What Makes a Great Face?

Minka KellyEver wonder, what makes a great face?  This is a beauty topic that is often overlooked which is why I wanted to make this my opening post as I feel it is absolutely fundamental, especially in relationship to makeup artistry.

Of course it goes without saying that beauty is within the eye of the beholder, however; there are definitely universal characteristics that contribute to what is seen as most attractive.

Symmetry:  Aesthetically, symmetry is always more pleasing to the eyes.  Facial symmetry is a combination of the size/shape of features (eyes, nose, cheeks, and mouth) in relationship to each other along with its spacing within the face.

This is often highly based on genetics and I have always said that if a person naturally has great symmetry, makeup will always enhance what they have or for some, makeup may not even be a necessity because their features are already within balance with one another.

Definition:  I believe a face with definition is typically most attractive.  With definition, it mainly refers to defined cheekbones, eyes, and lips.  The good news is that makeup can define these areas significantly.  The softer the face (more round and less defined), the more makeup is needed to build up the definition to further bring out their natural features.  Whereas someone with natural definition would not need as much makeup or the face could begin to look too garish.

For cheekbones, that’s where contouring and highlighting comes in and truly enhances the face by making them more pronounced.  This is the ultimate goal.

Contrast:  Although this may seem very similar to the concept of definition, the idea of contrast is slightly different and applies mostly with the use of makeup.

In terms of natural contrast, I believe that contrasting features are most desirable.  Such as dark hair and light eyes or the opposite, blond hair and dark eyes.  (Yes, you read that correctly, I said dark eyes, not blue).  I know people often prize blond hair and blue eyes as well but I actually find blond hair and brown eyes just as captivating.  Why?  Due to the greater disparity of visual contrast when paired together.

Visual contrast can be created with the use of makeup.  Think about when a person rocks a smokey eye.  What typically is this look paired with in terms of choosing a lip color?  Usually a light color or something very neutral.  This is because the dark eyes contrast best with a lighter lip.  These are opposites and that is why this look is appealing.  The same goes with a red lip color.  Generally speaking, if someone wants to wear a red lipstick, to contrast this, the eyes would need to be much softer and neutral.  Otherwise, the face can look too overly done up.

As a makeup artist, when I am working with a bare canvas (or this case, a bare face), these are the fundamentals running in the back of my mind prior to product selection.  I will look at a face and strive to create all these things:  enhance facial symmetry, define the facial features, and create a look with visual contrast.


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