There are a few key factors that influence what facial features girls find attractive in guys. While preferences vary from person to person, there are some general trends that have been identified by research and surveys. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what science and polls have revealed about the types of faces, jawlines, and other physical traits that girls tend to find most appealing.
The ideal face shape
One of the most important elements that impacts facial attractiveness is the overall shape of the face. Numerous studies have found that girls tend to show a preference for male faces that are oval or rectangular in shape with a wide jawline and prominent chin area. Faces that are more rounded or square-shaped are generally considered less attractive by most women.
For example, a 2013 study published in Frontiers in Psychology had women rate computer-generated male faces that were manipulated to have different face shapes. The oval and rectangular faces received significantly higher attractiveness ratings than square faces.
Similarly, a study in the Journal of Comparative Psychology had women look at different face shapes ranging from very thin to very wide. Faces that were about 20% wider than they were long were seen as the most attractive.
There are a few potential explanations for why oval and rectangular face shapes tend to be preferred:
- They are closer to average. Average faces tend to be rated as more attractive, while very unusual or atypical faces are seen as less appealing.
- They are linked to higher testosterone levels during puberty which signals masculinity, strength, and genetic fitness.
- They provide an optimal balance between facial width and length which is aesthetically pleasing.
The importance of a masculine jaw
Related to facial shape, research has consistently shown that girls are drawn to more masculine, well-defined jaws and chins on men. Masculine jaw features like a square, angular jawline are seen as attractive because they are influenced by testosterone during puberty and signify strength and ruggedness.
Multiple studies using photogrammetry technology to objectively rate male faces have found that wider, more robust mandibles and chins raise attractiveness levels. Wider jaws make faces appear more masculine and dominant.
|Key Findings on Jaw Attractiveness
|Penton-Voak et al. 2001
|Faces with wider jaws were rated as more attractive
|Weston et al. 2007
|Faces were rated more attractive when chin width was increased
|Geniole et al. 2015
|Increasing jaw width increased perceived masculinity and attractiveness
However, there are diminishing returns, and extremely wide or square jaws are not seen as optimally attractive. The most appealing mandible shape appears to be somewhere between a rounded/narrow jaw and a very square-shaped jaw.
Eyes and gaze
Another facial feature that influences attractiveness is the appearance of the eyes. Generally, women prefer men who have relatively prominent eyebrows that create an intense, direct gaze effect.
Researchers have found that faces rated high in dominance have thicker, more frowning eyebrows. A strong, direct gaze shaped by the eyebrows conveys an alpha male vibe that girls tend to be instinctually responsive to.
In a 2014 stud, researchers had subjects look at photos of men’s faces and rate their attractiveness. Faces with lowered eyebrows over the eyes were consistently ranked as more handsome compared to neutral expressions.
Other studies using eye tracking technology reveal that women tend to spend more time gazing at the eye region on men’s faces they find appealing, especially lingering on the eyebrows.
Takeaways on eye attractiveness
- More prominent, frowning eyebrows increase attractiveness
- Intense, direct eye contact is appealing
- Females gaze more at the eyebrows on attractive male faces
Research has also highlighted the importance of facial symmetry in perceptions of attractiveness. When a face is symmetrical, it indicates that the individual has sound genetic health with less mutations and defects.
Men with more facial asymmetry, meaning one side of the face is different than the other, tend to be considered less desirable by females. Facial asymmetry signals poor genetic quality, risk of disease, or greater exposure to environmental stressors.
A 2007 study inEvolution and Human Behavior found that male faces that were more symmetrical were rated as more attractive by women participants. The symmetrical faces were also perceived as healthier than less symmetrical faces.
However, extremely high levels of symmetry can seem unnatural and also be seen as less attractive. Some minor asymmetry is normal and gives faces character. But in general, greater overall facial symmetry is preferred in potential mates.
Scientific research has shown that average facial features tend to be considered universally attractive. Average faces contain a blend of common facial proportions that are familiar and comfortable to viewers.
In a fascinating study on the role of averageness published in Evolution and Human Behavior, researchers created composite images of men’s faces by morphing together 32 or 64 faces. The composite images represented mathematically average faces. Women rated the composite faces as significantly more attractive compared to individual source faces.
Other studies using computer modeling have found the same preference for averages. Completely average faces might not turn heads, but they also don’t have features that would be perceived as unattractive extremes.
Why are average faces attractive?
- They indicate genetic diversity from blending many faces together
- Averages are more familiar and closer to what we consider “normal”
- Extreme features are more likely to be seen as flaws or defects
The subject of facial hair and beards has also been extensively studied in relation to attractiveness. Research results show a lot of variation in women’s preferences, but some general patterns have emerged.
In a large-scale 2013 study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, men with heavy stubble were rated as most attractive for short-term relationships. Men with full beards, light stubble, and clean-shaven faces were seen as less attractive for flings.
However, men with full beards were rated as most attractive for long-term relationships. This indicates that facial hair preferences may depend on the type of connection women are looking for.
Other studies have found that women prefer men with beards over clean-shaven men for serious relationships. And men with stubble or medium beard lengths are seen as more attractive than men with fully shaved or very long thick beards.
Some evidence also suggests that facial hair boosts perceptions of masculinity, social maturity, confidence and age.
Beard style attractiveness rankings
- Heavy stubble – most attractive for short-term relationships
- Full beard – most attractive for long-term relationships
- Light stubble
- Clean shaven
- Very long/thick beard – least attractive
While perceptions of facial attractiveness are complex, multidimensional, and subject to individual preferences, research has uncovered some general patterns in what facial features girls find appealing. An ideally attractive male face has an oval or rectangular shape, a wide jawline, intense gazing eyes with strong eyebrows, symmetrical features, some signs of averageness, and potentially some stubble or beard growth.
Strong jawlines, chins, eyebrows, and symmetrical features boost perceptions of masculinity and dominance which girls tend to instinctively gravitate towards. Understanding the science behind facial aesthetics can give guys useful insights into what physical traits might enhance their allure and draw more female attention.