The Mathematics of Beauty
Beauty is in the phi of the beholder.
It has long been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and thought that beauty varies by race, culture or era. The evidence, however, shows that our perception of physical beauty is hard wired into our being and based on how closely the features of one’s face reflect phi in their proportions. The Golden Ratio appears extensively in the human face, as demonstrated in a 2009 university study on attractiveness.
But let’s take a deeper look yet at beauty based on analysis of the evidence.
A template for human beauty is found in phi and the pentagon
Dr. Stephen Marquardt has studied human beauty for years in his practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery. Dr. Marquardt performed cross-cultural surveys on beauty and found that all groups had the same perceptions of facial beauty. He also analyzed the human face from ancient times to the modern day. Through his research, he discovered that beauty is not only related to phi, but can be defined for both genders and for all races, cultures and eras with the beauty mask which he developed and patented. This mask uses the pentagon and decagon as its foundation, which embody phi in all their dimensions. For more information and other examples, see his interview explaining the ratio of beauty in the video below:
Variations and other factors in beauty
Even with a perfectly proportioned face though, there are endless variations in coloring and the shapes of each facial feature (eyes, eyebrows, lips, nose, etc.) that give rise to the distinctive appearance of each race and provide for endless variations in beauty that are as unique as each individual.The human face communicates an incredible array of emotions which are an integral element of one’s total beauty. The human face conforms most closely to phi proportions when we smile. You’ll be perceived as more beautiful with a warm smile than with a cold-hearted look of anger, arrogance or contempt.
Interestingly, symmetry in the face does not necessarily equate to beauty. Many, if not most, faces that are perceived as beautiful are usually not even close to being perfect in symmetry of the left and right sides. Perfect symmetry tends to result in a face that appears unnatural, animated or robot-like.
More importantly, the application of the golden ratio to beauty refers only to physical beauty, and that is only one element of what defines true beauty in humans. The saying “beauty is only skin deep” reflects this. Physical beauty is fleeting and passes with time. Other qualities of the mind and soul are the substance of true beauty. These include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, to quote from the Bible in Galatians 5:22-23. Our inner beauty is reflected in many ways, through our creative works, expressions of thought, compassion, friendship and acts of service for others. So while Hollywood and fashion magazines may trumpet physical beauty, true beauty in the human experience and the things that lead us to love and be loved are found in a beauty that runs much deeper, and that ultimately impacts physical beauty as well.