What Makes a Person Look “Beautiful”?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Real beauty is to be true to oneself.
Beauty is only skin-deep.

There is no shortage of beauty clichés out there that try to define beauty as being more about one’s soul than aesthetics. But if real beauty is to be true to oneself, then we should also stop denying that we are wired to appreciate physical attractiveness and even want it for ourselves.

To some extent, we all worry about our looks. We get dressed up for special events or dates. We put on makeup, when we usually don’t, to look more put together for a job interview or meeting. We work out a little more than usual in the days leading up to a beach getaway with friends. We go to the salon or spa to make our hair shine and our skin glow.

It’s human nature to be captivated and compelled by physical beauty. We can’t ignore the fact that attractive people are more pleasing to the eye. We idolize celebrities for their gorgeous faces and beautiful bodies.

But what makes us this way? Is there a universal formula for beauty? Is there a scientific explanation for why we find some people more attractive than others? Why are we innately drawn to beauty?

The Search for Symmetry

There’s plenty of research focused on how beauty has the power to trigger our brains and affect our behavior. One of those studies takes a historical look at beauty perceptions over the centuries. While it’s true that beauty standards have evolved, and the decades have seen many variations of what is considered an alluring body type, one of the things that has remained constant throughout history is the appreciation for a symmetrical face.

The “Golden Ratio” or the “Divine Proportion” is the mathematical number of 1.618:1. Also often called “Phi,” this ratio reasons that the most beautiful things in nature are symmetrical. Concerning the face, eyes, nose, mouth, jaw, and so on that proportion and position according to “Phi” are perceived as the most beautiful or attractive.

Celebrities such as Halle Berry, Amber Rose, Kim Kardashian, and Kate Moss are just some of the women whose faces have scored exceptionally well when scanned on the Golden Ratio grid. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and David Beckham are just some of the male stars whose faces are closest to the Phi ratio.

More Than Just Good Looks

However, more studies prove that our attraction to beauty goes much deeper than an appreciation for symmetry.

Research shows that the majority of men prefer women with pleasing facial characteristics such as plump lips, clear skin, bright eyes, and healthy hair; they’re also drawn to women with fuller hips and bosom and a smaller waist. More women tend to like men with masculine features such as a defined jaw, right muscle tone, muscular chest, and bright eyes.

While humans may seem superficial, these preferences are more about how a human being’s brain is hardwired to seek out a mate that is healthy enough to reproduce. Because symmetry plays a crucial role in indicating good health and strength, we find ourselves drawn to proportionate features. Therefore, we naturally are attracted to beauty for the simple reason that our DNA pushes us to populate and ensure the survival of our species.

What do you think makes a person beautiful? Do you have any interesting facts or beliefs about beauty? Tell us about it.

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