The Science of Beauty: Part 3: Photoshop & The Subconscious Standard Of Ideal Beauty

The Science of Beauty is a new feature on The Mirror Reflects. This 3 part-series will dive into the mathematics of beauty, what is considered beautiful, and how that is achieved in 2014. It looks to shatter the myths of conventional beauty and promote the ideal that everyone is beautiful. Check out part 1 here and part 2 here

In Original Ideal, editorial photographer Scott Chasserot works to uncover our subconscious beauty ideals through psychology, brain scans, and Photoshop.

Chasserot begins by taking a plain studio portrait of his subjects. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Chasserot said he selects subjects that he finds “facially very interesting. Or that have interesting stories. A few people on the website are transgender.”
Chasserot then creates 50 new images by making small manipulations to the original portrait in Photoshop. These alternations can include tweaking the size of a subject’s eyes, the tone of a subject’s skin, and the width of a subject’s nose and chin.
Chasserot’s subjects are then hooked up to an Emotiv brain scanner and shown the portraits in rapid succession.

Based on whichever portrait the individual has the most “engagement” with, Chasserot determines the subject’s ideal self-image and displays the altered portrait beside the original. Below are the results of the experiment. The photos on the right show the original subject. The photos on the left show the “ideal” alterations, as chosen subconsciously by the subject.

All Photos Courtesy of  Scott Chasserot 


Chasserot can remember the precise moment that inspired Original Ideal.

“What got me thinking was seeing a woman with four toes on each foot, from a congenital disorder. It was a hot summer day and she was wearing sandals. My gut reaction was: Wow, I would never. If I had four toes on each foot, I wouldn’t wear sandals. That vain reaction we all have sometimes.”

“My second thought was: She’s very brave. She’s intelligent enough to not care too much about what other people think of her physical appearance. It made me think about how much we project onto other people, even strangers.”

The project questions: “What do we find instinctively in the human face and how does this translate to self-image? What assumptions would be make about another person if we could see their ideal self-image? Original Ideal combines portrait photography and neuroscience to isolate the subjects’ ideal self-image, a cerebrally sincere preference obtained by circumventing conscience thought.

“The idea is to produce a set of variations that either conform to the canons of beauty that have already been established, or go against it,”saysChasserot.

He goes on to say that, “the real goal of the project is to get people to react in that way. To get them thinking about how much they’re projecting onto the subjects’ ideal self image.”

 What do we define as the ideal face, for both ourselves and others? How does our subconscious influence beauty standards today?

Our subconscious idea of what is beautiful effects every part of our lives. It reflects how you style your hair or how you do your makeup (for example, those who wish for bigger eyes might style their eye makeup in a way that makes their eyes appear wider or fuller). Next time you look in the mirror, challenge yourself to re-think the typical thoughts. Don’t just criticize your appearance. Understand that you are wired to appreciate a specific type of beauty. Learn to embrace that the beauty you see in the mirror is just as precious as the one you subconsciously desire.


Carrie Hammer’s Fashion Shows Are A Beautiful Range Of Diversity

Carrie Hammer is known for showcasing beautiful and diverse models in her fashion week shows.

Karen Crespo is just one example.

The quadruple amputee, who lost all four of her limbs after a battle with bacterial meningitis, recently hit the runway during New York Fashion Week. In doing so, she became the first quadruple amputee to model at Fashion Week.

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 7.24.49 PMKaren Crespo walks at New York Fashion Week 
Photo Courtesy of A+ News

“The emotional part is way worse than the physical part,” Crespo says. “You want to feel loved, you want to feel pretty as a girl, and I don’t feel that way.”

“I guess in a perfect world I would love to be defined as just me,” Crespo said.

Dr. Danielle Sheypuk was another historical groundbreaker, becoming the first model in a wheelchair to grace a New York Fashion Week runway after being featured in Hammer’s show.

Dr. Sheypuk, was also Ms. Wheelchair New York 2012.

“I made the decision to cast ‘role models not runway models,'” Hammer told Jezebel in an email interview. “It is so important to me that women have positive body image and are empowered in work and their life. My line makes dresses to fit women. We don’t make dresses that women need to fit into.”

Sheypuk, who has used a wheel chair since age 2, said she has a longstanding interest in designer clothing. But there was always something missing: enough role models. “People with disabilities need to see it. It’s a confidence booster. It’s like, ‘if she’s doing it, I can do it. Who cares about my wheelchair?'”

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 7.24.33 PMDr. Danielle Sheypuk on the runway at New York Fashion Week
Photo Courtesy of Jezbel

Dr. Sheypuk said she felt just like another runway model, working her fierceness down the runway.

