Across the world, many cultures view cheekbones as a symbol of beauty. Depending on your genetics, they might be found higher or lower on your face. Studies show that we judge strangers by their faces. We may perceive someone as youthful, approachable or dominant simply based on the placement of their cheekbones.
If you’re not sure what cheekbones are, or how to locate them, read on to learn a simple trick to find out if you have high or low cheekbones.
What Are Cheekbones?
Cheekbones, also called zygomatic bones, are part of the human skull, located underneath the eye socket. Cheekbones extend out from the face, creating the structure of the cheeks that holds food inside the mouth while you chew.
Cheekbones are essential structures that support our daily lives. Aside from using zygomatic muscles to chew food, we also speak and make facial expressions using muscles attached to the cheekbone and its surrounding structures.
You can thank cheekbones for your ability to communicate with other people!
As we age, our cheekbones become more prominent. The natural layer of fat in the face becomes thinner over time, and gravity pulls skin downward toward the jaw and neck. Softened fat and sagging skin lead to the appearance of hollowed cheeks and noticeable cheekbones. Aging can also lead to bone loss in other areas of the face, like the nose and cheeks.
Gaining or losing weight will also affect the appearance of cheekbones. Their visibility depends on how much fat is in the cheeks to cushion them. Lifestyle factors like smoking tobacco and using certain drugs can also affect how much fat the face holds.
How to Know if You Have High Cheekbones
Some cheekbones are more prominent than others. If you don't know how to tell if you have high or low cheekbones, you can use an easy trick to locate them. All you need is a mirror and bright lighting.
Begin by placing your thumb at the top of your ear, at the point where it connects to your face. Then, put your index finger at the bottom of your nostril. When you slowly draw your two fingers together, you will find the cheekbone at the center where it sits underneath your skin.
Once you’ve found your cheekbone, study it closely in the mirror. (Try to stare directly into the mirror, so your head isn't pitched forward at an angle.) If your fingers come together at a spot that is close to the bottom of the nostrils, you have low cheekbones. If you found your cheekbone closer to your eye, or the upper bridge of your nose, you have high cheekbones.
Now that you’ve discovered whether your cheekbones are high or low, remember that many factors determine a person’s attractiveness. There are no “good” or “bad” cheekbones because the appearance of the face is highly subjective. In countries around the world, people prize both high and low cheekbones for different reasons.
Low Cheekbones vs High Cheekbones
A person’s ethnicity and unique genetic makeup are what determine where cheekbones sit on their face. Sex plays a role too, as women tend to have lower malar bones than men. Scientifically, there is no meaningful difference between high and low cheekbones, their placement on the face, and how it pertains to the overall health of your body.
If cheekbones don't affect your health, then why are high cheekbones more desirable? Many cultures regard the placement of cheekbones as a marker of attractiveness. One study even found that people perceive strangers with high cheekbones as being more trustworthy. Humans evolved to make snap judgments based on other people’s facial features, and research shows we still do this unconsciously.
A person with low cheekbones may not have much definition in their cheeks. The widest part of their face tends to be lower, in line with the bottom of the nostrils.
It’s often easy to spot a person with high cheekbones because the broadest area of their face tends to be just below the eyes. High zygomatic arches may cast a shadow on the hollow cheeks below, causing them to look even more prominent. A person with high cheekbones may also appear more youthful as their face ages, because the skin of the face can hold onto the raised cheekbones better as gravity pulls skin down.
Various Ways to Obtain Your Desired Cheekbone Structure
High cheekbones are especially prominent in the fashion and beauty industry, where many models have sculpted cheeks. But are high cheekbones rare outside of the modeling industry? Not particularly. People all over the world have high cheekbones.
Cosmetic surgeons are often asked how to get high cheekbones, and there’s many options besides surgery. For people with low cheekbones, or who have high cheekbones that aren’t prominent, dermal fillers can be used to create temporary enhancements. This injection creates pockets of hyaluronic acid underneath the skin, applied to the outer edges of the cheeks, to create the impression of high cheekbones. Believe it or not, cheek implants made of silicone can also mimic the hard surface of a zygomatic bone, which are a longer-term solution over fillers, which wear off after a few months.
There are many non-surgical methods that people use to mimic or enhance high cheekbones. Facial massage and exercises, such as Jawzrsize, can naturally define the shape of the cheeks over time. Even chewing gum can be a helpful exercise for getting sculpted cheekbones.
Makeup techniques, such as contouring, create a hollowed shadow effect in the cheeks that washes away at the end of the day. This is achieved by using a highlighter to emphasize the light area at the top of cheekbones. While makeup is a temporary solution, it's also simple and non-invasive technique to accomplish the cheekbone appearance you’re after.
Ultimately, when in doubt, remember to smile! Grinning defines your cheeks and is an excellent exercise for your muscles. Now that you’ve learned the difference between high vs low cheekbones, be proud of your zygomatic arches, wherever they rest on your face.
Photos by Clem Onojeghuo, Daniel Asaki on Unsplash