Science of Beauty: What Made Elizabeth Taylor So Attractive? (2022)

March 23, 2011— -- In her prime, Elizabeth Taylor wasn't just considered the most stunning starlet in Hollywood, but the most beautiful woman in the world.

Her famously fair face helped her seduce seven husbands, launch a celebrated career and charm millions of fans around the world.

But what was it about her beauty, exactly, that made it so special?

Of course, she had those unforgettable violet eyes and cascading mane of dark hair. But scientists say research has helped shed even more light on what made Taylor's beauty so rare.

"I think she's one of these lavish beauties," said Nancy Etcoff, a Harvard psychologist and author of "Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty. "I think Richard Burton called her a 'miracle of construction.'"

The violet eyes, Taylor's white skin and raven hair may be captivating on their own, but Etcoff said that it was the combination of them that likely boosted her allure.

"A higher contrast tends to make the face look more feminine," she said.

In studies conducted by Richard Russell, a psychology professor at Gettysburg College, she said, participants found faces with greater contrast between features (like eyes and lips) and skin to be more feminine than faces with less contrast.

Taylor's signature bold lip color and dark, made-up eyes further contributed to the effect, she said.

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"She also had a feature that most people wouldn't think of as contributing to attractiveness, but really does, which is a small, gracile jaw," she said. "Which means a jaw that is kind of small and very hyper-feminine."

In puberty, men's faces develop brow ridges and square jaws, but women's features remain less pronounced in those areas, she said.

"If we think that one sign of beauty, and there are many others, is hyperfemininity, then she has that exaggerated lower face with large lips and a small jaw," Etcoff said. "That's one aspect of beauty that's very noticeable in her face."

Taylor's Hour-Glass Figure Was Exaggerated

Taylor's face isn't the only attribute that science has found to be attractive.

"She combines that beautiful face with a very beautiful body, which is beautiful in a particular way," said Etcoff. "She's almost what we would call a super-normal stimulus, which means that her hourglass figure is exaggerated."

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Taylor's two-time husband Richard Burton may have called the actress's breasts "apocalyptic" and able to "topple empires," she said, but they were paired with a tiny, little waist.

Science has shown that the the ideal waist-to-hip ratio is 0.7, she said, but Taylor's hourglass figure supposedly boasted a 0.6 ratio.

"You think of her as voluptuous, but that combined with a tiny waist made her exaggeratedly feminine and attractive," she said.

Stephen Link, a psychologist at the University of California San Diego, said his research has shown that there are even more mathematical ratios underlying Taylor's lauded looks.

In 2009, he and two colleagues, Pamela Pallett, now with Dartmouth College, and Kang Lee of the University of Toronto, tried to uncover the facial proportions in people considered to be most attractive.

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"Your ideal feminine face is something that's been talked about for so long -- 'the face that launched a thousand ships,'" he said. "When you hear that, you conjure up a face, I wanted to measure what it was about that face that made it ideal."

They asked about 160 students to look at hundreds of faces with different proportions and discovered their "golden ratios": When the vertical distance between a woman's eyes and mouth was about 36 percent of the face's length, and when the horizontal distance between the eyes was about 46 percent of the face's width, the face was judged to be more attractive.

Link said Taylor was a perfect example.

"She was right there with the proportions of the beautiful face," he said. "Elizabeth Taylor was a great beauty and she has those proportions that are those of the ideal."

Of course, non-scientists are quick to point out that beauty is still in the eye of the beholder -- and the social context that shapes what they see.

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Lois Banner, professor of history and gender studies at the University of Southern California and author of "American Beauty," said that while Taylor's natural looks certainly contributed to her fame, her image was also bolstered by smart publicity, heavy studio support and her many love affairs.

"Beauty is a quality, in someone of that great public stature, beauty is something that operates on all kinds of levels. It's not just the initial meeting the cultural expectations and standards for beauty," she said.

Historian: Taylor Related to the Beauty Standards of Her Time

Taylor was tapped to be a star early in her career, Banner said, during a time when there were fewer Hollywood stars. That meant more pages in fan magazines, more glamorous roles sent her way and more attention lavished on her by studios and admirers.

Her many lovers also helped create an image of the highly sought-after siren.

