The cheekbones are a part of the face that, when prominent, can add a lot of dimension and layers to the face that otherwise would have looked flat. With that, not all cheekbones look attractive. But there are specific criteria that you can adhere to when it comes to cheekbones.
The ideal male cheekbones are high and small, as large cheekbones can look feminine. They should also grow forward and laterally to facilitate cheekbone prominence. The most important aspect is that the cheekbones “pop” out and improve facial depth.
There’s a bit of a divide regarding how important cheekbones are in facial appearance. Some people say that cheekbones are not as relevant as other features (which is valid on many occasions), but some also think that cheekbones greatly elevate facial appearance. Ultimately, it’s probably dependent on the rest of a person’s facial features. Some people might have features that complement their cheekbones, while some already have amazing features even without great cheekbones.
Essentially, to get the perfect male cheekbones, you’ll want to consider the rest of your features as well. There are standards that you can follow, but you should take them with a grain of salt. There is plenty of potential to look attractive, even if you don’t have the ideal cheekbones.
For a primer on cheekbones, check out this Looks Theory episode:
Cheekbones as a Sexually Dimorphic Sexual Characteristic
Let’s discuss first the sexual dimorphism of cheekbones. Sexual dimorphism refers to the differences in features between sexes. There is a reason why we are talking specifically about the ideal male cheekbones. It’s because there is a difference between what a male’s cheekbones should look like and what a female’s cheekbones should look like.
The distinction is vital, as talking about ideal cheekbones, in general, is a vague statement. While women look decent with lower zygomatic bones, men won’t look good when they have low cheekbones. Many of the women we think have high cheekbones don’t actually have it.
Previous studies, such as this one by Apicella et al. (2008), have already established that cheekbone prominence is a sexually dimorphic characteristic. As people grow during puberty, these changes become more apparent and distinctive across the sexes. Interestingly enough, this study by Mogilski & Welling (2018) showed that the preference for cheekbones was not different in men and women. The respondents to the survey mostly preferred a masculine cheekbone instead of feminine cheekbones, even on women. This conclusion means that even women look more attractive with “masculine” cheekbones.
However, this does not erase the sexually dimorphic nature of cheekbones and their prominence. Our fondness for similar cheekbones in both sexes is likely due to the idea that we find angular and high cheekbones more attractive. Prominent cheekbones and hollow cheeks are signs of sexual maturity and health in both sexes.
The Ideal Male Cheekbones
There are several aspects of ideal male cheekbones that we have to consider. Breaking them down individually will help us visualize it much better.
First up, let’s talk about lateral growth or the horizontal growth of the cheekbones. The ideal male cheekbones should contribute to facial width, which is why you want cheekbones that grow laterally. You’ll want cheekbones that make your face look more dominant. Hence, you need proper lateral growth for your cheekbones.
To put into perspective just how crucial lateral growth is, let’s bring up FWHR or Facial width-to-height ratio. As a man, the ideal FWHR is around 1.8-1.9. To get this FWHR, you need to have both a broad face (but not too wide, of course) and a decent mid-facial length. Lateral cheekbone growth is essential because your cheekbone area will be the widest part of your face, and you want it to move outward. Of course, there’s still the matter of your midface length when it comes to FWHR, but that’s another story entirely. This comparison only gives you more perspective on why lateral growth is important to get ideal male cheekbones.
Forward growth is an underrated aspect of cheekbone appearance. Essentially, what this means is that your face, and thus your cheekbones, are projecting outwards. Instead of increasing width, forward growth focuses on creating a look with features that will pop out more. The importance of forward development is something you can see when in contrast with a long face. As you can imagine, a long face drags out features and makes a face droop down, which is generally unattractive. With forward growth, you’re eliminating all of that.
It is worth noting that the maxilla’s forward growth is also important in having the ideal cheekbones because cheekbones are both part of the zygomatic area and the maxilla. A forward growing maxilla will help create the appearance of more attractive cheekbones.
