Why High Cheekbones Are Considered More Attractive

There are certain facial traits that are known to be attractive. Youthful skin? Yes, please. Pearly white teeth? Shine on! Yes, when it comes to often-celebrated features, a mention of high cheekbones always pops up. Here's why that high, chiseled facial look is so desired.

Of course, beauty is subjective. People have different tastes, backgrounds, and cultural influences helping them form their opinions on what is considered attractive. That is why we were intrigued when the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology reported a study that was done to see what features were considered universally beautiful. The study was conducted by a group of sociologists who collected pictures of a diverse group of women of Caucasian, Hispanic, African, Eastern European, and Australian backgrounds. They then asked a varied group of 20,000 people from all over the world and found that high cheekbones were a defining appearance feature in the group of women who were listed as the most beautiful.

High cheekbones are indicators of high estrogen levels and youthfulness

The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology reported in that same study that the researchers found high cheekbones to be an indicator of high estrogen levels in women. It was also reported that no matter where you are from, high cheekbones are a sign of youthfulness. Both youthfulness and high estrogen levels are components some men gravitate towards when looking for a partner.

Going further into the science and fertility perspective, Bustle claims that high cheekbones are directly linked to a sign of sexual maturity. As a woman's baby face thins out and matures over time, it is a sign that she is capable of reproducing. This explanation works as to why high cheekbones on men is an attractive trait as well. A man's cheekbones become a more dominant facial trait when their testosterone starts to surge around puberty.

Luckily for us all, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and we can still be incredibly beautiful without having skyscraper cheekbones. They are just one of a hundred plus features that make us attractive.

High cheekbones are associated with trustworthiness

Having high cheekbones may lead others to view you as trustworthy. A study conducted by researchers from New York University and Dartmouth College found that the initial perceptions we make about the traits others possess are conducted largely outside of conscious awareness (per New York University). Researchers determined that the brain's amygdala, which plays a key role in emotional and social regulation, responds to the faces of people with high cheekbones by making correlations that those people are trustworthy. Participants in the study were shown images of both real people and computer-generated faces, then asked to discern which faces looked more trustworthy. 

In addition to participants consistently choosing faces with high cheekbones as being more trustworthy, faces with higher inner eyebrows were also identified as trustworthy. In contrast, participants identified faces with shallow cheekbones as less trustworthy. Obviously, whether or not you win the genetic lottery doesn't automatically determine if you're a trustworthy person, but the study concluded that our amygdalae play a larger role in making initial social assessments of other people than we may realize. In fact, it takes just 33 milliseconds for the amygdala to make a judgment of someone's trustworthiness (via Medical Daily). The takeaway is that our brains may be quick to judge a book by its cover, or a face by its cheekbones, so we need to make conscious efforts to get to know people beyond the snap judgment our amygdalae try to make for us.

Cosmetic procedures to achieve high cheekbones

Like many features deemed attractive, there are plenty of cosmetic procedures that can give you the appearance of high cheekbones. The options range from DIY makeup tips and tricks to highlight your cheekbones to plastic surgery involving undergoing general anesthesia, reports Healthline. Makeup hacks for creating the look of high cheekbones include contouring with bronzer, highlighter, or blush to create lines that can give your face a narrow look. Tutorials available on social media can show you how to create shadows and a concave impression to give the facade of having higher cheekbones.

A level above makeup is the use of dermal fillers to provide the appearance of emphasized and higher cheekbones (per Healthline). Dermal fillers involve injecting solutions including collagen and hyaluronic acid into the face, which can mimic high cheekbones while also decreasing fine lines and wrinkles for up to three months. Since both collagen and hyaluronic acid are naturally occurring substances in the body, the injected concentrations are eventually absorbed by the body over time and the procedure will have to be repeated to maintain results.

A permanent solution is getting cheek implants, a surgical option involving fat grafting or the insertion of solid silicone into the face. Sometimes referred to as cheek lifts, you will be placed under general anesthesia as a plastic surgeon performs the procedure. The recovery from cheek implants can be extended and difficult. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends trying dermal fillers before cheek implants.