January 12, 2014

Human Beauty and the Golden Ratio


“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 one’s features 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

Phimatrix Golden Ratio Design Software

But let’s take a deeper look yet at beauty through the eyes of medical science.

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
Asian Black Caucasian
Marquardt Beauty Mask - Nefertiti, Egypt, 1350 B.C. Marquardt Beauty Mask - Aspasia, Greek 500 B.C.
1350 B.C. Egypt 500 B.C. Greece
Marquardt Beauty Mask - Lucille Verus, Roman 164 A.D. Marquardt Beauty Mask - Moulton, 1794 A.D.
164 A.D. Rome 1794 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:

Marquardt Beauty Mask Photoshop Revision

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.

Marquardt Beauty Mask Female Repose FrontalMarquardt Beauty Mask Female Repose Lateral

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

Be Sociable. Share the Phi-nomenon!

Leave a Comment

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

YuWu September 20, 2012 at 3:35 am

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.


Gary Meisner September 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm

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.


Andrea January 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm

I completely agree! It’s really cool, but I think the beauty thing is a bit of a stretch!


Priscilla m, Norris February 9, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Amazing information and stats. Great artist lesson. Cheers!


blake October 29, 2012 at 1:03 am

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


Gary Meisner October 29, 2012 at 10:17 pm

See for the site and research of Dr. Stephen Marquardt on facial beauty.


beauty schools in utah January 15, 2013 at 10:15 am

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


Shaka January 21, 2013 at 4:23 am

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


Gary Meisner January 26, 2013 at 11:35 am

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.


Pisos Laminados January 22, 2013 at 4:37 am

I had an idea that the golden ratio was related to beauty, but I did not realize that the relationship was so simple.


beauty schools in utah May 25, 2013 at 10:31 am

Cosmetology involves several specialties dealing with beauty. There are various occupations that a cosmetologist can apply themselves.


X July 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Beauty may not really be in the eye of the beholder.

watch this and see:


Dr. Anthony Bared | Plastic Surgery Miami August 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm

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.


girish tr August 10, 2013 at 7:10 am

golden ratio is universal ratio it is implecated from microbes to humen plants insects animals even non living creatures


James September 27, 2013 at 2:39 pm

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.


James Convey December 13, 2013 at 6:26 am



Priscilla m, Norris February 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm

We all see differently. A great art lesson.


Augie Albers March 10, 2014 at 9:53 am

This article is completely astonishing. OMG!


ibby1995 March 24, 2014 at 7:44 am

this mask fits me like a glove, of course i do have top tier Indian genetics though


{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: