Why High Cheekbones Are Considered Attractive According To Research 

How do you tell someone is beautiful? People rate beauty differently but there are a few things that nearly everyone uses to decide who’s attractive. For instance, nice-looking eyes, pointed nose, clear skin, and fuller lips are the standards many cultures find most appealing on the face. Interestingly, a proper chiseled out face and high cheekbones are also cherished universally. This is why we get to see people go under the knife to raise their cheekbones and make it more prominent – who wouldn’t want to have a face that looks like those of Angelina Jolie, Kerry Washington, Venessa Paradis, or even Lauren Bacall? We have also seen people use makeup to create this effect.

What Are High Cheekbones?

High cheekbones are one of those terms that have been loosely defined in the beauty world. Many have misunderstood it to be one having some sort of prominent and protruding cheekbones. However, while the cheekbones are meant to be prominent and somewhat protruding, they should appear just below the eyes. In plain words, the concept of having high cheekbones simply means having the widest part of the face just beneath the eyes. This causes the cheeks to dip slightly beneath the bone, creating a slight shadow. Having the shadow effect of high cheekbones is what accentuates this exotic facial feature that many use to adjudicate beauty.

You might be wondering why high cheekbones are considered attractive. The answer is not farfetched. According to scientific research, there are various reasons why this is so and it is not ethnocentric. Surveying 20,000 people around the world on images of women’s faces from diverse backgrounds, including Caucasian, Hispanic, African, and Eastern-European women, the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that evaluators from various cultures chose women with high cheekbones as attractive.

Why High Cheekbones Are Considered Attractive

For some of the following reasons, high cheekbones have garnered a lot of attention.

1. High Cheekbones Tells A Lot About One’s Genetics and Childhood

According to research, some people assume that how fleshy or bony your cheeks look determines the kind of partner you will marry and have children with, which goes to show the facial structures of your future generation. They feel people with symmetric faces are likely to marry people looking like them and will have children with high cheekbones whereas people with excess skin on their cheeks are likely to get descendants with similar traits since they get to marry people like them. For this reason, a lot of people consider the feature quite attractive and go after people with it.

But then, while the physical features of a person basically depend on the person’s gene passed on by parents, this conclusion didn’t factor in other conditions like where a person with fleshy cheeks marries somebody with really pronounced high cheekbones. Thus, this may not be agreeable, considering that most people don’t fall in love just by the way a person’s cheekbones appear.

Another interesting reason why people consider cheekbones highly attractive is that there’s a belief that cheekbones give a hint on a person’s childhood and the goodness of the environment in which they grew up. This means that many subconsciously believe that people with high cheekbones had a cooler childhood than people with fleshy cheeks, hence value it a lot.

2. They Indicate Sexual Maturity

High Cheekbones
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Many men use cheekbones to determine if a woman is sexually mature or ready. They also use it to know if a woman is grown enough to start having kids since fuller cheeks suggest innocence and adolescence while the development of cheekbones implies sharpness and experience without appearing unfriendly. This is why this feature is found to be attractive among people who are in the dating age.

But it is not just about women. Men too start having these features with testosterone boosts that lead to puberty. In essence, most children of all genders don’t have cheekbones since they have a lot to do with maturity.

3. Cheekbones Determine How Reliable A Person Can Be

According to a study carried out by a New York University in 2014, most people unconsciously link high cheekbones to trustworthiness. The study was done using different photos of people with high and low cheekbones. Ultimately, it was found that the human brain subconsciously assumes that people with high cheekbones are more trustworthy than those without such features.

Another study from the university carried out around the same period reached a similar conclusion. After researchers sorted photos of random people and questioned subjects to score 1000 faces for personal characters or traits such as trustworthiness and dominance; it was discovered that most subjects chose people with high cheekbones as trustworthy people.

Some truth in this can be found through the fact that former American president Abraham Lincoln was nicknamed Honest Abe. Lincoln is one of the most famous figures with high cheekbones and his nickname indicates that people trusted him.

4. It Makes You Appear Bold

Usually, when we imagine faces with high cheekbones, bold women with high intellectual ability come to mind, no doubt. So while women with low cheekbones will have to struggle to make an impression, the high cheekbone attribute silently speaks about one’s strength and boldness.

5. It Is Easily Photographed

It may sound surprising but well-structured cheekbones deliver a unique majestic impression for a picture-perfect result. This is probably why brands that see such traits as a thing of beauty frequent such women on runways, covers of magazines, and other modeling projects. Many modeling agencies consider it a must-have for models.

6. High Cheekbones Slows Aging

It has been observed that people with high cheekbones tend to have firmer skin than those without it. This can make aging slower in persons with these traits and quicker in those who lack them.

Are High Cheekbones Rare?

It is not a rare phenomenon to have high cheekbones. Many people around the world from all races and ethnicities have them, and they all look very attractive. Many might argue that they are rare because you mostly find only models and actors having high cheekbones. They fail to understand that there are other attributes that contribute to one making the cut as an actor or a model and not just them having high cheekbones.

