Most of the preconceptions we have around gender come from cultural norms. Those ideas also influence the way you think about human bodies and facial structure. For example, even though some women have wide shoulders and men have long eyelashes, seeing those features on those bodies can be disconcerting. But which characteristics do we usually think of as masculine facial features?
More importantly, is there a way to make your face appear manlier? If you want to learn the answers to those questions, you’ve come to the right place!
What’s the Difference Between a “Masculine” and a “Feminine” Face?
Most people have a unique set of features that are influenced by their genetics. The general shape of your face as well as your features are the things that set you apart from the crowd. Whether you like it or not, other people use these things to make assumptions about you.
Crucially, your facial features and hair are often the first signs that reveal your gender to other people. Even if a woman has a typically masculine, straight nose, the rest of her features will identify her as a member of the fair sex. Still, that just shows that there is a real difference between feminine and masculine facial features.
Whenever you’re dealing with sharp dichotomies, you should know that each category exists in contrast to the other. In this case, masculine features only exist because other people have feminine ones. With that in mind, let’s talk about what a more womanly face might look like.
The Hallmarks of a Feminine Face
Traditionally, the ideas of a feminine appearance are centered around soft, delicate, even typically youthful lines. Women’s faces are usually rounded, oval, or heart-shaped, with a soft brow ridge, and a gently curved nose. Girls also tend to have arched eyebrows that peak around the outside third of their length.
They have lifted cheekbones and rounded cheeks, fuller lips, and smaller chins than men usually do. On top of all that, women often have a softer, more rounded hairline, which further enhances the overall delicate appearance of their faces.
Of course, all of these features don’t usually appear on a single face. They just represent the ideal characteristics of a feminine face as we understand them right now. Women who don’t have these features aren’t necessarily unattractive or less than feminine. In any case, our ideas about what makes a person feminine are always subject to changes.
Having said that, let’s talk about the features that make some people look manlier than others.
9 Masculine Facial Features
As you now know, most of the attributes people think of as masculine only exist in contrast to feminine ones. If a woman’s face is soft and rounded, a man’s is more angular, narrow, or boxy.
Typically, the features we consider to be manly are etched across the face in deeper and sharper lines. After all, testosterone has a way of eliminating that layer of fat under one’s skin until the bone structure underneath becomes more evident. With that in mind, let’s talk about the specific features that can make a face look more masculine.
1. Wide Forehead
Moving from the top down, the first feature that can make a face seem more masculine is a wide, boxy forehead. That particular feature is especially noticeable if the hairline above it is particularly sharp. Moreover, masculine foreheads are usually more sloped than feminine ones, which are practically vertical. However, that angle depends on several factors, including a person’s ethnic background.
2. Strong Brow Bone
Unlike women, men tend to have a prominent brow bone that splits their foreheads in two horizontally. The feature is usually accentuated by low-set brows.
3. Thick Straight Eyebrows
Men’s eyebrows are usually straighter than women’s, mostly since that pronounced arch is, in part, a result of careful plucking. Speaking of which, men tend to let their brows grow in without much alteration. Therefore, having a slight unibrow and a somewhat bushy appearance is to be expected.
4. Deep-Set Eyes
If the general preference for women’s eyes is to look fresh and youthful, you could say that the default for men would be the opposite. That’s why intense, deep-set eyes look so manly. Furthermore, having undereye bags is also a somewhat desirable masculine trait.
5. Straight Nose
In addition to a pronounced brow ridge, the nose is often the most notable feature on a man’s face. It’s usually straighter and wider than the stereotypically feminine button nose. However, having a dorsal hump or even a crooked nose is also considered masculine. Most of the time, people think of those deformations as a result of typically masculine rowdy behavior.
7. Thin, Wide Lips
As you know, masculine facial features only exist in opposition to whatever you consider feminine. So since women strive to have full, yet somewhat narrow lips, manly lips would be thin and wide.
8. Flat Cheeks
The cheeks are another feature that can only be masculine once you understand the desired look women are trying to achieve. Generally, rounded cheeks are considered feminine or even childlike. Most men eventually grow into their faces by losing those cheeks.
Instead, they should ideally have somewhat flat but chiseled features. Even a dimple or two wouldn’t be out of place on a face like that.
9. Square Jaw
Speaking of chiseled, it’s time for the main event. A prominent, square jawline is the only way to balance the brow and nose-heavy appearance of a typically masculine face.
The gonial angle of a man’s jaw is usually more defined than you’d see in a woman. Additionally, having a cleft in your chin can make you look even manlier. Just look at Henry Cavill!
Can Facial Features Be Changed?
At this point, you might be wondering whether you can achieve the ideal masculine facial features we have just discussed. Well, nowadays, anything is possible.
On the one hand, you could simply use makeup to deepen your features, carve out some cheekbones and make your jawline more pronounced. Cosplayers already use all those techniques, complete with drawing on straighter, bushier eyebrows.
Another way to change your face shape is to gain or lose weight. Either would affect your appearance. But if your goal is to look more masculine, losing a few pounds may help. Just remember to gain the weight back in muscle!
If you’re going to exercise, you could even incorporate facial stretches and massages into your routine. According to research, that might help you get the sharp jawline you’re looking for.
Lastly, you could consider medical interventions. Some cosmetic procedures are less invasive. For example, fillers could change your appearance by plumping certain areas to make others look more depressed. But if you’re willing to go through plastic surgery, there’s no limit to what you can achieve with various contouring techniques.
Interestingly, a majority of trans men don’t get facial surgery. Taking testosterone usually makes their facial features become more masculine on their own. So before you look into invasive surgeries, you might want to try hormone therapy.