What is beauty? Although we can usually easily point out what we consider to be beautiful (or not) in our own subjective perspective, can we describe what actually defines beauty? What parameters decide what “contains” beauty or not, what makes someone attractive or what characteristics define a memorable sunset rather than any other? Beauty, although considered a ‘subject concept’ is been under serious discussion all over the world, over the years and over a number of media platforms. In the midst of all this fuss, some very clever minds seem to have found, in Maths, a concrete and rational (as only Maths could provide) answer to this million dollar question. Behold, the Golden Ratio. The Golden Ratio (also known has the Divine proportion, the Golden Section and other glamorous names of the kind) refers to the numeric value of 1.6180339887…, obtained when the sum of two values is equal to the ratio of the biggest value divided by the smallest. Equation below for a more clear idea: (image of equation – Wikipedia)

PhD’s in Applied Maths aside, what seemed very interesting about this proportion to intellectuals who studied this mathematical value (like Euclid, Pythagoras, Leonardo da Vinci or Roger Penrose) is that this proportion seems to be found in everything and anything in the world, from nature, to ancient architecture (like the Pyramids), to music, to…human physical features. According to some of these intellectuals, the presence of determined proportions in the human face that reflect measures based on the golden ratio, would be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Although Luca Pacioli  is thought to be the first to apply the Golden Ratio to the idea of aesthetic perfection, merged with religious significance, in his book De Divina Proportione of 1509; it is attributed to a contemporary plastic surgeon, Dr. Stephen Marquardt, the creation of the Golden Decagon Mask, a model of proportions between features (distance between eyes, upper size of the face compared to lower, distance from eye to lip, distance from the tip of the nose to year, etc…) which is thought to define what a “perfect” face is.

The Golden Decagon Mask varies slightly for women and men. Here, example of application of the mask for both.
See the video below to see how it works:

This concept has apparently been taken really seriously in the aesthetic industry, so much that in 2012 , the contest “Britain’s Perfect Face” selected a winner based on this concepts of proportion and symmetry, using them as a justified explanation of “beauty”.

Software programs and internet applications have been created and made available to the common user, so that you can, using a picture of your face, compare it to the mask and obtain your percentage of compliance to beauty: http://appcrawlr.com/ios-apps/best-apps-golden-ratio. Now… the reality check. As demonstrated by the video above, some features seem to be more attractive when they are proportional, with symmetry playing an important role in our perception of beauty. Aesthetic Physicians and Plastic/Cosmetic Surgeons do base their work in these concepts and many like to use a strict set of measures and professional models to advise their patients on what would result in the best outcome of their procedures and treatments, matching their expectations. But it is also to note that many studies performed to confirm presence of the golden ratio in nature or human manifestations (mentioned above) have resulted in inconclusive or even unconfirmed results. In the video above, while the image of the blond lady is being applied to the mask, photoshop is also used to even the texture and tone of her skin, creating nicer curves of hair and making her lips more red and juicy… Beauty is still in the eye of the beholder. If a good skin tone and full lips are normally perceived as attractive features, an unexpected detail, even one that is normally considered a small flaw, can only add to the uniqueness of your face. Respect your unique features that give character to your expression, even when you choose your aesthetic or cosmetic procedures. Being yourself is what really makes you beautiful. Agree? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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