It is great to see the diversity of different women being showcased in such a national spotlight. By walking in New York Fashion Week, these women are such great role-models for girls everywhere. They truly show that everyone is beautiful, regardless of what others may thing or what “disabilities” others think they have.

“Supervenus” Animation Challenges Beauty Standards


The new animation “Supervenus” exposes the insane extremes women go to in order to meet the beauty standards of our culture. Fréderic Doazan and Vandy Roc created the animation. In it, the women undergoes a multitude of different surgeries, including  botox, liposuction, and breast augmentations.


First, the woman must be shaved. It is far too common in our culture to stigmatize women with body hair.


While the woman undergoes botox and liposuction, the animation also shows her eyeballs being replaced. This gross dramatization shows the extreme lengths women will go to look conventionally pretty.


The women changes her body, along with her face.



She also undergoes simple cosmetic procedures. The above gif shows the animation of the woman at the tanning salon.

Here, we see the woman get repeat procedures. Often times women become “addicted” to plastic surgery, and end up getting the same procedure over and over again.


The woman gets her brain probed she has become so effected by the beauty standards, that she is almost a robot plastic and without her own thoughts.


The dramatic ending to the video and the woman’s life. While the animation does exaggerate, it graphically and dramatically shows how many women are effected by  the impossible beauty standards our society imposes on them. Being worried about your looks all the time is not healthy and repeating cosmetic procedures over and over again to achieve an impossible standard isn’t heathy either. This animation is extremely impactful and emphasizes the impossible beauty standards that women are forced to endure each day.

Check out the entire video here!


Real Women, Real Bodies

College women at the University of Wyoming banded together to create the Real Women, Real Bodies organization.

The organization, whose mission is “to confront the modern perception of beauty,” recently exhibited silhouettes of women at their on-campus gallery.The campaign aims to capture the ‘real’ woman’s body type – no matter the size or shape.

All women are unique and beautiful, and this organization is doing wonders at promoting that idea.

“[The photographs] allow the community to see that bodies arebeautiful, no matter the size, shape, or length. Each poster is different fromthe next, and we hope to highlight these differences through our campaign,” Sydney Stein, President of the organization, explained in a press release.

Take a look at 15 of the amazing images below.

mcx-real-bodies-5 mcx-real-bodies-3 mcx-real-bodies-2 mcx-real-bodies-6 mcx-real-bodies-7 mcx-real-bodies-14 mcx-real-bodies-16 mcx-real-bodies-4 mcx-real-bodies-8 mcx-real-bodies-9 mcx-real-bodies-10 mcx-real-bodies-11 mcx-real-bodies-12 mcx-real-bodies-13 mcx-real-bodies-15All Photos Courtesy of Real Women, Real Bodies

Marc Jacobs Sends Models Down The Runway With Absolutely No Makeup models at Marc Jacobs wore absolutely no makeup
Photo Courtesy of Marie Claire

While “nude” faces that actually involve a painstakingly long process of light makeup have been seen on the runways for years, Marc Jacobs took that trend and elevated it this year. He sent his models down the runway with completely bare faces- no eyeliner, to lipstick, no nothing. Jacobs sent some of the most prestigious models of the times- including Adriana Lima, Kendall Jenner, Candice Swanepoel, Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid- down the runway complexly barefaced. Jacobs clearly showed that barefaced does not equal ugly or unprofessional.

While Nars admitted that there would be the tiniest bit of concealer should there be a blemish, he relied purely on moisturizer and skipped even as much as lip balm, mascara, under-eye cover-up or even a good oil blot.

“We love the shine like you see on the nose, and around the eyes,” Nars told Fashionista. “It’s real life.”

The models backstage
Photo Courtesy of Elle

The #iwokeuplikethis face was a perfect complement to the Ramones-inspired, fringed bob wigs (this is the fourth season in a row Jacobs has opted for wigs) and utilitarian vibe of the line. “Marc sees them almost like an army of girls on the runway,” explained Nars of NARS Cosmetics, who did the non-makeup look for Jacob’s runway said. “The colors of the clothes are really military: beige, khaki, camels, chocolates. The actual color comes from the set, which is quite bright. So the makeup is actually on the house, not on the girls.”

1D274906761842-today-marcjacobs-no-makeup-140912-11.blocks_desktop_mediumAdrianna Lima at Marc Jacobs
Photo Courtesy of Elle

“This goes back to one of the looks that I’ve always loved — bare skin, nothing on the face, lips or eye, just beautiful skin,” Nars said in a statement. “I love makeup but I also love seeing women without makeup. To me, it’s a great way to show fashion … I like the idea that what you see is what you get.” Jenner on the Marc Jacobs runway
Photo Courtesy of E! News

This trend is not only because it’s easier and so low-maintenance, but because it’s also empowering. “In 2014, it’s great that we are doing this,” Nars runway said. “In the ’60s, ’50s, and ’40s, women had to wear makeup. It was a rule. Today there are no rules: You can do anything you want.”

