The Human Face and the Golden Ratio

The human face is based on Phi and Golden Ratio proportions.

The human face abounds with examples of the Golden Ratio, also known as the Golden Section or Divine Proportion.  We’ll use a succession of golden ratios to create a golden ruler to understand design in the face:

Golden Ruler Building Blocks based on phi, the golden ratio, of each dimension

"The Golden Ruler" a Golden Ratio Measuring Stick based on Phi by Gary Meisner

The head forms a golden rectangle with the eyes at its midpoint. The mouth and nose are each placed at golden sections of the distance between the eyes and the bottom of the chin. The beauty unfolds as you look further.

George Clooney, as an illustration of phi or golden ratio proportions in the human face

Even when viewed from the side, the human head illustrates the Divine Proportion.The first golden section (blue) from the front of the head defines the position of the ear opening. The successive golden sections define the neck (yellow), the back of the eye (green) and the front of the eye and back of the nose and mouth (magenta).  The dimensions of the face from top to bottom also exhibit the Divine Proportion, in the positions of the eye brow (blue), nose (yellow) and mouth (green and magenta).

Phi, the golden ratio or Divine proportion in the key dimensions of a human facial profile

Human beauty is based on the Divine Proportion

See the photo below which illustrates the following golden ratio proportions in the human face:

  • Center of pupil : Bottom of teeth : Bottom of chin
  • Outer & inner edge of eye: Center of nose
  • Outer edges of lips : Upper ridges of lips
  • Width of center tooth : Width of second tooth
  • Width of eye : Width of iris
Beauty and proportion in human face showing phi and golden ratio
The photo below is from a 2009 University study on perceptions of attractiveness, and also illustrates a variety of golden ratio proportions in the images chosen as most attractive by study participants:
Human face - new golden ratio and actual beauty proportions
In the photo below, note the following golden ratio proportions that appear throughout the human face using the golden ruler above.
  • The blue line defines a perfect square of the pupils and outside corners of the mouth.
  • The golden section of these four blue lines defines the nose, the tip of the nose, the inside of the nostrils, the two rises of the upper lip and the inner points of the ear.
  • The blue line also defines the distance from the upper lip to the bottom of the chin.
  • The yellow line, a golden section of the blue line, defines the width of the nose, the distance between the eyes and eye brows and the distance from the pupils to the tip of the nose.
  • The green line, a golden section of the yellow line defines the width of the eye, the distance at the pupil from the eye lash to the eye brow and the distance between the nostrils.
  • The magenta line, a golden section of the green line, defines the distance from the upper lip to the bottom of the nose and several dimensions of the eye.

The golden ratio face calculator grid:

You get an actual measure of golden ratio proportion and beauty using the golden ratio face calculator that is included in PhiMatrix golden ratio design software:

PhiMatrix golden ratio face calculator grid

PhiMatrix provides transparent grids that can be applied to any image in any other software.  In the golden ratio face grid shown above, it uses phi, or golden ratio proportions to identify the key dimensions of the human face.  It has a free two week trial and is available for Windows and Mac.

Note that the PhiMatrix golden ratio circles grid can be used to identify golden ratio proportions in the human eye:

Human eye showing golden ratio proportions

Even the dimensions of our teeth are based on phi

The front two incisor teeth form a golden rectangle, with a phi ratio in the heighth to the width.The ratio of the width of the first tooth to the second tooth from the center is also phi.The ratio of the width of the smile to the third tooth from the center is phi as well.Visit the site of Dr. Eddy Levin for more on the Golden Section and Dentistry.


    • says

      That’s subject to debate. A naturalistic viewpoint would say that it’s simply the most efficient way for growth to occur. A theistic viewpoint would say that it’s the result of God’s design for beauty and harmony throughout creation. It does seem though that the golden ratio appears in some aspects of the human form where there is no purpose other than for its beauty, and our perception of it.

      • Robert Pagacik says

        Would like to know, if there is even an psychological/psychosocial and brain-activity corellation … would be quite interesting to hawe an entire city and its life day-circle based on this an its effects on the human population.

  1. mansi gandhi says

    it is a Wow website
    i am in 8th standard and i understood it very easily
    seriously it has been very helpful to me

  2. Muhammad Akram says

    this shows that we are bound to universe’s calculation. what we see is what our brain shows us. we can’t escape this truth

  3. Kevin says

    Is there anything in the design or mechanics of the brain that might follow this golden rule? I am very much interested in all aspects of this.

    • says

      Here’s an article on the golden mean as clock cycle of brain waves The abstract says the principle of information coding by the brain seems to be based on the golden ratio. Psychologists have claimed memory span to be the missing link between psychometric intelligence and cognition. By applying Bose–Einstein-statistics to learning experiments, a fit was foundn by Pascual-Leone correlating predicted and tested span. Multiplying span by mental speed (bits processed per unit time) and using the entropy formula for bosons, we obtain the same result. If we apply span as the quantum number n of a harmonic oscillator, we obtain this result from the EEG. The metric of brain waves can always be understood as a superposition of n harmonics times 2Φ, where half of the fundamental is the golden mean Φ (=1.618) as the point of resonance. Such wave packets scaled in powers of the golden mean have to be understood as numbers with directions, where bifurcations occur at the edge of chaos, i.e. 2Φ=3+φ3.


      • Lloyd says

        Too me it replicates our progression through life.. As our Experiences build, our conclusions of those experiences will also build. One experience plus another experience will bring us to a conclusion/understanding (2) and life goes on.

        Destiny perhaps?

  4. angelo magdaong says

    a perfect phi, if i’ll just study the golden ratio of the face, i can draw a face mathematically!!!

      • Stefan Miller says

        what i dont understand is the images of the front portrait and the apparent sizes of teeth – these images are taken face on, the teeth are in a curve and should be measured as such, individually not as a 2d face image – i just get the feeling that some images are made to fit the “golden rule”.

        • says

          The measurement from the front though is the view that is actually seen when viewed by another person. The golden ratios from that perspective are the basis for the studies of Dr. Eddy Levin in asthetics in cosmetic dentistry which are taught at numerous dental schools. Not everyone’s teeth conform to the golden ratio in this way, but teeth that do are in harmony with the idealized dimensions of overall facial proportions that are perceived by most people as more beautiful.

    • Gary Meisner says

      That distance is simply based on a line from the point on each side of the face at which the ears meet the face. The golden ratio of that line, or any line, is its length divided by 1.618.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *