The Aesthetic Guide is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Female lip aesthetic

Article-Female lip aesthetic

For the average face, the ideal Caucasian female lip dimensions are a 1:2 ratio of upper to lower lip, and a roughly 50% enhancement in total lip surface area, according to findings in a recent article published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

“Research in facial attractiveness is difficult because of the inherent subjectivity of rating,” lead author Natalie Popenko, MS, a third-year medical student at Chicago Medical School, tells Cosmetic Surgery Times

“Most people can look at a face and instinctively tell you whether that face is attractive or not, by subconsciously picking up on biologic cues like fertility, coloration and proportions,” she says.

The researchers used synthetic morph frontal digital images of the faces of 20 white women, ages 18 to 25 years, to generate five varied lip surfaces for each face. These 100 faces were cardinally ranked by attractiveness.

Later, four variants for each of the 15 highest-ranked faces were created, for a total of 60 faces. The upper to lower lip ratio for each of these 60 faces were then rated by attractiveness by internet focus groups (428 participants).   

Co-author Brian Wong, M.D., PhD, a professor and head of facial plastic surgery at the University of California, Irvine, says that relating upper lip surface area to lower lip surface area “is a rather crude measure, but it is also very telling.”

The investigators described the average face as one in which facial features are all well-proportioned to each other. “As they are renowned worldwide for their facial attractiveness, I think the Victoria’s Secret models can be easily compared,” Ms. Popenko says.

Image measuring software was used to measure a few accessible profile images. “Models Alessandra Ambrosio and Miranda Kerr fit the 1:2 ratio well,” Ms. Popenko observes. “However, their counterparts Doutzen Kroes and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley fit a 1:1 ratio, which goes to show that whole faces are greater than the sum of their parts.”

NEXT: Unique, Not Calculated


Unique, Not Calculated

Attractiveness can also be defined by facial features that are unique, “even if they do not fit the ideal calculated ratios,” Ms. Popenko says.

She hopes that the findings will enhance the research-based guidelines used by physicians who perform lip fillers and other aesthetic alterations.

Dr. Wong tells Cosmetic Surgery Times that the effect the ideal female lip aesthetic has on facial attractiveness is open-ended. “It is hard to logically make a connection, as the sum of the whole is generally greater than the parts.”

Dr. Wong notes that some people “are incredibly attractive, although piecemeal quantitative (classic) analysis would suggest otherwise,” citing the well-known example of actor Julia Roberts.

Dr. Wong is not surprised by any of the study’s findings, but he is astonished that physicians “continue to violate these rubrics with over-injection.”

Facial attractiveness research is probably heading into a quantitative phase, according to Dr. Wong. “Methods such as deep learning will

eventually better elucidate the sciences of beauty,” he says. “But for now, facial attractiveness remains steadfast in the eyes of the beholder.

Research, as always, is aimed at knowing the mind of God, so to speak.”

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.