analysis of hairline aesthetics
cisgender hairline differences
transgender hairline modification

Journal Club: Analysis of Hairline Aesthetics

Written by: Paul Mittermiller
Publication date: 7/10/2023

An interesting study on the aesthetics of hairlines in cisgender celebrities was recently released by Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Global Open (PRS GO).1

In this study, the authors reviewed 30 white female and 30 white male celebrities to look at the differences in their hairlines. Of note, they found that central forehead height was similar between the two groups, but that there was a greater difference in the lateral aspects (sides) of the foreheads. The attractive women had narrower foreheads and lower hairlines towards the sides in comparison to the attractive males.

Typically, men have an M-shaped hairline and the authors state that traditionally, women were thought to have a round hairline. In their study, they suggest that female hairlines are more complex, with 81% having a widow’s peak, 98% having lateral temporal mounds, and 64% having cowlicks.

The authors use a clever method for determining absolute distances based on photographs. They look at the white-to-white corneal diameter and equate that to the average distance, which is 11.71mm +/- 0.042mm in white subjects.

The subjects they chose were based on GQ magazine’s “Highest Paid Models” issue, individuals found on the covers of People Magazine’s “Beautiful” issues, and celebrities on lifestyle websites. These individuals are listed below:

The female celebrities in our study were Liv Tyler, Charlize Theron, Uma Thurman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Hilary Swank, Gisele Bundchen, Drew Barrymore, Mila Kunis, Ginnifer Goodwin, Charlotte Church, Hayden Panettier, Demi Lovato, Keira Knightley, Olivia Wilde, Demi Moore, Katie Holmes, Anna Kendrick, Ashley Greene, Kim Raver, Reese Witherspoon, Cheryl Cole, Ashley Graham, Bella Hadid, Catherine Zeta Jones, Christina Applegate, Jennifer Garner, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Kendall Jenner, and Gigi Hadid.

The male celebrities in our study were Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum, Chris Hemsworth, David Beckham, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mel Gibson, Arthur Kulkov, David Gandy, Jon Kortajarena, Sean O’Pry, Tobias Sorenson, Noah Mills, Ollie Edwards, Paul Rudd, Ryan Burns, Ryan Reynolds, Simon Nessman, Tom Cruise, Tyson Ballou, Chris Evans, Johnny Depp, Hugh Jackman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Pierce Brosnan, and Brad Pitt.

Their study discovered a greater overall facial height and width between the men and women in the study, which has previously been noted. Surprisingly, they did not find a statistically significant difference between the central forehead height between the two study groups. The women had an average central forehead height of 5.86cm (+/- 0.59) and the men had an average central forehead height of 5.77cm (+/-7.32). Of note, the variation between male forehead heights centrally was significantly greater than that for women. This value of 7.32cm seems excessive and may actually be a typo (7.32mm?). That will have to be confirmed with the journal.

One of the main findings of the study looks at the lateral forehead height above the peak of the lateral brow. In women, they found this height to be 4.34cm (+/-0.80) and for men it was 5.55cm (+/-0.77). The superior forehead width was also statistically significantly different with women having a superior width of 8.96cm (+/-0.64) and men having a superior forehead width of 9.52cm (+/-0.92).

The authors also used their data to evaluate how well their study population aligned with the neoclassical canon for the rule of horizontal facial thirds. This canon states that the idea ratio of forehead height to facial height should be 1/3. Stated differently, the ratio of facial height to forehead height should be 3. In the female population, the ratio of facial height to forehead height was found to be 3.13 and in the male population, it was found to be 3.38. This means the male population upper third was greater than the ideal ratio. The female population upper third was greater than ideal, but closer to the canonical value.

A significant qualification of this study is that it looked at white celebrities, so it is only applicable to a subset of the overall population. These celebrities are also relatively young with the male population having an average age of 31 (range 18-46) and the female population having an average age of 29 (range 20-40).

Dr. Mittermiller is a specialty trained plastic surgeon who primarily operates in the Los Angeles area. He is passionate about craniofacial surgery, gender-affirming surgery, and rhinoplasty.

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  1. 1. Salinas CA, Liu A, Sharaf BA (2023) Analysis of Hairline and Forehead Sexual Dimorphic Aesthetics in 60 Celebrities Using Artificial Intelligence. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open 11 (7):e5107. doi:10.1097/GOX.0000000000005107

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