One relevant factor to consider is size. It might not be self-evident that size plays a significant role, but it does. To start, let’s examine how women’s cheekbones look like. Most women look attractive even with low cheekbones as long as they are prominent. On top of that, women’s cheekbones are also more likely to be larger and circular.
Take a look at these photos of female celebrities who many people consider to have attractive cheekbones. Notice how most cheeks are round and feminine. What you’re seeing does not necessarily have to be their cheekbone itself. It could be fat and muscle, but the general acceptance is that women with lower and larger zygomatic areas are attractive.
The point here is that what you want to achieve is the opposite of that. You don’t want puffy cheeks or low-set cheekbones. You want small yet prominent cheekbones that rest below your eye. Your cheekbones must look small because you don’t want to look too feminine. What you want is a masculine appearance, and you will achieve that easier with smaller cheekbones.
Next is the location of your cheekbones. The question on high or low cheekbones is an ever-present facet of the conversation on facial attractiveness. Does a male look better with high cheekbones? Are low cheekbones unattractive? Location is a cheekbone aspect that we are probably the most familiar with.
Men with high cheekbones are considered more attractive. You’ll know if you have high cheekbones by inspecting the highest point of your cheek. Note that your cheekbones are not the little puffs of soft tissue that bunch up when you smile. It is very easy to make the mistake of thinking that, so you have to look at your cheekbones from more than just an external view. Try looking at the mirror (in natural lighting) and turn your face about 3/4 to the side. There you will see a bump below your eye area. If you have high cheekbones, that bump will be right below your eyes, and if you have low cheekbones, it will be a bit lower and near your nostrils.
Our theory is that men with high cheekbones are more attractive because higher cheekbones leave more room for hollow cheeks. Hollow cheeks make a face look “scarier” and more dominant. As our general perception of men and masculinity is that of dominance, high cheekbones will foster that image.
However, cheekbone location is not the end-all to your cheekbones. Since it is one of the most talked-about topics for faces, many make a quick mistake to think that it’s the most important part, but it’s not.
Everyone confuses cheekbone height and cheekbone prominence. Most people are talking about cheekbone prominence when they incorrectly refer to cheekbones as “high.” True high cheekbones are rare and depend on the vertical location of the cheekbone bump.
No matter how high or low, how small or large, and how it grows, your cheekbones mean little if no one can see them from the outside. This reason is why cheekbone prominence is arguably the most important aspect we have to consider. Of course, the rest is still undoubtedly important. However, we need to focus on how much your cheekbones give dimension to your facial appearance.
Ideally, male cheekbones should be prominent, but not so much that it makes you look gaunt. The prominence aspect is doubly more important when we consider that angular features look more attractive on a man. If your cheekbones look prominent, this will give your face more angularity than flat cheekbones.
Try to imagine how much difference it would make if you took a guy with sculpted cheekbones and imagine if they had flat cheekbones. They will look less attractive, even with just that change. On the other hand, guys like Brad Pitt and Sean O’Pry look attractive despite having flat cheekbones. In reality, the jaw and eyes are far more important than cheekbones.
While an angular look is important, cheekbones that are too prominent are unappealing as well. You don’t want to look like you’re too skinny because your face no longer has any bulk to it, and it’s all just angles. Instead, you want the sweet spot in the middle where you have angles present, but you don’t look too worn and weary.
How to Get Ideal Male Cheekbones
Now that we’ve understood what the ideal male cheekbones look like, let’s get on with how to achieve them. Many of us are certainly not satisfied with our facial appearance, so you can do something about it and make positive changes to your life.
1. Dermal Fillers
Getting dermal fillers is probably one of the easiest ways that you can get better cheekbones. Dermal cheek fillers are temporary, and your surgeon can easily reverse the effects if it turns out that you don’t get the results you want. Also, the process is quick and relatively safe as they’re only fillers and not invasive surgeries. Dermal fillers can augment the appearance of your cheekbones, but only to a certain extent. Do not expect very massive changes just from cheek fillers alone. Yes, they do have the potential to elevate your facial appearance by a lot, but it’s necessary to manage your expectations.
