Golden Proportion

Decoding Gender Specifics: Does Philtrum Length Really Matter?


A shorter Philtrum is looked at as a feminine feature, while a longer Philtrum is a masculine one. The philtrum is the groove that runs from the bottom of your nose to your upper lip, and the Cupid’s bow is the ‘M’-shaped curve of your upper lip. Research indicates that these features vary between genders. According to Shin et al. (2014) and Altman (2012), women tend to have a shorter philtrum and a fuller, well-defined Cupid’s bow. This larger Cupid’s bow kind of ‘pushes up’, reducing the philtrum area, contributing to a youthful, feminine appearance. So, a shorter philtrum is seen as a feminine feature. Men, on the other hand, have a longer and narrower upper lip, implying a longer philtrum, which is seen as a masculine trait (Lakhiani & Somenek, 2019). These subtle facial differences help distinguish between masculine and feminine features.


The philtrum is that little groove running down from the bottom of your nose to your upper lip. The Cupid’s bow, on the other hand, is the middle part of your upper lip that’s shaped like an ‘M’.

According to Shin et al. (2014), the distance from the base of the nose to the top of the upper lip (referred to as the Height of the Philtrum or HP) tends to be smaller in females. That means women usually have a shorter philtrum than men. At the same time, the study also shows that the M-shaped curve of the upper lip, Cupid’s bow, appears more defined or larger in females. Now, imagine that larger Cupid’s bow kind of ‘pushes up’ into the philtrum area, taking up some of that space. As a result, the philtrum appears even shorter. Hence, in simpler terms, a shorter philtrum is seen as a feminine feature because it is more commonly found in women, and this is partly because of the effect of a larger or more pronounced Cupid’s bow.

According to Altman (2012), women generally have fuller, shorter upper lips, which would imply a shorter philtrum. This is part of a well-formed Cupid’s bow, a characteristic often associated with femininity. A shorter philtrum can contribute to the perception of a more youthful, feminine appearance due to its correlation with a fuller and shorter upper lip. On the contrary, men tend to have longer and narrower upper lips (Lakhiani & Somenek, 2019) which would imply a longer philtrum. A longer philtrum is therefore considered a masculine feature as it correlates with the typical structure of a male’s upper lip.


Shin, K. J., Gil, Y. C., Song, W. C., Koh, K. S., & Choi, H. G. (2014). Morphometric analysis of the upper lip in Koreans. Facial Plastic Surgery, 30(05), 587-592.

Altman, K. (2012). Facial feminization surgery: current state of the art. International journal of oral and maxillofacial surgery41(8), 885-894.

Lakhiani, C., & Somenek, M. T. (2019). Gender-related facial analysis. Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics, 27(2), 171-177.

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