Why is Someone Considered Attractive?
People often say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, but recent advances in our understanding of evolutionary biology are shaping the way we perceive beauty – and cosmetic surgery. We live in a world where full lips, a straight nose, and a smooth face are the defining elements of beauty. But why exactly do these things make people more attractive?
Philosophers have pondered this question for centuries, from the ancient Greek poets to Renaissance artists. However, the aesthetic question might very well come down to certain basic principles. Now, are these principles based on universal forms, or is beauty truly a product of the observer’s culture?
Extensive psychological research has been conducted on the topic, and the vast majority seems to think that evolutionary biology is the best guideline for how cosmetic physicians should practice their craft.
Understanding beauty within the context of an evolutionary adaptive trait puts our patients’ goals in perspective. It all comes down to three basic principles:
- Exotic medians
The Beauty of Symmetry
Symmetry is one of the great principles of biology. Everything from insects to viruses exhibits faster growth, higher fertility, and better survival rates with increased symmetry, which becomes even more defined as species evolve. We have two eyes, two lungs, two arms, two ears, and so on.
Among other things, it provides a backup should one of the organs get damaged. For the observer, overwhelming scientific evidence shows that humans with more symmetrical features are considered more genetically fit and beautiful. A good example? Brad Pitt.
Human beings naturally calibrate every new person they see against an internal composite; in a multi-cultural society, internal averages end up representing a more universal form.
A study performed by Gillian Rhodes, a psychologist at the University of Western Australia, took photographs of two races, and slowly morphed the faces into one. When asked to rate the most attractive face among the photographs, participants in the study consistently chose the composite.
Evolutionary psychologists predict that, among other reasons, the mixed race is found most attractive because these individuals appear healthier. In the quest for a reproductive partner, good health is at the top of the list.
The combination of races encourages survival of the genetically strongest traits, resulting in prominent lips, thick hair, and plump skin, the very features that pique the subconscious male mind. Because couples subconsciously look for genetic traits in a partner that compliment their own – in effect, filling in the weak spots – there is a natural affinity for mixed race beauty that signals a combination of genetic strengths. This explains the undeniable beauty of celebrities like Halle Berry, Eva Mendes, and Keanu Reeves.
The golden skin of Halle Berry appears thickened and homogenous, a factor correlated to health. Cosmetic physicians can achieve this with laser skin resurfacing, just as they can use fillers to mimic the fuller, more exotic lips of someone like Eva Mendes.
The key is to make subtle changes rather than extreme ones, as people can just as easily recognize unnatural features as unhealthy.
A youthful face is associated with an inverted triangle shape. Infantile features, such as big eyes, high cheekbones, plump lips, and a small lower face are indicative of low androgen and high estrogen, meaning fertile and ready to reproduce. A narrow, smaller lower third is a sexually defining trait that maintains focus on the eyes. The preference for women with the inverted triangle is evolutionarily preserved and consistent across cultures; males are especially attracted to females that mimic youthfulness. A smaller facial framework also highlights the lips, which serve an important evolutionary role for signaling female fertility. For tips, trends, and to stay up to date on what’s new in the beauty world, check out this beauty blog.
The facelift is a common solution to the aging face, because it can take the rectangular-shaped faces of the elderly and invert them to the high-cheekbone faces of more youthful women. However, non-surgical treatments can also effectively achieve the inverted triangle shape by highlighting the eyes and de-emphasizing the lower third of the face.
If you are considering non-surgical treatments or a facelift, schedule a consultation with renowned Beverly Hills facial rejuvenation expert Dr. Azizzadeh by calling 310.461.0303 today!