “he immediately gave [him] the impression of embodying a
universal ideal of masculine beauty between Michelangelo’s David and those
chiselled Greek and Roman sculptures of the classic era.” Gandy is so
fine, in fact, that he had trouble finding work on account of being — wait for
it — “too good-looking.” Here’s everything that makes Gandy — and the
ideal male face — so attractive.
All
about the oval


Ryan Gosling

Using
the same ratio measurement system in which “1 unit” equals the width
of the face at the height of the eyes, Chris Solomon’s study revealed that the
ideal male face is then one unit wide at the eyes as well as 0.88 units wide at
the mouth and has an overall face length of 1.33 units. This ideal face also
has a squared jaw with a chin length of 0.27 units — making it larger than the
female chin. All of these figures add up to mean that Mr. Perfect has not
a heart-shaped face, but one that is oval-shaped. 
At
least as far as hairstyles are concerned, oval-faced men like Ryan
Gosling have it easy. After consulting with Men’s Hairstyles
Today, Business Insider revealed, “Luckily, most hairstyles will look
good with an oval face shape.” Most. “A word of caution: avoid bangs
or fringes that could cover your forehead and make your head appear even
rounder than it already is,” the site explained.
Straight
brows


Ashton Kutcher

Ideal
male eyebrows differ from “perfect” female brows in, well, pretty
much every way. The male composite face in Solomon’s study features
“medium-thick eyebrows” that are “straight” and curve
downward at the ends. Unlike the beauty ideal for women, the “ideal”
male brows are neither shaped nor arched. Additionally, the male composite
features much lower brows — just a 0.07 distance above the eyes — unlike the
female face with a 0.125 distance.
Not
all men pay attention to their brows, but Romero Jennings, director of makeup
artistry for MAC Cosmetics, is of the opinion they should. “Brows are
really personal. Brows really give you expression. Brows can make you look
strong or weak or powerful or not. A brow will give you approachability,”
Jennings told HuffPost. “If it’s too strong or severe, someone will pass
you by.” Jennings also recommends men meet with a groomer who has
experience sculpting men’s brows as opposed to visiting any ol’ salon.
Not
the typical eye shape


David Beckham


The
male composite face illustrates that we find both oval-shaped eyes and blue
eyes to be the most attractive on men. Blue is the second most common eye
color, but it is still much rarer than brown. Oval is also not one of the six
common eye shapes. Instead, it’s more of a combination of round and almond. It
may sound a little confusing, but you can just look at former soccer star David
Beckham, David Gandy (of course), and actor Bradley Cooper for examples of this
shape.
Oh,
and David Beckham proved that women and men alike can use eye makeup to play up
or draw attention to the shape of their eyes. In January 2019, Beckham graced
the cover of Love Magazine wearing a shade of bright green eye shadow, matching
green floral neck tattoos. And this wasn’t the first time Beckham wore makeup.
“David does steal my beauty products,” his wife, Victoria Beckham,
told Elle. “It doesn’t annoy me. He looks so beautiful!” That he
does, Victoria. That he does.
A
middle-of-the-road nose


Jude Law

While
it’s desirable for men to have slim noses, the facial composite study revealed
that they shouldn’t be too small. Instead, “mid-length” and
“straight” were the defining factors of the ideal face. With a
length of 0.38 units and a bridge and base width of 0.11 and 0.26 units,
respectively, the ideal male schnoz is proportionately larger — though still
not large — than that of the female composite. A study published in the
American Journal of Physical Anthropology revealed that, on average, men have
larger noses than women, so it’s not too surprising that a larger male nose is
considered “ideal.”
The
study cited the two Davids — Beckham and Ganty — as the closest human
comparisons. Although neither of these famous men’s noses made up the top
celebrity rhinoplasty requests, similar slim and mid-length noses did.
Californian plastic surgeons Richard W. Fleming and Dr. Toby G. Mayer told CBS
News that Jude Law, Josh Duhamel, and Ben Affleck actually had the most
requested sniffers.
“Average”
lips


Brad Pitt


Facial-mapping
expert Chris Solomon’s study revealed that “average lips” — described
as “neither full nor thin” — complete the “perfect” male
face. Unlike the female composite which features lips that are 0.38 units
wide, the male composite’s lips come in proportionately smaller at just 0.35
wide.
This,
too, is echoed in what plastic surgeons Richard W. Fleming and Dr. Toby G.
Mayer have seen in their respective practices. While Solomon’s study listed
David Beckham and Chris Hemsworth as the celebrity equivalent of perfect lips,
the plastic surgeons told CBS News that Ashton Kutcher, Viggo Mortensen, and
Brad Pitt have the lips that men request the most.
Citing
data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, People reported that
male lip augmentations had dramatically increased — some 400 percent! — from
the year 2000 to 2016. “With the surge of selfies, lips have become the
new staring point,” Tim Neavin, a plastic surgeon based in Beverly Hills,
Calif., told the publication. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see
what the “ideal” face looks in the future.





SOURCE: THE LIST
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.