How To Tell If You Have High Cheekbones

The only part of the face where high cheekbones are located is just below the eyes. At this position, directly underneath your eyes, the cheekbones would be in line with the bridge of the nose. If your cheekbone is located anywhere towards the lower part of your nose, that is, they are in line with your nostrils, then you have low cheekbones.

As early mentioned, the main indicator that you have high cheekbones is when the widest part of your face is right below the eyes. This will make the cheeks dip slightly below the cheekbone, something that makeup artists always try to do with contouring. If you have this effect without any makeup at all, consider yourself as one of those blessed with high cheekbones.

Those who are still not sure where exactly their cheekbones are located on their face can perform a simple test at home that requires their fingers and them standing in front of a mirror. To start, place your thumb on top of your ear, then put your index finger of the same hand alongside your nostril. The hard thing you would be feeling under your outstretched finger is your cheekbone. This test may be hard to perform if your face is well padded/full. You may find it difficult to see or feel the cheekbone but a bright light may help. It is also best that your face is rid of makeup at the time you are performing this test.

How to Get High Cheek Bones

There are many things that you can do to appear to have high cheekbones. Makeup is one of the better and simpler ways. For a more permanent solution to having high cheekbones, there are other clinical (surgical) or semi-clinical actions that can be taken.

1. Using Makeup

Using makeup to appear to have high cheekbones is one of the safer ways since it does not require you to go under the knife. Makeup can give your face a narrower, concave appearance with the use of a bronzer or blush and a highlighter. With a contouring makeup brush or makeup sponge, you can further make shadows appear on your face to make your cheekbones seem higher.

Every makeup artist out there has a different approach to doing this as methods vary, depending on the shape of your face and what products are available. If you need any help to do this at home, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube. However, what is basically required of you to do with makeup to have high cheekbones are listed below:

  • Hold your breath to suck in your cheeks. This will make your cheekbones visible. At this point, put your makeup brush on your cheekbone and tilt it outward to the end of your eyebrows. This should be where your contour line ends.
  • With a bronzer that is two shades darker than your natural skin tone, sweep over the area just underneath your cheekbone. Continue to do this all the way up to your eyebrow line.
  • Blend the bronzer in with your skin using an upward sweeping motion.
  • For added effect, use a highlighter to make the area underneath your eyes more prominent. This should be where you have “created” your cheekbone.
  • Using a foundation brush or beauty blender, blend the bronzer and highlighter. You can use your primer or foundation to make sure it takes on a natural look.

2. Mewing

Mewing is a non-surgical way to have high cheekbones. It is, however, not something that has an immediate effect on the cheekbones as you get to do it for periods of time which will over time improve the cheekbones. The process involves having proper tongue and oral posture at all times of the day. Mewing exerts a force on your palate that allows the dental arch to widen, and the maxilla and mandible (upper and lower jaw) to move upward and forward. As your dental arch widens, so do your cheekbones. Your cheekbones will start to move outward, making them look prominent.

Note that the effect mewing has on your cheekbones will take months, if not years, to achieve. This is because you are ultimately trying to remodel your skull into a new orientation. It also works better and faster with younger people.

3. Dermal Fillers

Another option for getting more prominent, high cheekbones is getting injected with a material known as dermal fillers. Fillers, which are often made of compounds like hyaluronic acid (HA) or collagen, are injected into the tissue underneath your skin to create a temporary effect of a higher cheekbone. These fillers will be over time absorbed into your body so the effect/results of getting dermal fillers can last for up to three months. While there are many brands of fillers out there that can be used, popular ones include Juvederm, Restylane, and Zyplast.

4. Cheek Implants

Also called cheek lifts, cheek implants are for people who want to permanently change the shape of their face. It requires undergoing cosmetic surgery. A plastic surgeon makes small incisions on the sides of your mouth and inserts a cheekbone made of solid silicone.

Like most other cosmetic surgery procedures, this surgery requires general anesthesia, and recovery will be very uncomfortable. You would have a swollen face and experience pains that would last for about a few days. General discomfort may last for up to a week afterward. As with any surgery, there are potential side effects. However, at the end of it all, a lasting solution would have been provided for you to have high cheekbones.

5. Maxillary Skeletal Expander (MSE)

One of the more unorthodox ways to improve your cheekbones is with a Maxillary Skeletal Expander. Its primary purpose is to expand the maxilla (upper jaw) and the dental arch to create room for the teeth. The device does this by literally creating a split on the roof of the mouth using a screw. The split will be right in the bone’s suture, so when it splits, there will be a new bone to replace.

When the maxilla and the palate expand, there would be a force that would push your cheekbones outward. This process will give your cheekbones a much more defined look. People who want to mew but don’t have enough space in their palate for proper oral posture use this method to expand the area. MSE and mewing are two things that go together.

If you decide to use this option, be prepared to have a gap in your front teeth that will need fixing.

