Features of the Beautiful Face
Normal faces have standard landmarks consisting of the skull, facial, maxillary, and mandibular bones. These are then covered with facial muscles that allow us to create movements and convey expressions. The true difference in an individual’s face is the positioning, volume, shape and angles of facial fat, skin, skeletal landmarks, and external features such as eyebrows, eyes, cheeks, the nose, etc. In evaluating a beautiful face, the features that command the most attention, in order of importance, are:
- Chin and Jawline
Features that rarely attract attention unless an abnormality is noted include:
Features that further enhance the attractiveness of a beautiful face are the hair, skin, and teeth. These areas are the easiest to routinely enhance. For instance, the hair-care industry, whether working with one’s natural hair, color, style, length, shape, etc. With the advent of carbon dioxide and erbium laser treatments, as well as advances in skin care products, the ability to securely create beautiful skin is easily obtained today. In addition, the cosmetic dental profession can provide beautiful teeth, from whitening to complete dental restorations.
Although covering only approximately 15% of the facial surface area, the brows, eyes and cheeks seem to command over 90% of one’s attention. For an artist, this area is the most difficult to capture and recreate since these features differ subtly with each individual, thus creating a “fingerprint” of individuality. (The brow, eye, and cheek areas contribute to the monist of aging referred to as “the arc of aging.”) These also happen to be the most difficult areas for plastic surgeons to correctly modify.
Initial assessments, planning errors, misinterpretations, imbalances, asymmetries, unnatural results, and under- or overcorrecting are all well-known problems for plastic surgeons. Plastic surgeons have long had the tools and techniques to provide patients with an attractive nose, chin and neckline. But a large part of the difficulty has remained in the inability to analytically measure, define, plan and create beautiful features represented by brows, eyes, cheeks, and lips. Combining artistic perception with simple, scientific, and uniformly reproducible measurements would be of tremendous importance in this area—the marriage of art and science.
It is through these interpretations and surgically artistic endeavors of adjusting contours and proportions that we are able to create a more soft, subtle, symmetric and youthful appearance. There are no tricks to achieving the aforementioned. Attention to detail, an understanding of anatomy, a working definition of beauty, and the ability to manipulate one’s flaws into one’s advantages allow for this creation in progress.
The Beautiful Nose:
(a) Artistically, a beautiful nose represents one of the most prominent features of the face that ranges in shape, size, and angle. A beautiful nose must reflect overall harmony and proportion in relation to the other features and the face as a whole. An attractive nasal contour is represented by a slightly sloped dorsum which blends into a moderate nasal frontal angle located at the supra-pupillary line or radix.47,48 Straight lines are not as pleasing to the eye as gracefully curved and flowing lines. The dorsum should flow, but not dip. The bridge is moderately narrow, as in the tip, with subtle definition and should be on a parallel axis with the ear. A prominent nasal spine may give an overly obtuse presentation. This should contribute to minimal, but definite, columellar show. The tip should be the most prominent point on the nasal dorsum. It should have a definite highlighted nasal projection or two tip defining points. The degree of tilt should be such that one can only slightly see the open nostrils on frontal view, and the profile has a slightly pleasant uplifted angle. The alar should be within a vertical line drawn down from the medial canthi, lie in a vertical-oblique position, and be moderate in size and ratio.
(b) Scientifically, 49
- The beautiful nose represents the central 1/3 of the distance from the trichion at the mid-sagital point to the gnathion.
- The most attractive nasal height from the nasion to the columella is about 48-50 mm. The female dorsum should lie no more than 2 mm under a line drawn from the radix to the tip.
- The nasal profile will fall between the top and the bottom of the ear.
- The ideal length of the nasal bridge is 45mm, the nasal width is 18 mm, and the alar width is 30mm (or equal to the inter-canthal distance) or 70% of the nasal length.
- The distance from the columellar base to the tip is 19mm. This contributes to minimal, but definite, columellar show.
- The nasofrontal angle measures between 115-130 degrees, and the angle of the nasal bridge from the vertical line to the Frankfurt horizontal ranges from 30-40 degrees.
- The distance from the base of the nose to the upper lip should be the same distance as the width of the combined central upper and lower lip, or the distance from the lower lid lashes to the upper lid supratarsal crease. This “labial ledge” is unattractive or aged if longer.
- The nasofacial angle ideally should be 36 degrees with a range of 30-40 degrees.
- The nose should be tilted up slightly with an open nasolabial angle of 95-110 degrees.
- The nasal projection should be 50-60% beyond the vertical drawn from the nasal base to the upper lip vertical projection.50
- As describe by Goode51, the distance of the horizontal line from the alar groove to the nasal tip should be 0.55-0.60 times the nasal length.
The Beautiful Cheek:
(a) Artistically, the beautiful cheek is one of the most important and attractive facial features. For centuries, this beautiful eminence has been highlighted with make-up and festive painting. The beautiful cheek should be well defined, full, and ovoid, like a definite highlighted “egg”. The peak of the highlighted cheekbone, or malar eminence, should be high and full. The full egg volume should be sitting at an angled position, marked from the upper lip to the upper ear with its pointed end toward the ear. The egg apex should lie on the vertical line splitting the lateral canthus and brow, and the horizontal line, from the division of the middle and lower thirds of the nose to the superior auricular tragus or cartilage bump in front of the ear. The fullest portion of the cheek should be centered high over the cheekbone and not down towards the nasolabial fold, as what occurs with aging. The appearance of the nasolabial fold should be minimal, and the jowl area should be flat or slightly concave. A prominent nasolabial fold occurs due to genetics, aging, the loss of fat and bone volume, or the slipping of the fat pad and skin down against the contracted nasolabial fold and mandibular or “jowl” ligaments.46 This creates the aged and unattractive cheek folds and jowls.
