Golden Proportion

Narrow or Wide: Understanding the Role of Nose Width in Sexual Dimorphism


A smaller Nose-Width is looked at as a feminine feature, while a wider one is a masculine one. Koehler et al.’s (2004) study suggests that a smaller nose width is considered a feminine trait due to the influence of sex hormones on facial development. Testosterone, typically higher in males, promotes the growth of the lower face, jaw, cheekbones, brow ridges, and nose, resulting in broader features. Conversely, estrogen, usually more prevalent in females, tends to restrict this growth. Consequently, individuals exposed to higher estrogen levels during development may have less broad facial features, including a smaller nose, contributing to the perception of smaller nose width as a feminine characteristic. Moreover, another study highlighted that smaller nose-width is seen as a feminine feature because female noses are usually smaller, shorter, and narrower. In contrast, male noses are generally larger, with wider roots and alar widths, resulting in a more robust and prominent appearance.


According to Koehler et al. (2004), a smaller nose width is seen as a feminine feature because of the effects of sex hormones on the development of facial features. The hormone testosterone, which is higher in males, encourages the growth of features such as the lower face, jaw, cheekbones, and brow ridges, including the area of the face that includes the nose. On the other hand, the hormone estrogen, which is higher in females, tends to limit this growth.

So, in simple terms, if a person is exposed to more testosterone during their development, they might end up with broader facial features, including a wider nose. If they have more estrogen, their facial features, including the nose, maybe less broad or smaller. That’s why a smaller nose-width is generally seen as a feminine trait because it’s more common in individuals who had higher levels of estrogen during their development.

A smaller nose-width is often perceived as a feminine feature due to the typical shape and size of female noses. As mention in the study by Lakhiani & Somenek (2019) that female noses are usually smaller, shorter, and have narrower bridges and alar bases (the widest part of the nose), resulting in a more delicate and less pronounced appearance. In contrast, male noses tend to be larger with wider nasal roots and alar widths, giving them a more pronounced and robust appearance. These general differences in nose structure between the genders contribute to our societal understanding of what constitutes a ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ nose.


Koehler, N., Simmons, L. W., & Rhodes, G. (2004). How well does second–to–fourth–digit ratio in hands correlate with other indications of masculinity in males?. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 271(suppl_5), S296-S298.

Lakhiani, C., & Somenek, M. T. (2019). Gender-related facial analysis. Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics27(2), 171-177.

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