6. Thread Lift

A thread lift procedure involves placing Polydioxanone (PDO) threads subcutaneously to lift the skin. It is commonly used on the midface, jowl, and neck to target aging and is a great option for the cheeks when there is sagging without volume loss.

Each thread contains small barbs along the surface, which help it grab and lift the targeted area. When the needles are withdrawn, the tissue will gather over the thread, lifting the skin. New fibrous tissue will then form around the PDO threads, which help keep them in place and hold the tissue. A combination of threads and fillers may be required as it lifts the cheek in a natural way.

7. Fat Grafting

Fat grafting (or fat transfer) is considered a better and more natural alternative to cheek implants. It is also a more permanent solution than getting dermal fillers that last a few months. For this two-step procedure, the doctor removes the patient’s own fat from another part of the body, usually the abdomen or thighs, and injects it into the cheeks.

The first step involves extracting the fat from the other area of the body through liposuction. The fat is then purified and injected into the cheek. Since a percentage of the fat will be reabsorbed into the body, the doctor may overfill the area to start.

There are reportedly no risks of rejection with the treatment other than patients experiencing swelling, bruising, and redness on both the face and the part of the body where fat was gotten from. This may last a few days. It should also be noted that maintenance may be required as weight gain or loss can affect results. Full recovery can take up to six weeks, but most people are able to resume daily life after 48 hours.

People and Celebrities with High Cheekbones

Whether natural or clinically engineered, there are several celebrities with high cheekbones and more are joining the list.

Katharine Hepburn

  • Occupation: Actress
  • Nationality: American

Katharine Hepburn was Hollywood’s leading lady for over 60 years. The actress, who received four Academy Awards for Best Actress for her performances in Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968), and On Golden Pond (1981), was famous for her high cheekbones and chiseled facial features.

Hepburn’s cheekbones were very prominent and located just below her eyes. They were said to have been as sharp as her wit during her heydays. It is further claimed that the late star had the best cheekbones in cinema history.

Keira Knightley

  • Occupation: Actress
  • Nationality: British

One of the most effortlessly beautiful women in modern cinema, Keira Knightley has cheekbones to die for. The actress who has received numerous recognitions for her talent, including three British Academy Film Awards and three Golden Globe Awards, has for many years been widely considered to be one of the sexiest women in the world by various publications. You get no gifts for guessing that her face and cheekbones have hugely contributed to her gaining this recognition.

Keira Knightley cheekbones have as a result been pointed out as one which most women desire. They are the first thing you notice when you look at her. Her high cheekbones further give her an “ageless beauty” as they create the very symmetrical face that many stars in Hollywood crave.

Angelina Jolie

  • Occupation: Actress
  • Nationality: American

Angelina Jolie is one of the most notable examples of celebrities with high cheekbones. The star of films like George Wallace (1997), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), A Mighty Heart (2007), Changeling (2008), Wanted (2008), The Tourist (2010), Maleficent (2014), etc, is such a natural beauty who does not need to apply much makeup on themselves to look beautiful. Looking at her, you can see how the cheekbones on her face are prominent right beneath her eyes. Her cheeks further have natural plumpness that accentuates her youthful appearance. This, along with her feline eyes and bee-stung lips are why all through her career her image has been tied to what beauty and sex appeal should be.

Cara Delevingne

  • Occupation: Model, Actress, Singer
  • Nationality: England

High cheekbones are the golden standard of the beauty and fashion world so it is no surprise that this multitalented model who won the award for Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2012 and 2014 features on the list. Cara Delevingne captivates people wherever she goes. It does not matter whether she is on social media, acting in films like Paper Towns (2015), Suicide Squad (2016), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017), or walking the runway, she always finds a way to be the center of discussion.

Naomi Campbell

  • Occupation: Model, Actress, Singer, Businesswoman
  • Nationality: British

For more than 30 years, Naomi Campbell has been at the top of her career. She got her breakthrough modeling gig after she was noticed at a very young age. It was pointed out that her high cheekbones among other features contributed to her making it big, including being the first black model to appear on the cover of French Vogue and American Vogue’s September issue, the year’s biggest and most important issue.

Following her conquering of the modeling world, Naomi Campbell has been the yardstick for measuring aspiring models of her race and color.

Bella Thorne

  • Occupation: Actress, Model, Singer
  • Nationality: American

Bella Thorne is one of the younger people in Hollywood with notable high cheekbones. The high cheekbones of the fresh-faced beauty are a trademark feature of her youthful appearance. It does not matter if she is playing the awkward and boyish Hilary Friedman in Blended (2014) or a Barbie-like role in any of her other appearances, her beauty still stands out and is evident for all to see.

The actress has three Young Artist Awards, one Imagen Award, Shorty Award, and Teen Choice Award to her name. She rose to fame on the Disney Channel series, Shake It Up (2010–2013


Angela Lee
Angela Lee
Angela is a New York City-based writer with a passion for entertainment, lifestyle, and human-interest stories


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