However much we like to think looks do not influence us, the statistics put out by researchers beg to differ. Some scientists suggest that we perceive proportional bodies to be healthier, and those with nice-looking teeth have higher education levels than those who don’t. Likewise, if a face is in proportion, we are more likely to find it beautiful. Some believe that we perceive a face as more aesthetically appealing when it adheres to the golden ratio because the human eye can process it faster, which ‘pleases’ our brain.
Whilst we all have different ideas about what we think is beautiful in a face, there is a specific science behind what makes a beautiful face, and most aesthetic practitioners will turn to this formula during the initial consultation with a patient.
The triangle of youth
A youthful face has three distinct features: high cheekbones, full cheek volume and a well-defined jawline. The widest point on a face is the measurement across its well-shaped cheeks, which taper down towards the chin and emphasise what is popularly known as the ‘triangle of youth’. That means if you were to draw a triangle with its base up and superimpose it on the image of a youthful face, two of its points will meet the cheekbones, and the third will finish at the chin.
As the face ages, the cheeks naturally lose volume as fat pads in the face diminish, and the jowls will begin to sag, and that triangle of youth gets lost. In fact, quite often, it ends up upside down, with the two widest points being the corners of the jaw and the third point starting at the bridge of the nose.
How do I assess the face?
When I assess a face for the first time during a consultation, I look at each individual feature to determine how that face is ageing, thinking strategically about where I should inject for a more youthful, balanced appearance.
Perhaps we could improve the facial structure or make a face a little more symmetrical. Most of us have asymmetric faces, and although symmetry is something the human eye finds pleasing if you look carefully at most beautiful faces, it’s their slight asymmetry that gives them their unique attraction and stops them from looking robotically perfect.
When we restore an ageing face, we want to strengthen that triangle of youth and make the skin look fresher, smoother, and more radiant.
The golden ratio formula
As well as a practitioner’s assessment of the face, there is also a mathematical element – Phi. If we measure the length and width of the face and then divide the length by the width, the ideal result – as defined by the Golden Ratio – is roughly 1.62. This number is known as Phi, after the Greek sculptor Phidias, who used this proportion in his work.
Using this concept when assessing a patients face, we can demonstrate what looks good on a face and how the principles of the Golden Ratio can be used on them. This isn’t to turn them into a canned version of themselves but to move the proportions of their face closer to the ideals that are known to be pleasing. They will still look like themselves, just fresher, youthful and more balanced.