Beauty, according to all-knowing Google, is defined as follows:
- a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.
If we are to accept this definition, it brings up the question of what one would consider “pleasing” to the aesthetic senses. They say that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but is it really? While we might disagree on what we each consider beautiful, it turns out that the way our brains judge and determine attractiveness is universal. Let’s take a peek into the science behind “Beauty”.
Scientists have found that averageness plays a large role in attractiveness. “Averageness”, in this sense, does not mean “just ok” or “meh”. Rather, average faces are a mathematical average (or mean) of most people’s features. And, in general, people find such faces quite attractive. Subconsciously, we average out this information in our brains and store it away. This method of averaging large amounts of visual data helps our brains encode the information. Due to this process, our brains are predisposed to be attracted to something that appears “average”, faces included.
If science states that we tend to be more attracted to more “average” faces, that implies that “average” for each person might differ depending on what types of faces they see the most often. Studies have supported this, finding that we can find faces more attractive, simply by seeing them more often. This might also explain why people tend to be attracted to partners that have similar facial features to their own. Familiarity and repeated exposure play a role in this, as familiar things tend to be more attractive.
Symmetry plays a role in averageness as well. Each face is different, but varies from perfect symmetry by at least a very small margin. However, to the everyday eye, the average face appears symmetrical. Therefore, more symmetrical faces appear to be more attractive. But what does symmetry have to do with beauty? While most people would prefer to look at the Mona Lisa over a Picasso piece, there is more to it than just aesthetics. Symmetry can be linked to health, and thus an attraction to symmetry might result in a healthier partner.
The Golden Ticket
The Golden ratio is a special number found by dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part. It is often symbolized using the Greek letter phi. It is found in art, architecture and considered to be the “most pleasing” to the eye. Does this apply to the beauty and attractiveness of a face as well? Studies have found that the Golden Ratio may not actually be so golden when it comes to finding faces attractive. Instead, a face is thought to be most attractive when the face’s eye-to-mouth distance is 36% of the face length and distance between the pupils is 46% of the face width. Since face width and length play a large role in perceived attractiveness, this implies that some rather simple manipulations of one’s appearance can cause an increase one’s perceived attractiveness. For example, bangs or shorter haircuts will alter how wide or long a person’s face will appear to others.
Clearly, there is more to beauty than meets the eye! Our attraction to others will also be dependent upon what meets the brain. However, beauty can mean much more than one simple definition, an idea that was recently enforced by my experience at BeautyCon LA.
I first saw it advertised on my Facebook page and got really excited about the idea of being among other makeup and skin care enthusiasts, huge brands that I love and follow, and of course, ALL the freebies! However, One thing I noticed right away was that while many booths had products for sale, they almost all had products that they were sampling or giving away. It was like a great big party for attendees, and the products were thank you presents for being supporters of their brands. After the excitement of waiting to get my wristband, and then waiting in the huge line of thousands of other beauty lovers to get inside the convention center, I quickly discovered that this event was so much more than an event to get free stuff. From makeup artists and movie stars to YouTube influencers, everybody could find something to gain from this huge gathering. This event focused not only on the brands and celebrities, but encouraged each of their guests to realize and embrace their beauty, no matter what form it took. Everybody was welcome, everybody was beautiful, and we were all there to celebrate whatever beauty meant to each one of us. So as I raced around to gather samples and items from the various booths, I was both in awe and inspired as I witnessed all of the different forms, expressions, and displays of beauty all in this one place.
It’s probably no surprise that I started in K-Town, the section dedicated to all this Korean Beauty related. I snagged tons of awesome goodies from some of my favorite K Beauty brands like Mamonde, Iope, Sulwahsoo, Laneige, and ENature. I even discovered a new favorite product, the new Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream from COSRX. I am loving the non-greasy texture and its moisturizing effects so much, I can’t wait to purchase the full size! It has already done wonders for the fine lines that I have noticed creeping up on my face! Throughout the rest of the hectic day, I managed to visit many booths including Pixi, Revlon, and Rimmel London and received such amazing things to try out! About a dozen sheet masks, several eye liners, blushes, and even some nutritional supplements were only the tip of iceberg of samples that I received. Because I got curious, I looked up prices for the full sized items I got and the total, if purchased from the company websites, was a little over $300, and that’s not even including the many small samples I was given!! I was wiped out and exhausted from all of the walking, but really excited about not only my new products to try and hopefully review, but my newly recharged love for beauty in all forms. It was an eye opening experience that I was so fortunate to attend and I am looking forward to attending again next year.
I hope that you enjoyed this post and taking a look at the science behind what makes a face “beautiful” to each of us. I had a blast writing this and at BeautyCon! For my returning readers, thank you so much for sticking through and coming back after my absence. I really appreciate all of my supporters and would like to celebrate and thank all of you by doing a give-away of some of the items I received at BeautyCon! Please keep an eye out on my Instagram, @thechemicalmakeup for details coming soon!! Also please comment below with any thoughts, feedback and questions you might have! I’d love to hear about your favorite things to do that make you feel beautiful. Most of all, I hope that this inspires you to find your own beauty and flaunt it because there is beauty in all of us and it deserves to shine bright.
Until next time, keep a scientific eye on the world and a happy thought in your head!