Some people have low hairlines that never recede, whereas others have big foreheads and receding hairlines. We’ll break down all the research and science behind forehead size so that you know what constitutes a big forehead or a small forehead.
The average height of a forehead according to Sirinturk et al. (2017) is 2.8 inches (7.1 cm) for males and 2.4 inches (6 cm) for females. Generally, a broad forehead would be a forehead that is much greater in height than these measurements.
Now, a forehead is technically broader when a person’s face is wider. However, the human eye doesn’t notice this. Below, I will discuss the ins and outs of the study, how many finger lengths are considered average, whether a large forehead is deemed to be beautiful, and how to reduce the size of your forehead.
What is a normal-sized forehead?
A study published in the Journal of Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy by Sirinturk et al. (2017) looked at the average size of the foreheads of males and females. The results showed that the average height of a male forehead is 2.4 inches (6.1 cm) with a standard deviation of 0.4 inches (1 cm). The average size for a female forehead is 2.3 inches (5.8 cm) with a standard deviation of 0.25 inches (0.6 cm).
The study looked at only one race of people in Turkey. It would make sense that there may be differences based on ethnicity, so further research should be done on the average forehead size by country and ethnicity to give a more comprehensive answer. This does serve as a good estimate, however.
Our custom facial report analyzes the harmony of your forehead relative to the rest of your face and offers styling tips and procedures if any serious issues exist.
The average shape of the forehead
Interestingly, the study also looked at different forehead shapes and their averages. It categorized foreheads as:
- Round. This is where the hairline of a person’s forehead looks like the top of a circle.
- M-Shaped. This is what is commonly called a widow’s peak. This is where the center of the forehead forms a triangular point, and the left and right corners create a sharp angle. This makes the center look like the middle part of the letter ‘M’, with the corners are the top.
- Rectangular. This is where the forehead is rectangular-shaped. If a person has a narrow face, this shape can sometimes appear more square than rectangular.
- Bell-shaped. A bell-shaped forehead is the same as a round forehead, but it is more oval-shaped. The middle of the forehead is further back and looks egg-shaped.
- Triangular. A triangular forehead is where the sides of the forehead slope inwards and converge in the middle of the forehead, giving the appearance of an upright triangle.
The study found that the following percentages of people have the following forehead shapes:
|Percentage of people with this shape
You can see from the above data that males have significantly more M-shaped hairlines than females. More triangular forehead shapes have taken up the difference in percentages. Males are most likely to have M-shaped foreheads, followed by a rectangular or round hairline. Only a few males will have a bell-shaped or triangular forehead.
On the other hand, females are more likely to have rectangular or round foreheads followed closely by triangular and M-shaped hairlines. Women are the least likely to have a bell-shaped hairline.
How many finger lengths is the average forehead?
Finger lengths are a common form of measurement to get a rough estimate of the size of a forehead. However, it does not account for the difference in size between people’s fingers. Some people have large thick fingers, whereas others have thin and small fingers. Therefore, it is not a reliable way to measure whether you have a large forehead or not. A better estimate can be reached by looking at the average size of people’s fingers.
Taken from a National Health Survey, the average breadth of a person’s hand is 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) in males and 3.1 inches (7.8 cm) in females. An average size forehead is about four fingers in width for both males and females. However, instead of fingers, a more accurate benchmark is hand size.
You can use the measurements provided by the article for a more accurate assessment of your forehead size. But for rough estimation, the width of a male forehead should equal 80% of your whole hand, including the thumb. So measure it from the thumb to the little finger, crosswise. Anything above this is beyond one standard deviation, which is roughly 70% of all people’s foreheads’ lengths. For females, it is the same. The width of the entire hand should be roughly 80% of your forehead to be qualified as an average forehead size.
Is a large forehead considered attractive?
A large forehead is a neotonous (juvenile) feature, and it is considered physically attractive on women. Some notably attractive women with high or large foreheads are artist Rihanna and supermodel Tyra Banks. For men, smaller foreheads are generally preferred.
Sirinturk et al. (2017) showed that the shape of the forehead indicated a more masculine or feminine appearance. Most women prefer more masculine men, and most men prefer more feminine women. Rectangular and M-shaped foreheads were considered more masculine, and round forehead shapes were more feminine.
Other factors can influence how attractive or unattractive a person is, such as the ratios between the different parts of the face and the relative size of the facial features.
Because neotony is not attractive in men, a smaller face to cranial vault ratio is preferred. The ideal male forehead is therefore more narrow and more slanted than for females. For more information about sexual dimorphism and ideal skull shapes, see the Looks Theory episodes on male skulls and female skulls.
How can I change my forehead size?
Unfortunately, forehead size largely boils down to genetics. But you can reduce the perceived size of your forehead by changing the way you style your hair. If your hair is pulled back in a ponytail under a lot of tension, it will stretch out your forehead, making it wider. You should tie your hair up loosely if you are going to tie it up. If you are doing sports or any vigorous activity, it might be impractical to do so.
Also, you can grow out your bangs and let it fall naturally on your forehead. This will change how big your forehead looks because it camouflages your hairline. This way, there isn’t a clear endpoint to your forehead.
Another tip is to avoid an oily or shiny forehead. This would draw more attention to your forehead than it normally would and make it stand out. You should aim to have a balanced skin through plenty of water, a proper diet, and appropriate make-up.
There are many different hairstyles that work well to make your forehead look smaller. These are:
- A bob cut with straight bangs
- Long deep side bangs
- And a loose fringe, among others
If you want to know more, ask your hairstylist/barber. They should be able to work with you to give you a balanced haircut for your face.
A big forehead is defined as a forehead which is larger than that of 70% of the population. In males, this is 2.8 inches (7.1 cm), and for females, it is 2.4 inches (6 cm). You can roughly estimate this using your hand. Your forehead is large if it is greater than four fingers in height. However, this is an estimate, and you can do an accurate reading by using a ruler or measuring tape.
Studies have also shown that females and males differ in their average forehead shape and that large foreheads on females are considered attractive by males.