As the age-old saying goes, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." However, in an attempt to shine a new light on beauty, researchers in Britain have attempted to approach it from a more quantitative angle.
In a 2012 national U.K. competition called "Lorraine: Naked," 8,000 entrants submitted photographs of their natural features (no plastic surgery and no make up). Of this group, 18-year-old Florence Colgate advanced to be one of three finalists and ultimately won the competition by popular vote to be crowned Britain's "most beautiful" face.
Upon further analysis, experts claim that Colgate's beauty can actually be scientifically measured. Despite winning based on popular perception, scientifically speaking, Colgate's features follow closely the optimal proportions of a "perfect face."
According to International Business Times, the ideal distance between pupils of your eyes is 46% of the total face width, Colgate's ratio is very close, at 44%; distance from the eyes to the mouth should be ideally one third of the length of the face, Colgate's features are 32.8% of her total face length. Her features also encompass other "classic signs of beauty" according to Carmen Lefèvre, PhD: large eyes, high cheek bones, and supple lips.
Across social media, most users are either intrigued, or unimpressed by this scientific evaluation of beauty.
But, what is beauty? Is there really a scientific basis for how beauty is perceived?
Beauty is defined as "the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind." However, studies indicate strong consistency in individual preferences for what is considered "beautiful."
In a 2009 study by the University of Toronto, researchers asked participants to identify the more "beautiful" face in a range of photographs, and results consistently reflected the optimal proportions detailed above. The best explanations to date for these consistent preferences seem to link directly to evolutionary motivations: we are attracted to those with appearances that imply strong reproductive results.
Evolutionary theorists have found a strong connection between our perception of beauty and the implications of strong genetic composition. For example, Colgate also benefits from strong symmetry in her facial features.
Research indicates that symmetrical faces may be more desirable since facial symmetry is an indicator of strong genes, which implies better reproductive qualities.
In a separate study of the Hadza group of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania, researchers found that women especially preferred symmetric features in men during more vulnerable periods such as when pregnant or nursing.
When asked how she views herself, however, Colgate laughs off these scientific theories. When she looks in the mirror, she says "I just see me, I don't see science."
At the time of the contest, Colgate was simply a young lady preparing for university exams hoping to study business. Since then, Colgate has just completed her degree at Canterbury Christ Church University in May 2015.
See the video below for a full interview with Colgate. After seeing the results, what do you think of this scientific analysis? Let us know in the comments below.