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Face Beauty Research

For centuries people have been trying to figure out what it is that makes someone more beautiful than others. There is no simple answer to this question. We often hear the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. However, is it possible that there are certain features that are recognized as beautiful universally around the world? Kalology is the study of facial beauty and the way in which our beauty affects our lifestyle and role in society. For beginners, I recommend you to read the following post to understand the the basics of facial beauty.

In this study, we are going to explore what makes one face more beautiful than others and how artificial intelligence can assist us in processing our features.

Face shape

The shape of the face is determined by the bone structure of the skull. Furthermore, research shows that the structure and shape stem from genetic variations [14].

Knowing and understanding the shape of the face has become an important piece of knowledge in the beauty world. Based on your shape you can pick out the most flattering hairstyle, a pair of glasses, and what to accent when doing makeup.

Over the years multiple variants of shapes have been suggested as the ones that could fit the whole population of our planet. Today, scientists have identified nine distinct shapes.

Although according to various sources the shapes and names show slight dissimilarities, the following general shapes can be outlined: round, square, oblong, heart, diamond, triangle, rectangle, pear, and oval.

If unsure which one applies to you in particular, you can figure out yours from Figure 1. There are also numerous websites and tools online that can help you figure out your face shape [15].

Find face shape

Based on the beauty score of female celebrities, the most suitable face shape for females are Heart, Round and Triangle. Oval is a common and generally accepted face shape. However Pear, Diamond, Oblong, Rectangle and Square face shapes are not accepted as beautiful face shape.

Attractive Female Face Shapes

Based on the beauty score of male celebrities, the most suitable face shape for males are Heart, Rectangle and Diamond. Square, Triangle a and Oblong is a common and generally accepted face shape. However Pear, Round, and Oval face shapes are not accepted as beautiful face shape.

Attractive Male Face Shapes

Find your face shape on instantly with the AI powered tools.

Artificial Intelligence and beauty

The ever-evolving technology and knowledge derived from a range of studies have paved the way for various artificial intelligence tools to be designed to assist with identifying the level of beauty in human faces.
To find out more about the work process of these particular machines, we are going to explore an AI photo editing software Pinkmirror, which determines your attractiveness score based on the analysis of your face. This particular tool works by automatically extracting geometric measurements of your facial features from images based on an algorithm.
The results of the analysis are based on the machine’s judgment, which was designed with the help of research and data of associated rating scores from 4 different parts of the world.
Pinkmirror claims that their analysis relies on two aesthetic principles, which originate from the NeoClassical era – The “Rule of Fifths” and the “Rule of Thirds”.

  • The Rule of Fifths states that an aesthetically balanced face can be divided vertically into fifths which in turn are all roughly the width of one eye. In addition to that, the width of the base of the nose is equal to the distance between the eyes.
  • The Rule of Thirds is based on a formula developed by Leonardo da Vinci, which states that a balanced face can be divided vertically into three equal parts. The top part starts from the hairline to the top of the eyebrows, the middle part from the top of the brows to the bottom of the nose, and the third part is from the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin.

Apart from Frontal Dimensions, three more parameters are important to perception of beauty. Lateral depth, Skin Tone, Skin Clarity.

Frontal Dimensions: Edges of facial features and face itself as visually perceived as lines.

Lateral depth: Gradients between brightness/darkness which result of the depth of the face in three dimensional space.

Skin Tone: Skin quality which is mostly even across the face.

Skin Clarity: Lesser spots, wrinkles. The radiance of skin showoff the health of the person.

Dr.Stephen R . Marquardt Beauty Mask
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Face Structure Analysis

In the below image, you can see two faces. Among them which face you feel beautiful? The one on the left or the right one? For both the faces, the skin quality and expressions are the same. Then what makes the difference these two faces?

Attractive vs Non-Attractive Face Structure

The following table showing the result of a statistical study on 10,000 faces. The aspects that make the big difference between an attractive face and non attractive face are the length of eye-brow, eye, forehead, nose length & width and chin length.

eye-brow external distance55545039515
eye external distance43654037328
forehead width66926407285
eye-brow average length21401887253
nose length23612159202
jaw width59375749188
cheek width59415768173
eye average length13531212141
eye to brow -outside-margin896781115
eye inter distance1680162060
eye to eye-brow inside margin87281953
lip-lower width61656551
lip-upper width3913892
eye-brow inter distance128812871
philtrum length604606-2
mouth length25292544-15
nose width944989-45
chin length13561448-92
Table: Attractive vs Non-Attractive Face Structure features for female

The unit used in this table is PCI (Photographic Canthal Index) .

To further evaluate the work process of this software, we are going to analyze a list of celebrities it created based on their beauty score, both males and females. We will be looking at possible reasons for listing them this way, taking into account symmetry, face shapes, skin quality, makeup, and/or other facial features.

The top 5 celebrity female faces with the highest beauty score

As we can see from figure above, we can see that amongst the top 5 most beautiful female celebrities, the predominant shapes in the top 5 are heart and triangle. The similarities found between heart and triangle shapes are wider forehead and narrower lower part of the face, starting from cheekbones down towards the jawline.
The skin quality observed amongst the women is exceptionally smooth, with no apparent marks or distinctive characteristics.
The makeup is done in a way that complements their faces, the most common and being contouring and shading in the temple areas. This is suggested to reduce the width of the forehead for these particular shapes.
Furthermore, Shay Mitchell and Emma Watson have contour around their jawline to make it appear slimmer and reduce the sharpness. The main goal for the triangle shape is to make the face look longer and a little rounder, to balance out the proportions of the face.
On the other hand, the celebrities with the heart-shaped faces, such as Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Kate Upton, and Reese Witherspoon, have implemented slightly different techniques to enhance the overall appearance. For example, they have highlighted the jaw and chin areas with lighter foundation in order to create an illusion of more width.
Overall, their facial features and structure are symmetrical to the eye, with no extreme angles or sizes.