Dermal fillers do absolutely nothing to change your bone structure. The entire process is just building upon and working with what you already have and then improving the soft tissues in your face as much as possible. In that scope, fillers already have limited capacity. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get them. Dermal fillers are a great way to temporarily augment your cheekbone appearance as they typically last around six months. If safety is your concern, dermal fillers usually consist of substances already in the body, like Hyaluronic Acid (HA). The materials used in fillers make it easier for the body to absorb them and absorb them over time.
However, a major downside to dermal fillers is that they can migrate to other areas of the face and don’t hold their shape too well, which undermines their effects over time. Otherwise, fillers are quick and easy procedures that will give you a temporary boost.
Implants are a step up from cheek fillers. Instead of just inserting substances that degrade over time, solid implants are permanent. Usually, solid implants consist of silicone or a similar substance shaped to perfectly complement the patient’s cheekbones. There are different kinds of implants; the most notable are solid implants and fat implants, consisting of fat taken from other parts of the body. Unlike solid implants, fat transfers are not permanent and will last for around six months to several years post-op.
Getting cheek implants is a surgical procedure. Like with any other invasive cosmetic procedure, there is a chance of infection and bleeding if the procedure does not go well. Make sure to consult with a trusted cosmetic surgeon in your area to mitigate the risks of the procedure.
Mewing is a process that has the potential to change your bone structure. The idea behind it is that you have to use proper oral posture and constantly make it a habit. When you do that, you can push your maxilla forward and upward, which in itself will already contribute to your cheekbone’s forward growth. But apart from that, you can also push your cheekbones outward by expanding your hard palate, which will then cause your zygomatic bone to push outward. However, these effects are marginal and still have limits. The premise behind mewing is quite simple, and you need to follow a couple of steps to engage in the proper oral posture, place your tongue correctly, and apply the right amount of pressure.
However, a major downside to mewing is that it relies a lot on manipulating your facial growth to change it for the better. So, it will work best on younger people and won’t be as effective in adults. Still, even adults can mew and get impressive results. Apart from that, it takes considerable time and effort to get the results you want or any results. You’re looking at at least a few years of dedicated mewing before seeing any tangible results in your cheekbones. Regardless, it remains an excellent option to explore if you want to get better cheekbones. Just remember to be patient.
To get started with mewing, visit our ultimate guide.
4. Lose Weight
Losing weight will only work if your problem with your cheekbones is that they don’t show up because of the excess fat in your face. It is not a solution to everything. If you already have a thin face, but you’re concerned about your cheekbone placement, losing weight isn’t likely to help with that.
But if this applies to you, it’s an amazing way to get rid of excess face fat and attain your cheekbones’ full potential. You’ll never know what’s hiding underneath if you don’t ever see it properly.
Are Cheekbones Worth Improving?
As previously said, there’s a bit of a divide in opinion regarding the importance of cheekbones in facial appearance. This issue leads us to ask the question: are cheekbones even worth improving? Considering that other facial features give more pay off in terms of attractiveness, cheekbones may not be on top of your list. But regardless of what the general community idea is on the value of cheekbones, they do matter. Sure, the prominence of your cheekbones may not be as important as, say, your jawline or eyes. Even then, working on your cheekbones will give you a better and more attractive appearance. For all intents and purposes, cheekbones are a halo: a positive feature that can make your face stand out.
Most importantly, it depends on the rest of your appearance. Some people can have less than ideal cheekbones and still look attractive. On the other hand, cheekbones are a make or break characteristic. The answer to whether making changes to your cheekbones is worth it or not largely depends on your priorities and what you want to achieve with your features.
Take Sean O’Pry, for example. If you look at his photos, he has hollow cheeks, and he has very high cheekbones, but they’re not very prominent, and they don’t stand out. However, we still consider him as one of the most attractive people alive right now. Lacking obvious prominent cheekbones is perfectly fine for both men and women. The rest of Sean’s features are enough to make up for his less than ideal cheekbone prominence. It’s debatable whether having really prominent cheekbones would even improve his appearance. The bottom line is that you have to assess the rest of your facial features before coming to a decision.