Though sometimes beauty is in the eye of the beholder there must be certain physical traits that humans consistently find attractive. What are these physical beauty traits for women in modern developed countries? An example is large eyes. Ethnicity or country of origin doesn't matter. Provide your sources if possible.

  • $\begingroup$ Just a nitpicky comment - in Biology laws are not really existent; Mendel's 'laws' are not laws, as they are subject to random mutations. The perfect ratios of red:pink:white flowers = 0.25:0.5:0.25 never turn out to be true. Let alone psychology :) No laws to be found in this realm. The only law being there are none. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jun 8 '16 at 21:52

There is an excellent paper at Evolutionary considerations of facial attraction which you may find useful. Neoteny is also a useful discussion.

My off the cuff summary would be that humans do appear to have retained much of their juvenile characteristics in comparison with other primates. Across cultures female faces with more neoteny (more childlike) are considered more attractive. As a general rule, the less masculine, the more feminine, so you can negate the masculine markers, i.e., larger jawbones, more prominent cheekbones, thinner cheeks, to increase femininity perception. That would, of course, include less facial hair, since that is a general neoteny character that would be more attractive. My recollection of several studies of so-called "baby face ratings" might pertain also, in that larger eyes, more prominent eyebrows, smaller chin, are typically perceived as innocent or less threatening, so I would guess that would also fall into the normal feminine perception category.

In general terms, symmetric faces are more attractive (right hand left hand comparison on the midline), so that would apply to women also. Averageness, surprisingly, is also more attractive, in that the more closely a face resembles the majority of faces is perhaps a sign that the person is less likely to have deletrious alleles. Facial averageness seems to be associated with medical health. Skin color is also a measure of perceived health. Typically pallor is perceived as possible illness. Texture of facial skin is a marker, smoother being more attractive.

There is an interesting paper Cosmetics as Extended Phenotype that examines how cosmetics may be used to exaggerate cues to sexual dimorphism. Another paper, Face is not an empty canvas discusses how the morphology of faces is more desirable when it tends to heighten the expected emotions for the particular sex role, for example, the rounded baby face with larger eyes is perceived as more approachable and warm and more feminine generally. Finally, this article Aspects of Facial Contrast Decrease with Age and are Cues for Age Perception discusses how aspects like wrinkling and loss of luminance contrast between the eyes and surrounding skin and the lips and surrounding skin increases the perception of aging and decreases the attractiveness of female faces.


Attractiveness has shown to be related to symmetry. A study that used a computer to simulate perceptive systems showed that a visual system designed to recognize an object from multiple positions would most quickly identify symmetrical figures. (Enquist, 1994) In addition, some research suggests that familiarity, attraction, and preference have been shown to operate on similar mechanisms. (Reber, et al)


Enquist, Magnus, and Anthony Arak. “Symmetry, Beauty and Evolution.” Nature 372.6502 (1994): 169–172. Web.

Reber et al., Processing fluency and aesthetic pleasure: Is beauty in the perceiver's processing experience? Personality and Social Psychology Review ( 2004);


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