Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder is a statement people often blurt out on occasions but is the concept of beauty really subjective? Does the idea of beauty vary from one person to another? Findings from multiple studies indicate that beauty is, in fact, objective and is perceived with remarkable similarity in all individuals. (1) Over the past two decades, significant attention has been paid to what makes a person beautiful in order to determine their aesthetic appeal. A person’s level of attractiveness can impact their socioeconomic status and even has a strong influence in job hiring. (2)
- How Have Studies Linked Facial Geometry With Attractiveness?
- Factors That Determine Facial Attractiveness
- The Ideal Dimensions Of The Female Jaw
- Anatomical Measurements
- What Factors Determine An Ideal Female Jaw?
- Jaw Angle and Attractiveness
- Lateral View of the Jaw
- Jaw Slimming and Contouring
- How QOVES Studio Can Help
How have studies linked facial geometry with attractiveness?
Studies that focus on female aesthetics have attempted to link the geometrical boundaries of a female face with attractiveness by using pre-determined definitions of what an average female face looks like. This was done without attempting to obscure naturally present diversities in female facial structures. Recent studies have used Geometric Morphometries (GM) as a technique to analyze the skeletal structure of a female face. (1) GM outlines a consensus facial shape using a mathematical approach that utilizes vectors to represent variations in the facial structure allowing a direct measure of averageness, dimorphism, and feminine traits.
Figure 1 – Set of 21 facial landmarks used in the geometric morphometric analysis. Valenzano Et al 2006.
As attractiveness is dependent on sexual dimorphism, possessing feminine facial geometrical features that are in stark contrast to the male ideal geometrical features is a quality inherently possessed by attractive females. (3) The lateral view of the face is more important to evaluate attractiveness in comparison to the frontal view, as frontal view differences between masculine and feminine structures are mainly determined by the texture of the skin. (6) Therefore, many studies that focus on the comparison of male and female facial anatomy have data that only examine the lateral view of the face. However, when it comes to explicitly comparing facial attractiveness in women, the frontal analysis also plays an important role.
Factors That Determine Facial Attractiveness
Studies conducted on facial attractiveness have suggested that attractiveness is directly associated with the degree of expression of feminine traits, sexual dimorphism, symmetry, and averageness. (2) Averageness was defined as the degree of consistency to the average facial shape in the general population, whereas sexual dimorphism is the extent by which a female varies in terms of physical features from her male counterpart. Based on behavioural studies, evolution has seemingly dictated that feminine traits, dimorphism, and averageness are the chief factors that contribute to sexual selection. (3)
The Ideal Dimensions Of The Female Jaw
On average, the angle of the jaw differs by 2-3 degrees in males and females. (5) In males, the average angle is 128° (+/- 2.36°) and in females, it is 126° degrees (+/- 2.41°). Although this mean value is relatively constant, the angle can vary to a certain extent within the same gender. Also, one has to consider differences between ethnicities with the Indian subcontinent having much lower angles on average than northern Europeans for instance.
Researchers, in general, agree that jaw width, on the other hand, is a highly variable feature with regards to precise geometric measurements. As no literature exists at the moment that specifies a quantitative measurement for analyzing feminine beauty in terms of jaw width, plastic surgeons and aestheticians don’t strictly follow a specific value for aesthetic manipulation of jaw width. Instead, they focus primarily on the angle of the mandible and contour to enhance the jaw’s features.
However, large variations in jaw dimensions from the mean values are not considered an aesthetically attractive feature, with jaw protrusion and increased width of the jaw reportedly attracting attention away from other normal features of the face. (6)
Figure 2 – Soft tissue jaw width (bi-gonial width) and jaw angle (gonial angle) imposed over a female face for reference.
What factors determine an ideal female jaw?
Maxillofacial and orthodontic surgery for aesthetic purposes is currently done with an agreement between a plastic surgeon and a patient’s view of an aesthetically attractive jaw. However, more often than not the patient’s view of attractiveness does not match with the surgeon’s view. In such instances, having a guide that provides knowledge on the ideal female facial anatomy can be highly useful to prevent patient dissatisfaction after the surgery. QOVES Studio provides services in educating potential candidates to better communicate their ideal jaw shape to surgeons.
However, as of now, there is no consensus on what qualifies as ideal parameters of female facial beauty. A large number of scientific papers have shown a range of facial structural dimensions as attractive, but these studies vary not just on their findings but also in terms of the geography, ethnicity, and gender of the participants. Due to the large variation in the location and demography of these studies, they have different perceptions of what makes a jawline attractive.
