The nose has a huge influence on how people perceive beauty. But there is so much variation in nose size, most of it ethnic. Nose width for example is mostly correlated with the humidity of the region of the world our ancestors came from.
The average nasal index is around 65, and the average nasal height to projection ratio is 2.8. However, there is no standard measurement or size of a nose because the nose has so many ethnic variations.
However, there are so many factors to consider, such as age, gender, race, and cultural background. There is no one size fit all measurement. Some reports say the average length of the nose for an adult male is 2.2 inches long while a woman’s nose is 2 inches long. But this may not be true all the time, especially since the length and width of the nose change as we age.
The proportion of cartilage and bone of each person determines the size of the nose. These two factors can change a lot from person to person. But for an average caucasian American nose, there are some normal values for nose size.
For an overview of important nose aesthetics principles, check out this Looks Theory episode:
What Are the Types and Characteristics of Noses?
According to Zaidi et al., 2017, the climates that our ancestors evolved in were responsible for the size and shape of our noses. There is a correlation between the variation of the shape of the nose and the regional differences in climate. Those who live in warm-humid climates tend to have a wider nostril than those who are from cool-dry climates.
Europeans have a narrow nasal bridge. If we categories this further by region, people from north Europe have wide noses and protruded tips. In contrast, those in the northwestern part have noses that point more upwards. In general, Europeans have noses that longer than the other ethnic groups of the world.
Asians have broad and rounded-tip noses. Their nostrils are wider than average and elevated. Also, their nasal bridge is less prominent. You can recognize East Asian people by their slim noses in terms of surface area.
The dark-skinned people who live in America and mostly Africa have typical African noses, also known as Nubian noses. The most distinct characteristics of Africans are their wide and most prominent nose. They have enlarged nostrils with wide and rounded tips. Their nasal bridge lacks protrusion.
Among the regions in Africa, West Africans have the widest nose. Those in the north have the smallest width nose. Furthermore, the distance between the nostrils is larger in west Africans than those with European ancestry.
What Is an Attractive Nose?
Now that we know the factors that define the nose’s size and shape, the question remains as to what exactly is considered an attractive nose?
An attractive nose is one that blends beautifully with the rest of the face and has proportions and measurements that are close to average. An attractive nose will vary by ethnicity, but the eurocentric nose with a slim bridge, width equal to a fifth of the face, normal ala, normal columella, and normal nasolabial and nasofrontal angles is most common in modeling.
When trying to set a standard for what a beautiful nose is, always consider its proportions relative to the rest of the face. The length and the angle the nose creates relative to the rest of your face plays an important factor in the perception of beauty.
If you look at the anatomical structure of the face, you will notice that due to its central location, the whole nasal structure is directly affected by its surrounding muscles and tissues. What does that mean? It means that it is not the bone that defines your nose, but the surrounding muscles, cartilage, and tissues. And unfortunately, most of that is determined by genetics.
Regardless of race, a concave or straight nose is what many of us consider as the most ideal and attractive. A straight nose projects a youthful-looking face, which is what everyone, especially women, are after.
When we talk about the side profile, we are talking about the angle, as seen from one side of the face. An attractive profile is where the forehead and the chin blend well with the nose.
The chin’s prominence plays a big role in the relative size of the nose profile. A recessed chin can give an illusion of a nose that’s bigger than it really is. Chin augmentation can fix this.
The forehead and the nose profile contour should resemble an S-line. It creates a pleasant profile where the nose doesn’t look as if it starts directly from the forehead. Fat injection is the recommended treatment here.
The ideal distance between the alar-crease junction and the nasal tip should be around two-thirds of the distance between the sellion and the nasal tip.
In relation to the upper lip, the posterior part of the nose should be 40-50 percent of the total projection.
The Nasofrontal Angle
Due to a lack of brow ridge prominence, women tend to have a higher frontonasal angle than men.
The Nasolabial Angle
Similarly, the nasolabial angle is higher in women, causing the nose to look upturned.
Fillers and rhinoplasty can both adjust these angles.
The Columella and Ala
The columella is the tissue between the nostrils. The ala of the nose is the lower side part of the nose. It is more commonly known as the wing of the nose.
The ideal position of the columella and ala is where only 4 mm of the nostril is visible via a side profile. A hanging columella and a retracted ala make the nostrils appear bigger on the profile. On the other hand, a retracted columella and a hanging ala make the base of the nose look flatter via the side profile.
The Nose Width
On a well-proportioned face, the nose width is similar or slightly larger than the intercanthal distance.
The Dorsal Lines
The current trend for the dorsal lines for women is the concave line, although there is no anatomical basis for this. In reality, the dorsum aesthetic lines are normally narrow in the nose radix, wide in the keystones, narrow again at the supra tip.
This is something your rhinoplasty surgeon can take care of.
The nasal index measures how big the nose is by dividing its width by its height. A value of 66 is normal for men and 64 for women. However, this value is just for typical Eurocentric/caucasian faces. People from warmer climates will have a wider nose. There’s a lot of ethnic variation when it comes to noses.
Nasal Height to Projection Ratio
The nasal height to projection ratio measures how big the nose is from a side profile. Divide the height of the nose (nasion to subnasale) by the amount that it projects from that line. For a normal nose, the ratio should be around 2.8.
For more info on nose aesthetics, visit our Nose Shapes Guide.
Types of Nose Surgeries
Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct or repair the nose. There are two kinds of rhinoplasty – the cosmetic rhinoplasty that improves the appearance of the nose and the reconstructive rhinoplasty that restores the form and functions of the nose.
The Cosmetic Rhinoplasty
Open rhinoplasty surgery is a procedure intended for major nose reshaping. The procedure starts by making small bridging incisions between the left and right nostrils, then turns the nasal skin upward to achieve a clear visual of the entire nasal framework.
Check out this video explaining open rhinoplasty.
Closed rhinoplasty is a type of surgery where all the incisions are made inside the nostrils. The advantage of this type of surgery is there are no visible scars. The disadvantage though, is the considerable challenges and limitations that come from lack of visibility.
Check out this video explaining closed rhinoplasty.
The Reconstructive Rhinoplasty
The goal of reconstructive rhinoplasty is to correct nose deformities caused by an injury or birth defects. It also tends to correct breathing problems and failed primary rhinoplasty.
Turbinate reduction – a type of procedure aimed to improve the nasal airflow by reducing the nasal turbinates. Patients with difficulty breathing through the nose can benefit from this type of procedure.
Septoplasty – similar to turbinate reduction, this type of surgery is for patients with difficulty breathing. The aim is to straighten the bone and cartilage, dividing the space between the nostrils.
Another type of surgery is Rhinoseptoplasty. It is a surgery of the external nose and nasal septum. It is a rhinoplasty and septoplasty procedure combined into one. This procedure is for patients suffering from a deformed nose and deviation of the nasal septum.
If it is just the shape of your nose that bothers you, the non-surgical rhinoplasty is the best option for you.
Non-Surgical Rhinoplasty (Liquid Nose Job)
This “15-minute nose job” injects fillers into your nose to alter the shape. It is not only non-invasive but the most affordable too. The downside is that fillers dissolve after several months, meaning the cost can really add up to maintain your look. Plus, fillers don’t hold their shape well, so this option is much more limited in what it can do compared to a full-blown rhinoplasty.