"[The public] always likes to see stars marrying exotic men they never dreamed they could marry," she said. "On one hand she lived an ordinary life, on the other hand she lived an extraordinary life. So there were a lot of fantasy worlds that she was actualizing."

Even Taylor's many personal battles, with drugs and alcohol, helped lift her profile by keeping her in the public eye, she said.

"She was a struggling star, and the public loves a struggling star," she said.

But the 1950s was a "particular time" in the history of beauty, Banner said, and though Taylor related to the standards of her era, it's difficult to say how she would be perceived if her career peaked now.

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"We have different standards of beauty today. We see a lot of things as beautiful today they didn't see then," she said. "That doesn't mean Elizabeth Taylor wouldn't be considered beautiful today, but I doubt it would reach the extent that it did then."


Science of Beauty: What Made Elizabeth Taylor So Attractive?

Taylor's signature bold lip color and dark, made-up eyes further contributed to the effect, she said. "She also had a feature that most people wouldn't think of as contributing to attractiveness, but really does, which is a small, gracile jaw," she said.

What skincare did Elizabeth Taylor use?

In contrast with her taste in jewellery, Elizabeth was especially fond of affordable skincare brand Jergens and would often indulge in carefully applying the lotion to her skin. With time, she also introduced more premium brands like La Prairie, but continued to use Jergens with devotion.

How would you describe Elizabeth Taylor?

Goddess. Humanitarian. Activist. Wrought with tragedy, illness, excess, and romantic intrigue, the name “Elizabeth Taylor” is larger than life . She loved hard, lived large, and suffered deeply — Elizabeth Taylor's story is one of epic love, loss, and survival.

Did Elizabeth Taylor have double eyelashes?

According to NBC News, Elizabeth had a mutation on the FOXC2 gene, which resulted in her having an additional row of eyelashes. Also known as distichiasis, this double eyelash feature is a rare condition where eyelashes grow in the place of oil glands on the wet part of the eyelid.

How did Elizabeth Taylor do her eyebrows?

“She used an eyebrow pencil that was actually a drawing pencil, it wasn't makeup. It was a special charcoal pencil from Germany,” Tolot revealed.

What color are Elizabeth Taylor's eyes?

Due to her immense talent as an actress, she was a captivating screen presence and audiences often found themselves hypnotized by her famous violet eyes.

What was special about Elizabeth Taylor?

Along with her singular talent, Elizabeth was a savvy businesswoman. Her instinctive sense of her own worth led her to negotiate the first $1 million dollar contract for an actor for her role in Cleopatra. She was also the first celebrity to launch a hit fragrance brand and became the first female social entrepreneur.

How can I be like Elizabeth Taylor?

Elizabeth Taylor Make-up & Hair Tutorial HOLLYWOOD ICON SUITE

Did Elizabeth Taylor have curly hair?

An early studio portrait of Elizabeth Taylor wearing her curled hair pulled off the face with a lilac ribbon.

Can a person have purple eyes?

Can You Have Naturally Purple Eyes? Yes, natural purple eyes are possible. There are many different shades of blues and greys out there and many in-between colors. Although very rare, some people's natural pigmentation can even be violet or purple in color.

What does double eyelashes look like?

Distichiasis, or double eyelashes, is a rare condition where you have two rows of eyelashes. The second row might include a single lash, a few hairs, or a complete set. Compared to normal lashes, the extra lashes are usually thinner, shorter, and lighter.

Is it normal to have 3 rows of eyelashes?

Background and History: Eye lashes do not always grow in the proper direction and in some individuals there may be several rows instead of just one. In rare cases there may be two or even three rows. A German ophthalmologist named Blatt in 1924 first described individuals with two rows of eyelashes.

How did Marilyn Monroe do her makeup?

Marilyn used a base of white cream on her eyelids for every look. She'd blend it all the way up to the brow bone, then apply the rest of her makeup. This left a bit of white in the corners and underneath the brow to act as highlight, while the rest of the white worked as a primer for eyeshadow.

Did Elizabeth Taylor have two rows of eyebrows?

In this case, the mutation that Taylor had -- a double row of eyelashes -- only enhanced her exquisite face and stunning blue-violet eyes. Upon hearing the diagnosis, her mother reportedly thought, "Well, now that doesn't sound so terrible at all," according to the biography "Elizabeth" by J. Randy Taraborrelli.