Jaw Angle and Attractiveness
While some studies have reported an obtuse angle jawline, and a contoured mandible like that of Angelina Jolie, to be features of attractiveness, there are also studies that find narrow-angle jawline to be a feature of attractiveness in women. This was especially true for Asian demographical studies, which found women with a slim V-shaped jawline and narrow-angle of the mandible to be features of a beautiful face.
Samizadeh S Et al 2019 reported that both men and women preferred obtuse jaw angle than an angular jaw in women i.e., a slimmer jawline was found to be much more attractive than a square jawline. (8) A slim jawline was described as one with a larger jaw angle that gives the jaw a V shape with the appearance of an overall slender facial structure. In contrast, Kim SY Et al 2015 compared the facial dimensions between women who had won beauty pageants to average women and reportedly found the lower facial ratio to be smaller with a narrow jawline angle at 113 degrees in the beauty group in comparison to the wide jawline angle of 131 degrees in the control average group. (9) A jawline of 113 degrees is very similar to the likes of Angelina Jolie or Kareena Kapoor’s jaw who are both regarded as beauty standards.
Lateral View Of the Jaw
Apart from the jaw angle from a frontal view, the lateral view of the face which demonstrates jaw protrusion or retrusion was also found to be important for facial aesthetics. Sena LMF Et al 2017 demonstrated how the anteroposterior positioning of the jaw mandible had a heavy influence on the level of facial attractiveness. (2) Naini Et al 2012 reported minor jaw protrusion or retrusion of up to 4 mm didn’t impact how the person was perceived in terms of attractiveness, but if the extent of jaw protrusion was beyond this it negatively impaired the aesthetic of the female. The researchers concluded jaw protrusion of more than 6 mm or jaw retrusion of more than 10 mm may be aesthetically unattractive enough to require cosmetic surgery. (7)
Jaw Slimming and Contouring
V-line jaw slimming, and mandible contouring are one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures. Most people choose the non-surgical route of jawline slimming i.e., via injection of botulin toxin which temporarily gives the appearance of a slim jawline by paralyzing the facial muscle for 4-6 months.
On the other hand, some women go for the extreme path to a slimmer jaw via surgery. Jaw slimming surgery is done by resecting a slice of the mandible to reduce the width of the jaw and achieve a better looking lateral and frontal facial profile. (6) Additionally, mandible contouring is also done along with resection to improve facial attractiveness by literally carving out a slimmer jaw.
Resection: the process of cutting out
Figure 4 – Radiological method used in the determination of the gonial angle. Journal Of Forensic Dental Sciences
How QOVES Studio Can Help
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- Valenzano, Dario & Mennucci, Andrea & Tartarelli, Giandonato & Cellerino, Alessandro. (2006). Shape analysis of female facial attractiveness. Vision research. 46. 1282-91. 10.1016/j.visres.2005.10.024.
- Sena LMF, Damasceno E Araújo LAL, Farias ACR, Pereira HSG. The influence of sagittal position of the mandible in facial attractiveness and social perception. Dental Press J Orthod. 2017;22(2):77-86.
- D.R. Valenzano, A. Mennucci, G. Tartarelli, A. Cellerino Shape analysis of female facial attractiveness Vision Res, 46 (2006), pp. 1282-1291
- Leopold DA, Rhodes G (2010) A comparative view of face perception. Journal of Comparative Psychology124: 233.
- Upadhyay RB, Upadhyah J, Agrawal P, Rao NN. Analysis of gonial angle in relation to age, gender, and dentition status by radiological and anthropometric methods. J Forensic Dent Sci 2012;4(1):29-33.
- Park S, Lee TS. Strategic Considerations for Effective Sagittal Resection of the Mandible to Achieve a Slim and Attractive Jawline. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2018;141(1):152-155. doi:10.1097/PRS.0000000000003932
- Naini FB, Donaldson ANA, McDonald F, Cobourne MT. Assessing the influence of chin prominence on perceived attractiveness in the orthognathic patient, clinician and layperson. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2012; 41 (07) 839-846
- Samizadeh S. The Ideals of Facial Beauty Among Chinese Aesthetic Practitioners: Results from a Large National Survey. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2019;43(1):102-114. doi:10.1007/s00266-018-1241-8
- Kim SY, Bayome M, Park JH, et al. Evaluation of the facial dimensions of young adult women with a preferred facial appearance. Korean J Orthod. 2015;45(5):253-260. doi:10.4041/kjod.2015.45.5.253