Facial Analysis and the Beauty Mask

“Beauty is in the phi of the beholder.”

It has long been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and thought that beauty varies by race, culture or era.  The evidence, however, shows that our perception of physical beauty is hard wired into our being and based on how closely the features of one’s face reflect phi in their proportions.  The Golden Ratio appears extensively in the human face, as demonstrated in a 2009 university study on attractiveness and as illustrated by the video below of Florence Colgate, Britain’s “Most Perfect Face” of 2012, :

The image analysis shown in the video was done with
PhiMatrix Golden  Ratio Design and Analysis Software

But let’s take a deeper look yet at beauty based on analysis of the evidence.

A template for human beauty is found in phi and the pentagon

Dr. Stephen Marquardt has studied human beauty for years in his practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery.   Dr. Marquardt performed cross-cultural surveys on beauty and found that all groups had the same perceptions of facial beauty.  He also analyzed the human face from ancient times to the modern day.  Through his research, he discovered that beauty is not only related to phi, but can be defined for both genders and for all races, cultures and eras with the beauty mask which he developed and patented.  This mask uses the pentagon and decagon as its foundation, which embody phi in all their dimensions.  For more information and other examples, see his site at Marquardt Beauty Analysis.

The Marquardt Beauty Mask

Marquardt Beauty Mask - Asian, based on phi, the golden ratio Marquardt Beauty Mask - Black, based on phi, the golden ratio Marquardt Beauty Mask - Caucasian, based on phi, the golden ratio
Marquardt Beauty Mask - Nefertiti, Egypt, 1350 B.C. Marquardt Beauty Mask - Aspasia, Greek 500 B.C.
1350 B.C. Egypt500 B.C. Greece
Marquardt Beauty Mask - Lucille Verus, Roman 164 A.D. Marquardt Beauty Mask - Moulton, 1794 A.D.
164 A.D. Rome1794 A.D.

Click on the image below to watch an independently-created Youtube video showing the Marquardt Beauty Mask being applied in Photoshop with rather amazing results:


Details on applying the Marquardt Beauty Mask to your own photo can be found at “You and the Mask” page of his site, using the downloadable female masks shown with permission below. Click on image for full size version.

Variations and other factors in beauty

Even with a perfectly proportioned face though, there are endless variations in coloring and the shapes of each facial feature (eyes, eyebrows, lips, nose, etc.) that give rise to the distinctive appearance of each race and provide for endless variations in beauty that are as unique as each individual.The human face communicates an incredible array of emotions which are an integral element of one’s total beauty.  The human face conforms most closely to phi proportions when we smile.  You’ll be perceived as more beautiful with a warm smile than with a cold-hearted look of anger, arrogance or contempt.

Interestingly, symmetry in the face does not necessarily equate to beauty.  Many, if not most, faces that are perceived as beautiful are usually not even close to being perfect in symmetry of the left and right sides.  Perfect symmetry tends to result in a face that appears unnatural, animated or robot-like.

More importantly, the application of the golden ratio to beauty refers only to physical beauty, and that is only one element of what defines true beauty in humans.  The saying “beauty is only skin deep” reflects this.  Physical beauty is fleeting and passes with time.  Other qualities of the mind and soul are the substance of true beauty.  These include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, to quote from the Bible in Galatians 5:22-23.  Our inner beauty is reflected in many ways, through our creative works, expressions of thought, compassion, friendship and acts of service  for others.  So while Hollywood and fashion magazines may trumpet physical beauty, true beauty in the human experience and the things that lead us to love and be loved are found in a beauty that runs much deeper, and that ultimately impacts physical beauty as well.

Note:  The Marquardt Beauty Mask illustrations above are copyright 2001 by Dr. Stephen Marquardt at Marquardt Beauty Analysis and are used by permission.See also the page on Facial Beauty and the New Golden Ratio and the site at BeautyCheck.de.


  1. YuWu says

    The human beauty is depends on the viewer – not on the face or the object.
    I think the article is wrong in comparing Human Beauty to the Golden Ratio.