The top 5 celebrity male faces with the highest beauty score

Looking at figure above, we can see that amongst the top 5 most beautiful male celebrities, the best looking shapes according to AI are rectangle and heart.

The rectangle face shape is observed to be symmetrical due to the width of the forehead, cheekbones, and jawline being almost equal. In contrast, the heart shape presents prominent cheekbones, a wide forehead, and a narrow chin.
The go-to hairstyle for these particular celebrities is shorter sides and a longer top.
The overall facial build looks symmetrical to the eye with no distinctive irregularities.
Standout features that can be noted are a prominent jawline, wide forehead, and a short stubble or no beard at all.
The skin quality is smooth with no particular marks.


Based on the overall outcome of the analysis and measuring criteria we can outline a few feasible reasons for the AI beauty tool to list those celebrities in that particular order.

  • The facial features are visually symmetrical.
  • The skin quality is good, with no visible marks or noticeable imperfections.
  • The hair and makeup choices complement the face shape.
  • All the shapes have distinguishable angles. For example, noticeable jawline, prominent cheekbones, or a pointy chin. However, they do not stand out from the overall appearance.

Apart from this, the tool itself is entertaining to use and it could potentially give a person some insight into what their facial features signal to the outside world. Additionally, it can give people an idea of how to balance out the overall features visually with the help of makeup, hairstyles, or glasses.

That said, as entertaining as the results are, the information provided leaves room for more factual data. It could be improved by adding more diverse measuring criteria – for example, age, gender, and geographical background. The users may benefit from more information on why exactly their face is considered beautiful in a particular continent of the world and explain further why certain drastic retouching methods were applied.


Beauty has been a subject of interest for centuries. With extensive amounts of research done over the years and outlined in this study, we have learned that there is no single constructing factor that can determine whether someone can be equally attractive for every single person. Furthermore, there is no doubt that there is a wide range of new-age software that can do a lot of groundwork for humans by reading faces and extract information.

Nevertheless, for those tools to be truly successful in their purpose, more research needs to be done across different countries and societies to be able to give more objective beauty scores and provide explanations for them.

Reference list

1 n.d. Face Reading History – Practice Of Physiognomy, Phrenology, Personality, Astrology. [].

2 Little, A., Jones, B. and DeBruine, L., 2011. Facial attractiveness: evolutionary based research. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 366(1571), pp.1638-1659. []

3 R. Thornhill, S.W. Gangsted. Facial attractiveness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 3 (1999), pp. 452-460.

4 A.P. Møller, J.P. Swaddle. Asymmetry, developmental stability, and evolution. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1997). []

5 Etcoff, N. Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty (Anchor/Doubleday, 1999).

6 Perrett, D. I. et al. Effects of sexual dimorphism on facial attractiveness. Nature 394, 884–887 (1998).

7 Rhodes, G. et al. Attractiveness of facial averageness and symmetry in non-Western cultures: in search of biologically based standards of beauty. Perception 30, 611–625 (2001).

8 Samuels, C. A. & Ewy, R. Aesthetic perception of faces during infancy. Br. J. Dev.Psychol. 3, 221–228 (1985).

9 Langlois, J. H. et al. Infant preferences for attractive faces: rudiments of a stereotype?Dev. Psychol. 23, 63–69 (1987).

10 Schaefer, K. et al. Female appearance: facial and bodily attractiveness as shape.Psychol Sci 48, 187–204 (2006).

11 Fink, B. et al. Second to fourth digit ratio and face shape. Proc R Soc B 272, 1995–2001, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2005.3179 (2005).

12 Schaefer, K., Fink, B., Mitteroecker, P., Neave, N. & Bookstein, F. L. Visualizing facialshape regression upon 2nd to 4th digit ratio and testosterone. Coll Antropol 29, 415–419(2005).

13 Shackelford, T.K.; Larsen, R.J. Facial asymmetry as an indicator of psychological,emotional, and physiological distress. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 1997, 72, 456–466.

14 PLOS. “Face shape is in the genes: Genome-wide association study identifies geneticvariants that contribute to healthy facial traits.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2016. []

15 Ivonette, K., 2019. What Is My Face Shape. [Blog] Pinkmirror, Available at: <>

16 K. Grammer, B. Fink, A. Juette, G. Ronzal, R. Thornhill. Female faces and bodies: Ndimensionalfeature space and attractiveness. G. Rhodes, L.A. Zebrowitz (Eds.), Advancesin visual cognition, vol. 1: facial attractiveness, Ablex, Westport, CT (2002) []

17 Ward, D., 2013. The Familiarity Principle Of Attraction. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: <>

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20 J.H. Langlois, L.A. Roggman. Attractive faces are only average. Psychological Science, 1 (1990), pp. 115-121. []

21 Rhodes G., Zebrowitz L.A., Clark A., Kalick S.M., Hightower A., McKay R. Do facial averageness and symmetry signal health? Evol Hum Behav. 2001 Jan;22(1):31-46. []

22 Fink, B., Grammer, K., & Thornhill, R. (2001). Human (Homo sapiens) facial attractiveness in relation to skin texture and color. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 115(1), 92–99. []



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