While “ideal” beauty continues to change, one-thing remains constant—symmetry is key to perceived beauty. “Even though the ideals of beauty have changed over time, perfect proportion is the underlying theme,” says Montreal plastic surgeon Arthur Swift, MD, underlining the importance of balance found in a perfect symmetrical face.
There’s no denying it: Symmetry is an important factor when it comes to physical beauty. Science has attested on numerous occasions that our beauty increases when facial symmetry is increased, and decreases when symmetry is decreased, in individual faces. Why is this? Evolution. Research supports the claim that facial symmetry indicates a better coping system for environmental factors, which implies worthiness for mating. Basically, though we might not realize it off the bat, we’re more attracted to faces that are symmetrical. And if you look at the laundry list of gorgeous celebrities boasting astonishing symmetry, you can see we have idealized facial proportions for quite some time.
The Golden Ratio: Symmetry in Famous Faces
With her perfectly balanced oval-shaped face and slim nose that points upward, Grace Kelly was considered the epitome of natural beauty. Click through the rest of this gallery to see which stars’ faces throughout history, and into today, have determined what we find beautiful.
Marilyn Monroe, arguably one of the most beautiful women of the silver screen, had big eyes, smooth skin and nearly perfectly symmetrical features. She was practically a portrait.
If your facial features aren’t proportionate, they could give way to a less feminine and less attractive look than you desire. While it’s these asymmetric features that make us unique (famous mole anyone?), cosmetic surgery is an option for those who are looking achieve symmetry. Making just a few minor tweaks can dramatically shift how symmetrical your features are.
Having bigger features also determines someone’s perceived attractiveness. Model Twiggy set the standard for this with her oval-shaped face, wide eyes, long nose and full lips. Her eyes are asymmetrical in shape, proving that perfection isn’t necessarily all there is to beauty. People are built of different features that are attractive in combination through symmetry and differences.
To enhance the size of the eyes, you can manipulate the brows. A browlift can reposition eyebrows that are too low and bring them back to a more natural point. Most browlifts are performed to correct brows that are too low—brows that are naturally too high are a rare occurrence). By lifting just the tail end of the brow, the brows are elevated ever so slightly, which leads to a sexier shape and look. The procedure, which can give more of an arch, may also fix eyebrows that are asymmetrical.
Youthful cheeks are typically oval-shaped and plump, sit high on the face and taper inward, like Christie Brinkley’s. When the cheeks are flat and lack definition, they can cause the face to look masculine or aged prematurely. Simply adding volume gives them more definition and can contribute to facial symmetry.
Fillers are a good way of test-driving what your cheeks could look like if fat or implants were to be used, according to La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD. Placing Sculptra Aesthetic in the upper area of the cheek adds fullness and can also lift the area below the cheeks, which may be flat. “By lifting the cheeks, other features are subtly lifted, too, like the corners of the mouth and jawline, which gives a nicer contour,” says Los Angeles dermatologist Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD. Radiesse, Juvéderm and Artefill can also be used to achieve similar results, but be aware that Artefill treatment is permanent.
Source: PR Photos
Model Christy Turlington is noted as being virtually proportionally perfect in terms of how her features are divided equally into thirds. At first glance, she appears to have a perfectly symmetrical face, but even she has slight differences in her facial structure that contribute to her individuality.
If your chin is not proportionate, other features, like your nose, may feel that you look completely out of balance. When the jawline is too angular and dominant or, on the flip side, weak, it can create an unhappy look and a gummy smile. By placing small, soft silicone implants in or around the jawline, your plastic surgeon can create a more balanced look. A small incision is usually made inside the mouth, and an implant is inserted to build up the jawline.
Source: PR Photos
A University of Toronto study concluded that Shania Twain has the perfect geometrically measured face. Her chin, cheeks, and brows are in perfect harmony.
The chin, nose and lips are close to one another, so correcting the chin can make your lips look better. It can also cause the nose to look smaller or larger if they are not proportionate. The perfect chin, like Twain’s, is often an oval in shape with a concave turn and sit almost directly under where the lower lip projects outward. To create a less pronounced jawline, your plastic surgeon can make an incision either externally under the chin or inside your mouth to expose and shave down any excess bone, giving it more curvature. In some cases, the muscles are also addressed to narrow the back portion of the jaw even further.
Michelle Pfeiffer has gloriously symmetrical features, and a near-perfect nose.
You can get a smaller nose like Pfeiffer’s by surgically manipulating the bone and cartilage. To reduce a large nose, your plastic surgeon will need to bring down the bridge of your nose, usually by shaving it down to make it smaller.
A straight, elegant nose that starts level to where the eyelashes hit (when the eyes are open) and sits high with a set-back bridge, like Elizabeth Hurley’s is desirable. If you have a droopy nose, the nose will look long and the cheeks small, giving an overall disproportionate look to.
You can get a perfectly positioned tip by adding or removing cartilage. To correct a tip that’s too droopy or overly upturned, the tip needs to be elevated or brought down (depending on the concern) by reshaping just the cartilage in the tip, known as a tip rhinoplasty— the rest of the nose remains the same.
When it comes to the eyes, there should be about half of an inch between the upper eyelid and the brow, and the outer corner of the eye should slightly turn up, like the eyes of supermodel Kate Moss.
You can fix droopy eyes by manipulating the outer corner of the eye (which is usually lower than the center and inner portions) with canthopexy, your plastic surgeon can eliminate downward sloping. An incision is typically made in the upper eyelid crease so that the lid can be tightened and lifted, giving the lower lid more support. It also gives a lifted look to the cheek and relieves that tired look often associated with a skewed outer eyelid corner.
Halle Berry looks so perfect due in part to the fact that she has a beautiful oval shape, which keeps her looking youthful.
If aging is affecting the shape of your face, due to volume loss and structural changes, you may be able to tweak what you don’t like. “There’s a new trend of using Sculptra Aesthetic in younger patients to fine-tune the structure of the face by adding volume,” says Dr. Fitzgerald. As volume is lost, some features may look different. “Addressing areas of aging that change facial shape and proportions, like the hollows in the temples, can create a beautiful yet subtle result. When the temples sink inwards and lose structure, they can cause the face to be unbalanced,” says Dr. Fitzgerald. “But, when they are reinflated, the entire face can look lifted. Restoring volume with injectables helps to improve the dimension of your features and facial symmetry, too,” she adds. Hyaluronic acid fillers can achieve a similar look and also erase wrinkles, with instant results.
To achieve a chiseled jawline like Cheryl Cole’s, you can use injectables and fillers. For a less permanent fix, Botox or Dysport can be injected below the jawline to prevent the neck muscles from contracting and forcing the jowl to pull downward.