It‘s annoying. We are permanently bombarded with beautiful bodies and superlunary faces. Every single day in our life. Everywhere. In films, on the internet, in television shows, on the billboards, in glossy magazines.
Supermodels on cover images look fantastic, let‘s admit it. But let‘s also admit that it can‘t only be the grace of nature giving them that look. It‘s hard work as well. For both models and graphic designers – who edit the images after every shoot! Each fashion photo is a retouched photo. The result: supernatural beauty.
Not every model, actor or society person has always great looking skin. At least not every day. Make-up with questionable ingredients, spotlights, stress and the permanent pressure to be perfect are afflicting even the skins of ‘professional‘ beauties.
So pimples, hyper pigmentation and irregularities are covered up with makeup, then wiped out by overexposing during the shoot. After that Photoshop comes into play. Blur filters, layer blending options and special tools do a great job to even out skin tone. But not only faces are retouched – arms and legs are idealized as well to become even more more skinny! Scary, isn‘t it?
That‘s why almost everything we “see“ is an illusion. But surely you knew about it!
Re-shaped Noses, Inflated Lips
The editing of a cover photo takes almost a whole day: evening out skin tone, whitening teeth and making the eyes glow are part of the standard repertoire. Then it comes to our little defects. A bulbous nose is idealized, the chin shortened, the lips inflated, a slightly asymmetrical eye is drawn into the right shape (usually a larger one). The eyebrows are drawn up, the hairline is set down.
You see? Every one of us could be qualified to be on a magazine cover!
Just have a glance at my photo from the time I had acne (maybe that‘s the unhappy look on that picture!). I have a few spots, patchy skin and hyper-pigmentation marks, although I was wearing makeup that day.
And the other photo on the right?
You want to know the truth? I don‘t know that girl! I just spent 10 minutes with Photoshop to remove spots and “defects“ from my own face. The result is a doll-like portrait, maybe a little waxy (and graveyard-like!). It’s quite impressive what you can squeeze out of this program, and I didn’t even pull out all the stops here – or too many of them, depending on your taste.
The work of a graphic designer should never be conspicuous: if a place and a model were photographed separately for example, no one should notice it. For reasons of cost-efficiency, today many fashion or advertising companies don‘t let their models and photographers fly to the original sites any more. Instead, the model – maybe a jogger – is included into a picture from the Grand Canyon later in the studio. Retouchers assemble these images. Or create an entire landscape or virtual environment on the computer.
The final picture is an artificial creation.
What Does a Beautiful Face Look Like?
It is always fascinating: everyone seems to know exactly what beauty is – but hardly anyone can explain it! Why is a pretty face pretty? Is it the eyes? The nose? The hair around the face? Or the flawless skin tone?
In fact, flawless skin seems to be a very important criterion for beauty. For both sexes.
So what‘s the heck? Please don‘t get up right now to check the mirror! Don‘t spend your precious time touching and picking your face! I happened to be an addicted face-picker myself! I know, every kind of skin problem is brutal for your self esteem. We always tend to imagine our skin flaws are a lot more obvious to others than they really are. To everyone else, we are most probably just a normal looking girl or guy and our problems are hardly noticeable to others. Tell that to yourself! I know, it‘s not easy. Not at all. But just keep on telling it to yourself! Every single minute.
So are there other – objective – characteristics for beauty?
Yes, averageness! You don‘t really want to be mediocre, do you? Read on!
Researchers found out that the more different faces have been fused together on a computer to become a single (virtual) face, the more attractive it has been rated by test persons. However, unfortunately this is not the whole truth: if not all faces from the computer database were mixed with each other, but only the attractive ones, the resulting image was usually judged even more attractive than the mere average of all faces. That‘s the research.
However, there is no reason to get upset! We are talking about computer simulations! Nobody has such an “average“ face. Luckily, we are no product of data calculation. Nobody of us. Every one of us has personal flaws and defects. Everyone! There are no exceptions. Each one of us is unique. And that’s good, isn‘t it?
In addition, research on facial attractiveness has pointed out that the presence of childlike facial features increases attractiveness: a large head, a large curved forehead, facial elements (eyes, nose, mouth) located relatively low, large and round eyes, a small and short nose, round cheeks and a small chin.
Advertising retouchers just make use of this typical pattern. Important is the dosage of these features. For most of us, beautiful people seem to be a mix of adult and childlike aspects, for example pronounced cheekbones along with a rather small chin.
Everyone is beautiful in his own particular way!
I‘m really sure that each and every one of you is beautiful. Every one of you can be a wonderful person if you want to be. Every one of you can get that internal glow that will make you appear something special to others – even if you have a problem skin, seborrheic eczema, acne, perioral dermatitis, neurodermatitis, whatever. Show who you are!
Make yourself compliments! And accept compliments from others!
You ARE beautiful!
If you want to learn more about research on this subject, go to this website (and ignore those pop-up ads!): Beauty Check – University of Regensburg, Germany. You can also participate in online “experiments“.
So how do you feel about it? Do you feel beautiful, ugly, average? What does it depend on? The day, your mood, a compliment, your boyfriend, makeup? Please be awesome and leave a comment!
© images by Svea