And the Perfect Woman Is ...

By Eric S. Page
|  Friday, Dec 18, 2009  |  Updated 9:35 AM PDT
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Who has the perfect face? How about Rosie O'Donnell and Shania Twain.

According to a new psychology study performed by researchers from UC San Diego and the University of Toronto, O'Donnell and Twain have the perfect facial features -- their eyes and mouth are just far enough apart for others to find them attractive. Their haircuts help frame their face perfectly, UCSD researcher Pamela Pallett said.

"It kind of underscores our paper in that this is a way to make yourself look as naturally active as possible," Pallett said.

According to the study, the vertical distances between a woman's eyes and her mouth and the horizontal distance between her two eyes are crucial elements in determining how others perceive her attractiveness.

The researchers say they identified the "golden ratios" -- the optimal relation between the eyes, the mouth and the edge of the face for individual beauty.  Women were judged to be more attractive when the vertical distance between eyes and mouth is about 36 percent of the face's length. The optimal distance between the eyes is 46 percent of the face's width.

Study participants were asked to look at photographs of the same female face, each with different distances between their eyes, and eyes and mouth. The researchers only studied faces of white women, and said that more research would need to be done to determine if there were different golden ratios for men, children and non-white people.

Armed with the research, UCSD's Pamela Pallett and her colleagues downloaded photos of celebrities and got out their measuring tapes. After studying photos of stars like Jessica Alba, Kirsten Dunst, Penelope Cruz, Bette Midler, Barbara Streisand and Jessica Simpson, they found two whose ratios matched the golden ratio: O'Donnell and Twain.

Pallett stressed that they only looked at a single photo of each celebrity, and that in different photos, they could have different ratios. Pallett said that in the photos she and her colleagues examined, Simpson and Cruz were not golden.

So how can you improve your golden-ratio odds? The right haircut can make you or break you.

"Our finding also explains why sometimes an attractive person looks unattractive or vice-versa after a haircut -- because hairdos change the ratios,” said Kang Lee of the University of Toronto.

And if you wondering, Pallett said, no, she has not checked out her ratios.

Eric S. Page reports about all things San Diego, but he draws the line at cat stories. You can follow his updates at twitter.com/espage or send him a story idea.

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