It turns out we do judge books by their cover but now we can change our cover.
People form impressions of your personality and attractiveness with just one glance at your face. These impressions are amazingly consistent between people and even when found to be inaccurate, can be difficult to shake later. Decisions made based on first impressions have a major impact on our lives, affecting how we interact with others, who we hire, who we help, and who we date. Luckily, esthetic treatments can help us project the traits we desire.
It’s no secret that being considered attractive comes with many perks. People assume that attractive individuals are more intelligent, competent, and honest than less attractive people. Attractive individuals get more job interviews, make more money, get more promotions, & get away more with unethical behaviors.
Other personality traits with social implications that we almost instantaneously infer from the appearance of a stranger’s face include competence, sociability, and honesty.
People who have strong jawlines, square chins, low brows, and wide cheeks are assumed to be powerful, competent leaders and are more likely to be CEOs of large, successful companies. Not surprisingly, these features are considered masculine. Even though competent-looking CEOs are not necessarily better at their jobs, they’re more likely to get paid more. Military cadets who look more dominant are more likely to achieve higher ranks and trustworthy-looking people are more likely to get loans and get them with a lower interest rate.
People with faces that have high inner brows (forming an almost surprised expression), a soft jawline, a narrow or rounded chin, and full cheeks are assumed to be approachable and honest.
Feminine faces are smaller, and have larger eyes and cheeks, fuller lips, and less prominent brows, compared to faces considered masculine. Not surprisingly, people with more feminine features are perceived as more trustworthy than people with masculine faces.
Other facial features that are associated with assumed personality traits are skin texture and the presence of skin blemishes. A study that compared subjects’ reactions to photos of people with smooth skin or blemishes found that the photos of people with blemishes were rated lower on the inferred qualities of trustworthiness, competence, maturity, attractiveness, and health. Not surprisingly but sad nonetheless, photos of people with skin blemishes were also perceived as less attractive.
One of the strongest determinants of the impression made by faces is the hint of emotional expression, even when their face is relaxed. When someone’s face has slightly upturned mouth corners or crow’s feet, they’re perceived as happy, warm, and trustworthy, whereas someone with a downturned mouth, lines between their brows, and lowered brows is perceived as angry or intense.
Luckily, research shows that cosmetic facial treatments that can alter contours, features, perceived expressions, and/or smooth the skin, can improve the first impression a person makes. Which of the men in the photos below would you be more likely to hire to teach elementary school?
Impression management with injectable esthetic treatments can make dramatic differences in the personality traits suggested by an individual’s face. Perpetual frown lines, low-lying brows, or a downturned mouth that imply unhappiness or anger can be improved with treatments like Botox. Dermal fillers can erase dark under-eye circles or lift flattened cheeks to make someone look rested, healthy, younger, and more energetic.
People who want to appear more dominant can enhance their jawlines and chins and lower their brows and those who want to look more trustworthy can raise their brows, enhance their cheeks, and round off their chins. The strategic placement of injectable fillers can also help masculinize or feminize a face as desired.
A study where independent viewers rated photos of faces before and after they’d undergone a combination of injectable esthetic treatments found that the subjects in the post-treatment photos were not only perceived as more attractive, but they were also rated as appearing younger, more trustworthy, better educated, more financially successful, and more approachable.
Of course, changing the traits implied by your face won’t really improve your personality. We wish it was that simple, but the increased confidence it provides can positively impact your life.
If you’re interested in learning how you can put your best face forward, we’ll be happy to discuss the best treatment options for you.