    • says

      It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and there is indeed some truth to this. Each of us is attracted to different features in others that we may consider beautiful. Furthermore, inner beauty is more important than physical beauty, and any of us will be perceived as more attractive with a kind smile than an angry sneer. All that said though, our perceptions of beauty are very definitely related to mathematical proportions found in the human form that are related to the golden ratio. People whose facial dimensions vary significantly from this ratio will be perceived by most to be unattractive or even deformed and grotesque. See other examples of the golden ratio in the human face and other pages in this section.

  2. blake says

    Where can I obtain a copy of the research? I am an undergrad doing research on facial expressions and beauty. Thanks!

  3. beauty schools in utah says

    Human beauty is defined by Phi, the Golden Ratio or Divine Proportion and found throughout the human face and forms.

  4. Shaka says

    Human beauty is within…perceptions, opinions are individualistic. Human form, The trees, plants and animals are defined by Phi and the golden ratio..beauty is a shallow idea of relevance…

    • says

      You are quite right, and I’ve added a closing paragraph to this article to bring focus to that wisdom. True beauty in all that we are means much more than physical beauty, and that should not be lost on any of us.

  5. Dr. Anthony Bared | Plastic Surgery Miami says

    I feel that beauty is in the eye of the beholder as well. Being that I am a Facial Plastic Surgeon I have a lot of patients that come in that are not satisfied with how they look. They want this perfect nose, or too have those larger lips but what they do not realize until i explain this to them is that you will never have a perfect outcome but imperfectivity is what creates beauty.

    • says

      With all due respect, that seems like a rather ambiguous and unsatisfactory answer, especially when Dr. Marquardt’s extensive research as a facial plastic surgeon provides very specific insight and measurable guides into what can be done to enhance one’s attractiveness. If it were really true that “imperfectivity creates beauty,” wouldn’t a face dive into an empty pool be just as effective as plastic surgery? Beauty doesn’t require absolute perfection, but imperfection can result in both attractiveness and the lack of it. Understanding what makes the difference is the key.

      • Lourdes says

        I think that there is truth to imperfections can be beautiful. Angelina Jolie for example has lips that at times look too big for the rest of her face, yet they stand out and look very attractive. Anne Hathaway is another example of someone with very big eyes but they are her most attractive feature, in my point of view.

  6. James says

    I am studying to be a marriage counselor. And I love philosophy, especially those around love and virtue. I’m currently using phi to understand the not equal balance of human life, virtue, and what I call creation formulas like the torus. I need to get in touch with someone else that thinks as I do, anyone willing, send me a fb message. Thanks.

  7. EpicElise says

    Everybody sees people different, that’s why only some people love one person. E.g imagine if i was mathematically beautiful, i would still look hideous to some people and irresistible to others. It doesn’t matter about being mathematically beautiful!!

    • says

      It’s true that anyone may be beautiful to someone in their own way, and for who they are. If we’re honest though, some people are far more beautiful than others, and there is mathematics in the proportions that create perceptions of beauty.

      • Lourdes says

        When it comes to physical beauty, some people have certain features that the majority of human beings find attractive(not everyone though). I am glad that personality and grace and chemistry play a big role in beauty. I have known beautiful people on the outside that after knowing them a little deeper, their beauty fades quickly;)

    • Gezzer says

      I personally feel that there’s a major difference between what and why we find something beautiful, and what and why we find something attractive, and it might be the reasons behind a lot of the disagreement on the question of beauty.
      I think beauty is simply one part of the equation for finding someone/something attractive. For example while we are hard wired to find an attractive mate we’re also hardwired to find a mate that is dissimilar to our close relatives, to prevent inbreeding. This is what often gives more exotic looking potential mates an advantage. So the more exotic one might not be considered as beautiful as the other but might still produce a powerful attraction anyway. It’s like there is an agreed upon base line for beauty but we then modify that base line by our own personal likes, dislikes, and motivators.
      Someone that is high energy and emotionally volatile by default might find heavy metal “beautiful”, while a person that is more sedate and emotionally gentle might fine classical more to their tastes. Or jazz vs folk, and so on.
      I remember a friend setting me up once and he said the girl was a “knock out” and she was, very, very pretty. And I knew it too, but for some reason I just didn’t feel any spark. But there was another girl who was really cute, but not as pretty, that I was really drawn too. What can I say I like rounder faces with a bit more body to them, but that’s me.

