Golden Proportion

Why is a smaller nose width more attractive than a wider one among females?


A smaller nose width is often considered more attractive among females. Research at the Catholic University of Roma, Italy found that a nose width smaller than ¼ of the facial width contributes to the perception of beauty. Another study supported this, with 64.8% of respondents preferring reduced nose proportions in women. Additionally, a study reported that the human nose is sexually diamorphic, with males tending to have larger noses than females, making evolutionary preferences for smaller female noses understandable. Furthermore, a study found that a youthful face often features a small nose, large eyes, and full lips, which can contribute to overall attractiveness. A more recent study investigated the neoclassical cannon theory, which proposes that the ideal female nose width is about one-fifth of the facial width. The findings showed deviations from the theory, but generally, noses closer to the average composite were deemed more attractive.


According to a study by Tersello et al. (2010) at the Catholic University of Roma, Italy, a “nose width smaller than ¼ of facial width” creates ‘beauty’ within a face.

Facial Fourths and Nose Width Relation

This study was based on 50 Italian models selected for an important beauty contest.

Another study (Przylipiak et al, 2018) corroborated these findings, “64.8% of respondents prefer […] reduced nose proportions in women”.

Look Pretty With A Smaller Nose Width

Mikalsen et al (2014) reported that the human nose is sexually diamorphic (with males tending to display larger noses than females) so evolutionary preferences for small female noses make sense.

males tends to display larger nose

More historically, a paper published by Doug Jones (and colleagues, 1995) reported that a youthful face was one that combined a “high ratio of neurocranial to lower-facial features with a small nose, ears, and full lips”.

Neurocranium vs Lower Facial Features

Additionally, they found that “a face with unusually large eyes, a small nose, and full lips in relation to face height will have a lower predicted age”.

large eyes, small nose, full lips = lower predicted age

Together, these studies shed light on the potential benefits of a smaller nose, and how this can help contribute to overall facial attractiveness.

Wide vs Smaller Nose Width

Van Zijl et al (2020) from the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at the Erasmus Medical Center, set up a study which helped investigate a neoclassical cannon theory: whether the ideal female nose width measured approximately one-fifth of the width of an individual’s full face (when measured at the alar base)?.

Alar Base

His research findings showed some “deviations”, namely that the attractive nose composite they produced had an “alar base that is slightly wider than the inner canthal distance” and that average nose shapes “are perceived as attractive” but not “the aesthetic ideal”.

However in general “the more a nose deviated away from the average composite […] the lower the attractiveness score of that nose was”.


Torsello, F., Mirigliani, L., D’Alessio, R., Deli, R., 2010. Do the neoclassical canons still describe the beauty of faces? An anthropometric study on 50 Caucasian models. Progress in Orthodontics. 11, 1. 13-19.

Mikalsen, Å. K. R., Folstad, I., Yoccoz, N. G., Laeng, B., 2014. The spectacular human nose: an amplifier of individual quality? PeerJ . 2. e357.

Przylipiak, M, Przylipiak, J, Terlikowski, R, Lubowicka, E, Chrostek, L, Przylipiak, A. Impact of face proportions on face attractiveness. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018; 17: 954– 959.

Jones, D., Brace, C. L., Jankowiak, W., Laland, K. N., Musselman, L. E., Langlois, J. H., Roggman, L. A., Perusse, D., Schweder, B., Symons, D., 1995. Sexual Selection, Physical Attractiveness, and Facial Neoteny. Current Anthropology. 36, 5. 723 – 748. 10.1086/204427

van Zijl, F. V. W. J., Perrett, D. I., Lohuis, P. J. F. M., Touw, C. E., Xiao, D., Datema F. R., 2020. The Value of Averageness in Aesthetic Rhinoplasty: Humans Like Average Noses. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 19, 40. 12, 1280-1287. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjaa010

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