The Chin – A Facial Balancing Act!

The chin is an often under-appreciated and frequently overlooked component of overall facial appearance. It plays a pivotal role in facial balance, and has to be taken into account when analysing the face. In a female, an over-projected or large chin can convey a sense of masculinity. Conversely, the opposite effect may result in a male with an under-projected or small chin.

The face can be analytically broken up into vertical thirds. The upper third is composed of the forehead and eyes, the nose predominates the middle third, and the lips and chin occupy and define the lower third. An aesthetically pleasing face is proportionally balanced in all three thirds. This is especially evident when the face is viewed in profile (from the side). When we look at a face, we analyse it in this manner within a split second, without even thinking about it! An over-projected or under-projected chin can throw this facial thirds equation off-balance, the consequence of which is a less than harmonious appearance. Not uncommonly, clients would present to me asking for correction of what they perceive as a “hideously large nose”.

When carefully analysed however, many of them actually have a normal-sized or only slightly large nose. The prominence of their nose is often optically magnified by their lack of chin. This “top heavy” illusion results from the upper two thirds, in particular the nose, overwhelming the lower third. A surgical procedure to improve chin aesthetics is called a genioplasty, and these can include augmentation genioplasty (increasing prominence) and reduction genioplasty (reducing prominence). An augmentation genioplasty can be performed with either artificial implants (alloplastic genioplasty) or by physically altering the position of the chin (osseous genioplasty). Each have their associated risks and benefits. A reduction genioplasty can be performed only by physically altering the position or size of the chin (osseous genioplasty).

Balance plays a massive contribution to a pleasing looking face, and the chin contributes a greater part in establishing this balance that what  it is often given credit for. Next time you see a good looking face, take note of it from a balanced perspective!