Angelina Jolie and Miranda Kerr have perfect puckers. Yes, well, we knew that, but a study conducted by researchers at the University of California has confirmed that women with a lower lip twice as big as the upper one have the most beautiful pouts.
A 1:2 ratio of upper to lower lip, with a full pout making up about 10 per cent of the lower third of the face, was deemed to be the most attractive, according to the study, which canvassed groups of men and women to assess the attractiveness of 160 pictures of white women’s faces.
The findings also came with a warning for women (and cosmetic injectors treating them) looking to enhance their pout artificially with dermal fillers but not observing the 1:2 lip ratio.
The researchers said women who increase the size of their lips by more than 50 per cent risk leaving their face looking out of proportion.
And it means the infamous “trout pout” – where the upper lip, especially, is disproportionately inflated – is definitely out if a woman is seeking to look younger, more attractive or desirable.
The trout pout is arguably the greatest casualty of the non-surgical rejuvenation revolution (using dermal fillers) of the past 20-something years.
In quest of lusher lips – that in anthropological terms signals youth, sensuality and fertility – many women have gone completely overboard, with comical or downright horrifying results.
“When you look at the anthropological history of the female body and sexuality, full lips signal not only sensuality, but being excited about having sex,” says Jamie Gordon, US anthropologist and cultural strategist.
“Much like how studies show that the higher your hip-to-waist ratio in some African tribal cultures, full lips can also make [women] seem more attractive.”
One 2010 study published in the journal Vision Research backs this up. The researchers experimented to see whether there’s an ideal facial feature arrangement.
“A woman who has large lips, suggesting a strong mating potential, with average length and width ratios will always be more attractive than a woman with narrow lips and average length and width ratios,” wrote the researchers.
Cosmetic physician Dr Irene Kushelew, vice-president of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery (ACCS) and who has medi-clinics in Darwin and Adelaide, says balance and proportion in the lips is crucial in keeping a natural as well as attractive look.
“The ideal of 1/3 : 2/3 [in facial proportions] approximates what is variously referred to as the Golden Mean, Golden Ratio or Phi Ratio that describes many naturally-occurring proportions found in nature,” Dr Kushelew says.
“In the field of cosmetic medicine, American surgeon Dr Stephen Marquardt studied these proportions in maxillofacial surgery – for instance, the width of the face to the length of the face; and the width of an eye equalling the distance between the eyes.
“The face can be divided into sections, some of which have ideal proportions, such as the length of the nose and length of the ear. Other examples include where the mouth and nose are in terms of distance between the eyes and from the chin.
“The trend lately to make ratios of upper to lower lip equal is less attractive as it does not conform to the Golden Ratio but is still gaining popularity.”
But Dr Brian Wong, a specialist in facial plastic surgery at the University of California, said women who do not have the “ideal” lip ratio should not despair: “Many attractive people do not have numerical measurements of attractiveness. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
The team hopes their findings, published in journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, will help cosmetic physicians and surgeons advise clients.