- The measured vertical peak height of the cheek eminence should be 25-27mm from the lateral canthus. The optimum angle should be 40 degrees. This area is comprised of bone, muscle, fascia, soft tissue, a cheek fat pad, and skin.
- If the Frankfort horizontal is drawn, the high point of the cheek is approximately 1 cm above that line and 1 cm posterior to the lateral orbital rim.
- The width of the cheek egg should be at least as wide as the distance from the lower lid to the brow peak horizontal.
- The width of the cheeks or malar bone should be equal to the width of the mandibular. This width is at least 15% less than the width between the zygomatic arches.
- The hollow of the beautiful cheek or “thumbprint of beauty” is located on the occlusal plane above a line drawn between the ear lobule and the ala, inferior to the malar bone.
The Beautiful Eye:
(a) Artistically, beautiful eyes project and invite energetic expression and intense interest. In the print and entertainment media, a subtle, innocent, yet flirtatious nature is often portrayed. Beautiful eyes are thought to be large and somewhat almond shaped.43-45 The lower eyelid should be shaped like a tapered scroll, much like the subtle edge of an English rosebud. The lower lid positioning should be at the level of the iris or slightly below. It should have a slight concavity, but blend smoothly with the cheekbone. The lid margin curves are slightly asymmetric, with slight medial elevation on the upper lid and light depression on the lower lid. The eyelashes, arched and somewhat “full”, should be longer and thicker on the upper lid and begin more medially than on the lower lid. A white sclera, with a distinctive color to the iris, is most attractive; hence the popularity of colored contact lenses. The vertical height of the lower to the upper lid at the medial limbus creates an individual pattern which may change with age acquired ptosis. On the horizontal, this width should be at least one-third of the medial-lateral canthal width. The beautiful eyes have a subtle, but distinctive upper lid crease. There should be a distinctive “Faberge egg” dividing the lateral half of the upper eyelid from the lateral half of the eyebrow. The sub-brow “egg” should be full and create a distinctive highlight.
(b) Scientifically, beautiful eyes have definite mathematical values.
- The average eye width is 30.7 mm. The distance from the medial to the lateral canthus should be equal to one fifth of the facial width. One eye width lies between the medial canthi.
- There should be zero to minimal sclera showing below the iris.
- The intercanthal distance should equal the width of the eye, ranging from 25.5 to 37.5 mm. Minor asymmetry is normal. The sclera should be white and highlighted.
- The distance between the upper lid margin and the lowest part of the eyebrow is a minimum of 12-15 mm.
- The primary lid fold is 7-12 mm above the lid margin.
- The upper lid should cover the iris approximately 0.5-1 mm.
- On the horizontal, the upper lid margin should cross the iris at or above the pupil, 9-12 mm above the lower lid margin.
- On the profile, the upper lateral lid soft tissue is situated 30 degrees more anteriorly than the lower lid. This represents the full superior orbital rim area.
- The distance from the lower lid lashes to the cheek apex should be 27 mm or less. There should be a relatively smooth transition between the lid and cheek without significant concavity or convexity.
- The entire eyebrow, eye, and eyelid should have at least a 5-7 degrees lateral positive tilt.
- The lateral canthus should be at least 5 to 10 degrees higher than the medial canthus. The lateral half of the lower lid should have an additional upward projection of 5-10 degrees towards the lateral canthus. The medial canthus is one of the few landmarks that does not change position with age.
The Beautiful Brow:
(a) Artistically, the beautiful brow should be of medium width, height, and arched at the junction of the medial two thirds and lateral third. It should lie just above the bony rim. The lateral tip should be higher than the medial. The brows should be uniformly shaped, medium to thin, with medial thickness tapering to lateral thinness. The eyebrows should follow a smooth curving line, extending from the lateral to the medial brow, around the nasion, and down the lateral nasal wall. The beauty of the brow lies not only in the angle from the inner to the outer brow, but also in the Faberge Egg Highlight located as a definite soft tissue fullness below the brow. This attractive highlight is located on the lateral soft tissue fat pad between the brow and upper eyelid. These highlights are very well expressed in photographs, where bright light illuminate the egg shaped highlights that are evident beneath the eyebrows.
- The beautiful brow should have a smooth, harmonious 10-20 degree climb from medial to lateral apex without creating a “surprised” appearance. The lateral brow complex in more attractive faces has a gentle, upward tilt above the medial brow.
- The height of the medial point brow, from the glabella to the trichion, is one-third of the facial height.
- The medial brow should begin on a vertical line with the medial canthus.
- The average distance from the eyebrow to the eyelid crease is 1.6 cm, from the eyebrow to the mid-pupil is 2.5 cm, from the eyebrow to the supraorbital rim is 1 cm, and from the eyebrow to the hairline is 5 to 6 cm.
The brow peak is optimal when a line is drawn from the most lateral point of the ala through the lateral limbus to the brow. The end of the brow should fall at a point on a line drawn from the most lateral point of the ala to the lateral canthus.