Who looks like Elizabeth Taylor?

7. Lindsay Lohan & Elizabeth Taylor. Looks-wise, Lindsay Lohan is the living embodiment of Elizabeth Taylor.

What's the rarest eye color?

Of those four, green is the rarest. It shows up in about 9% of Americans but only 2% of the world's population. Hazel/amber is the next rarest of these. Blue is the second most common and brown tops the list with 45% of the U.S. population and possibly almost 80% worldwide.

Are hazel eyes rarer than blue?

Hazel eyes are sometimes mistaken for green or brown eyes. They are not as rare as green eyes, but are rarer than blue eyes. Only about 5 percent of the population worldwide has the hazel eye genetic mutation.

Who has the most beautiful eyes in the world?

11 Celebrities With The Most Beautiful Eyes Ever
  • Jake Gyllenhaal. The star of Nightcrawler has bright blue eyes that are as clear as day. ...
  • Beyoncé Not only is she ***Flawless, but so are her eyes! ...
  • Bradley Cooper. ...
  • Kim Kardashian. ...
  • Emma Stone. ...
  • Jennifer Lopez. ...
  • Frank Ocean. ...
  • Taylor Swift.
Mar 25, 2015

Is Elizabeth Taylor the most beautiful woman?

Top of the "300 most beautiful women" is actress Elizabeth Taylor, 70, followed by other screen stars Audrey Hepburn (died 1993), Grace Kelly (died 1982) and Ava Gardner (died 1990). Actresses make up 18 of the top 20 women, with the exceptions being Princess Diana (died 1997, in 14th place) and model Kate Moss (16th).

How do you get your hair like Marilyn Monroe?

Marilyn Monroe Hair Tutorial [Niagara 1953] - YouTube

Did Elizabeth Taylor have facial hair?

Every woman has facial hair (yes, even Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe). Both Taylor and Monroe famously shaved their faces in order to get rid of peach fuzz. It was their secret weapon for looking more youthful when the camera caught the light reflecting off their radiant skin.

Are GREY eyes real?

Less than 1 percent of people have gray eyes. Gray eyes are very rare. Gray eyes are most common in Northern and Eastern Europe. Scientists think gray eyes have even less melanin than blue eyes.

Do yellow eyes exist?

Amber or golden eyes can often be found in animals, such as cats, owls, and especially wolves, but a human containing this pigment is extremely rare. Only about 5 percent of the world's population can say they have true amber-colored eyes.

Do red eyes exist?

Red/Pink Eyes

Two major conditions cause a red or pinkish eye color: albinism and blood leaking into the iris. Although albinos tend to have very, very light blue eyes due to a lack of pigment, some forms of albinism can cause eyes to appear red or pink. Amber eyes are a beautiful honey color!

Why do I have 4 rows of eyelashes?

Lymphedema-distichiasis syndrome is a rare genetic multisystem disorder characterized by swelling of the legs because of fluid accumulation and the development of extra eyelashes (distichiasis). Distichiasis may range from a few extra lashes to a full set of extra eyelashes.

Is having 2 rows of eyelashes rare?

What Are Double Eyelashes? Distichiasis (you might hear it called double eyelashes) is a rare condition where you have two rows of eyelashes. The second row might be a full set of eyelashes, or it might be one or a few. They also might be thinner or shorter than your first row of eyelashes.

Why is there hair growing on my eyelids?

We evolved to have (or keep) hair on our eyelids because it helps keep sweat and foreign objects out of our eyes, and reduces the risk of eye infections. For early humans to have evolved this feature, it must have given them a productive advantage.

Why do I have eyelashes growing in the corner of my eyes?

What Causes It? You can get trichiasis after an eye infection, or because you've hurt your eye or eyelid. Just getting older can also cause it, because your skin becomes less elastic as you age. It's more common in adults, but children can get it, too.

Are eyelashes genetic?

Biologically, eyelashes protect our eyes from debris, dust, and other particles in the air and environment. The eyelash length is influenced by genetics, but other factors can affect it too.

What causes double eyelashes?

Double eyelashes is a medical condition which means a genetic mutation caused extra lashes to grow along the eyelid. Each eyelash sprouts out oddly due to a disorder known as distichiasis. Eye diseases such as this makes too many eyelashes grow out of tiny oil-producing glands in the eyelids.


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