  8. Ziggy says

    Phi really does define beauty but what we individually think about beauty is an extension of this.
    Golden Ratio IS the base of all that is beautiful, we then add what we like within a very close envelope..

  9. owla says

    hey gary, im doing my project on the golden ratio and am using this site, is this information cited and safe to use? thank you and fantastic article!

  10. says

    The reason for this phenomenon is based on the secrets of the Masters of art, architecture, and energy, who kept this powerful knowledge hidden for thousands of years: The Golden Ratio (i.e., the Divine Ratio) and other sacred geometry emanate light, which clairvoyants have seen for thousands of years.

    This is precisely why da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting, a small and modest work of art, is the #1 painting in the world, drawing over 6 million visitors annually. When he created the portrait, da Vinci layered in so much hidden sacred geometry and other energetic principles into this work, that it emanates higher frequencies of light, which are measurable both qualitatively and quantitively.

    When these energetic principles are used in any work, architecture, or furnishing, people are drawn to it mysteriously, just as they are to runway models or the Mona Lisa painting.

    I use sacred geometry and other powerful subtle energy techniques in all of my work to harmonize energy, so that the homes and businesses I design and build not only look good, but FEEL good. The beneficial energy, which I call “Divine energy”, is healing and nurturing to all levels of our being…physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually…and can even reverse the aging process.

    Welcome to the new “green”.

  11. Nick says

    I disagree with your theory concerning beauty because no one actually has golden skin color so who the hell are we applying this ratio to….

  12. Aman says

    This is for the author.
    I understand that the golden ratio provides an objective definition on what beauty is. It is useful when we define beauty strictly based on physical appearance (I understand that what’s on the inside counts but lets be completely objective here). While being objective, I’ve noticed that universally many agree that people are attractive when they convey these proportions instilled in the golden ratio.

    Some would argue that objective beauty varies between cultures and time periods. And this leaves the question if we are genetically prone to gravitate toward the golden ratio or if the golden ratio is simply something that has been instilled via brainwashing and that is why we gravitate towards it today? In other words, in a cultural context, what some consider favourable features may vary between cultures and time periods and oh so conveniently here in north america we have come to find the golden ratio appealing. This is only because history has slowly gravitated towards it and perhaps in the next 100 years a big nose and a wide jaw may be the new envy and we’ll find new equations to scientifically explain it; perhaps we can call it the diamond ratio!

    If we have culturally derived the golden ratio rather than come to it based on genetic predispositions I challenge us to question beauty and to start training ourselves to value a crooked nose or a wide jaw. Perhaps by changing our cognitive processes using positive or negative reinforcement we can come to see everyone as drop dead gorgeous objectively. What a wonderful world this would be if beauty wasn’t known to be scarce but everywhere in equality.

    I encourage you to critique this.


  1. […] We may be hard wired to respond to this ratio. It is proportion that in combination with symmetry creates what we call beauty. Research has shown that cross culturally, through thousands of variations on the theme, humans find facial symmetry in relation to this Divine Proportion beautiful. Science has also discovered that facial symmetry is related to health. Genetic disturbances increase as asymmetry of the face increases. It is likely that our attraction to beauty has the biological goal of reproducing healthy offspring. Aside from architects using phi, an amazing surgeon named Dr. Stephen Marquardt created what he calls a “Beauty Mask.” The mask is combination of geometrical shapes using the phi ratio that depicts ideal beauty. You can see this mask in this ARTICLE. […]

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