Canthal Tilt and Attractiveness

The eyes are the window to the soul, and the canthal tilt has a massive impact on how your eyes look. So, why does canthal tilt matter in attractiveness?

If you have a positive canthal tilt, you look alert. However, if yours is negative, it can make you look tired, old, and upset. You can enhance your canthal tilt by getting eyelid surgery. You can tell what type of tilt you have by comparing the height of your eye’s lateral canthus to the medial canthus. Women tend to have higher canthal tilts than men.

For more info on the importance of the eye area in facial aesthetics, check out this Looks Theory episode.

What Is Canthal Tilt and Why Does It Matter?

Canthal Tilt

The canthal tilt is the angle between the lateral canthus (outer eye corner) and the medial canthus (inner eye corner). You can see how it’s measured via the line in the photo above. 

Eye Anatomy

The canthal tilt has a massive impact on a person’s attractiveness. For instance, a study altered women’s medial canthal tilt in photos to make the canthal tilt more positive. The pictures with the accentuated medial canthal tilt were more attractive than the unmodified photos (Bashour et al., 2007).

As for men, having a positive canthal tilt can be a major advantage. For instance, Hunter Eyes have a positive canthal tilt, enhancing the eye area’s overall attractiveness. 

There are three types of canthal tilts: positive, negative, and neutral. As you can guess, the ideal canthal tilt is a positive one, and it occurs when the medial canthus is 5-8 degrees below the lateral canthus. 

Positive canthal tilts help people look alert and awake. It also helps people look more youthful. On the other hand, negative canthal tilts make the eyes look droopy, making you look older. 

Most people will look fine if they have neutral canthal tilts. For instance, Ian Somerhalder has fantastic eyes with a neutral canthal tilt. 

However, Ian Somerhalder’s eyes are attractive because he has Hunter Eyes, meaning they are horizontally long and straight. Additionally, he has deep-set eyes and does not have that much upper eyelid exposure.

If you have a negative canthal tilt, it can bring down your appearance. Negative canthal tilts make people look tired, sad, and old, creating a poor first impression for everyone you meet. 

What Causes a Negative Canthal Tilt?

Aging, droopy, and swollen eyelid skin is the usual cause of negative canthal tilts. Since more skin is in that area, it weighs down the outer eye corners and brings them down.

In some cases, it can also be genetic. If your parents have negative canthal tilts, you might have got it from them. 

However, the lack of bone support under your eye area can also cause negative canthal tilts. If you are a mouth breather, for instance, your tongue probably rests at the bottom of your mouth, which is improper tongue posture. Whenever the craniofacial complex becomes recessed from mouth-breathing, your canthal tilt will worsen because you lose the maxilla’s support.

Craniofacial Dystrophy
The process of facial recession and craniofacial dystrophy

Certain environmental and external factors can also affect how your eyes tilt. For instance, smoking speeds up the skin’s aging process by decreasing the skin elasticity, making your eyes droopy at the outer corners. 

How to Measure Your Canthal Tilt

If you have a positive canthal tilt, the lateral canthus will be 5-8 degrees above the medial canthus. The lateral canthus would ideally be 5-8 degrees higher than the side closest to the nose.

If you have a neutral canthal tilt, there will be no angle between the lateral and medial canthus.

If you have a negative canthal tilt, the corners of your eyes will droop down. Your medial canthus will sit higher than the lateral canthus, which is the opposite of what you want. 

The easiest way to measure this is by simply looking in the mirror with a relaxed head position. Look directly into your eyes and try to take note of both of your canthi. Usually, eyes are asymmetrical and will have different canthal tilts.

Or you can take a photo with a relaxed head position and staring straight into the camera. Be careful because if you’re looking up at the camera, it can make your canthal tilt appear more positive than it really is, and if you’re looking down at the camera, it can make it appear more negative than it really is.

After you take a photo, draw a line from your lateral to medial canthus on both eyes.

  • If your lateral canthus is higher than your medial canthus, you have a positive canthal tilt. The lines will create a slight V-shape. 
  • If you have a neutral canthal tilt, you will have a near-perfectly straight line. There should be no angle. 
  • If you have a negative canthal tilt, the lines will droop downwards from your medial canthus to your lateral canthus. It will look like an inverted V-shape. 
Kylie has a great canthal tilt

How to Improve Your Eye’s Canthal Tilt


As mentioned earlier, a lack of bone support under your eyes can cause negative canthal tilts. Lack of bone support usually comes from improper tongue posture, leading to a poorly developed midface. 

If the tongue does not rest and push on the palate, the midface does not get any stimulation. Therefore, correcting your tongue posture through mewing can help you move your midface up and forward, enhancing your canthal tilt.

Mewing Effects
Effects of Mewing and Forward Growth

One of the main benefits of mewing is moving your cheekbones up and forward. Your cheekbones rest under your eye area. Therefore, when you move your cheekbones up and forward, you enhance your eye area by adding more support. 

The main downside is that this works best when you’re still growing, and even then, it takes months or years. If you’re an adult, it will take years or decades to get changes.

To learn more about how mewing affects your eyes, click here

Eyelid Surgery

There are different kinds of eyelid surgeries that you can get to enhance your canthal tilt. The exact type will depend on how severe your tilt is and if you have other eyelid issues.

A common type of eyelid surgery that can correct your canthal tilt is canthoplasty. Lateral canthoplasty repositions your lateral canthus to raise it vertically. 

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