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Some sex/gender differences in nose shape; measurements for rhinoplasty

Springer et al.(1, pdf) showed the following noses individually to 308 judges and asked them to judge whether they belong to women or men.  Each of the four images shows the average of a sample of men or women, none of whom were the judges.

Fig 1. Guess which nose belongs to men and which to women; average nose shapes.  See text for details.

When the sex-specific nose averages were presented individually, the judges could generally not assign the correct sex to them.  In Fig. 1, the first two images on the left represent the average for women and the other two the average for men.  The differences are discernible in comparison; e.g., women have less projecting noses and a lower nasion (more on the nasion)

The authors made 3 composite images of a) both men and women who were satisfied with their noses (optimal), b) average noses (average) and c) those who were dissatisfied with their noses (unpleasant) (Fig. 2).

Fig 2. The columns depict averages for women (left) and men.  Top row depicts the averages for those satisfied with their noses, the middle row depicts the averages for the entire sample and the last row depicts the averages for those dissatisfied with their noses.

Those most dissatisfied with their noses had a nasal hump and lower tip rotation (which, taken to an extreme, will lead to a hooked-nose appearance) and heavier nose tip cartilage.  The study confirms a dislike for hooked noses and broad nasal tips in Europeans.

The authors also had the 3 composite nose averages for each sex rated for attractiveness by the judges.  The judges rated the women’s averages as optimal > average > unpleasant, and men’s averages as average > optimal > unpleasant.
The noses that went toward the averages/composites belonged to 311 individuals, which comprised of 128 men and 128 women that were selected randomly from Germany and Australia.

Among the women, 41.0% had a nasal hump, 42.9% had a straight profile, 11.8% had a concave profile and 4.3% did not fit in any of these categories.  Among the men, 36.4% had a nasal hump, 43.2% had a straight profile, 15.4% had a concave profile and 4.9% did not fit in any of these categories.  The nasal features found in the optimal composites were found in 15.4% of women and 43.2% of men.

See the article for miscellaneous measurements pertaining to optimal noses for men and women in the neighborhood of average height.  These will be handy for those considering rhinoplasty (nose job) though better articles on the topic have been addressed at this site before.  This study was from the perspective of the plastic/cosmetic surgeon and did not concentrate on documenting the subtlety of sex differences in nose shapes for anthropological purposes.


  1. Springer, I. N., Zernial, O., Nolke, F., Warnke, P. H., Wiltfang, J., Russo, P. A., Terheyden, H., and Wolfart, S., Gender and nasal shape: measures for rhinoplasty, Plast Reconstr Surg, 121, 629 (2008).


What about an upturned nose? I noticed that many beautiful women have a "ski slope" nose that turns up at the end. Do I need to have a nose like that?

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