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J Orofac Orthop. 2007 Jan;68(1):6-16.

[The ideal of facial beauty: a review].

[Article in English, German]

Author information

Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Klinik für Zahn-, Mund- und Kieferheilkunde, Abteilung für Kieferorthopädie, Osianderstr. 2-8, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


In this review article we examine the question as to which parameters of facial attraction are amenable to measurement and which tools are available to perform these measurements. The evaluation of facial images, artistic standards, cephalometry, and anthropometry are discussed. Furthermore, we consider how the attractiveness of a face is influenced by symmetry, averageness and distinguishing features such as dental esthetics or gender specific characteristics. There is a shared concept of what constitutes an "ideal" face. Anthropometric methods are preferable to cephalometric methods in determining the "ideal" face's dimensions, since anthropometric methods are valid, three-dimensional, non-invasive, suitable for a great variety of purposes, and easy to implement. Symmetry and averageness play important roles in determining the attractiveness of a face; although distinguishing features make it extraordinarily beautiful. Such features make a female face appear both child like and mature as well as expressive. Women's preferences as to what constitutes a particularly attractive male face are controversial, since female observers are greatly influenced by their menstrual cycles or their environment when responding to male faces. Finally, allowance has to be made for the fact that the ideal of beauty is subject to certain fluctuations in fashion.

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