1D274906759377-today-marcjacobs-no-makeup-140912-01.blocks_desktop_mediumAnother makeup-less model looks fabulous on Jacobs’ runway
Photo Courtesy of Elle 

Back To School Ads Feature Models With Disabilities

Back-to-school ads are everywhere. But, one Katie Dirscoll noticed that there was something missing in all those ads- children with disabilities. 4-year-old daughter Grace has Down syndrome, but she participates in all of the same back-to-school rites that other kids do. Driscoll was appalled when she noticed that no ads featured other children like her daughter.

enhanced-7485-1407942185-2Back to school ads should feature a variety of different children
Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed

“It was almost like the children who had differences were not even part of the general school population or would be returning to school this year,” she told The Huffington Post in an email. “All kids of all abilities share the same excitement and anxiety about returning to school,” she added. “The imagery needed to reflect that.”

So, she co-founded the Changing the Face of Beauty campaign. According to the website, the goal of the campaign is “to continue the conversation about integration in the media and advertising as well as encourage others to do the same”. The campaign seeks to include children with disabilities in mass media advertising. It also hopes to put pressure on advertisers to use more people with disabilities in ads.

“I believe imagery is the strongest form of communication we have. It’s such a visual world that when we see something, we believe it,” Driscoll told the Huffington Post. “That’s why advertising is so powerful.”

enhanced-25416-1407942186-2The  back to school ads were diverse in both gender, race and disability
Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed

To get different clothing products for the children to wear in the add, Driscoll contacted many different clothing companies and asked if they had ever thought about including models of different abilities in their ads. Among those companies who were on board with the ideas, was actress and author Tori Spelling’s Little Maven children’s clothing line. Last fall, they shot a holiday lookbook that included Driscoll’s daughter. Driscoll is continuing to work with Little Maven.o-SEAM-3-570

o-SEAM-COLLECTION-570Driscoll’ daughter Grace (far right), in the Little Maven Holiday Lookbook
Photo Courtesy of Huffington Post


“I love proving to designers that their line looks good on all children!” she told the Huffington Post.

“My hope is that the images will make all families feel a little bit more comfortable about returning to a new school year because through this imagery all children are included,” she told the Huffington Post. “My hope is that every family can relate to these images.”

enhanced-8123-1407942186-4Students with disabilities across America will see people like them in these back-to-school ads
Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed

The recent inclusion of the first model in a wheelchair during New York Fashion Week is further evidence that in the future disabilities could become a non-issue in the modeling industry, Driscoll says.

enhanced-3467-1407942184-12enhanced-25581-1407942188-2The call for diversity is spreading across the fashion industry
Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed

“I think people are hearing and seeing the response from our world and realizing that it does make a difference to a large portion of population,” she said.

 enhanced-7345-1407942184-11 in 691 babies are born with down syndrome
Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed

She believes most people, more often than not, really want to see more diversity in media. “How can we expect children to be accepting of children who are different if they are virtually none existent in the general media and advertising,” Driscoll told Buzzfeed. The campaign aims to change that perception, and include more children with a range of disabilities in the advertisements. The positive work they do should inspire kids everywhere- regardless of whether or not they have a disability.

enhanced-4068-1407942187-11The campaign is gaining media attention and changing perspectives across America
Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed

The Science of Beauty: Part 1: An Experiment in Morphing

The Science of Beauty is a new feature on The Mirror Reflects. This 3 part-series will dive into the mathematics of beauty, what is considered beautiful, and how that is achieved in 2014. It looks to shatter the myths of conventional beauty and promote the ideal that everyone is beautiful. Check out part 2 here and part 3 here

The Most Beautiful Women in the World- An experiment in morphing 

Norwegian artist Marius Vibe wanted to discover what the “most beautiful women in the world” would look like.

In his post titled “Combined Beauty” the artist explained his reason for the experiment. He noted:

“I started thinking about faces. And beauty. And combinations of faces.
Suddenly, I wondered what would happen if one were to mix faces and create new ones several times, within the framework of beauty – what would happen?
* Would the faces cease to be beautiful?
* Would the faces start to look similar?
* Would the faces actually look like existing persons?
* Would certain patterns of beauty emerge?”

He chose to use the top eight women from Maxim’s 2011 Most Beautiful Girl List, though he noted he regrets “not using picks of my own when I see that this list is almost exclusively comprised of white women”, but wanted to remain “objective” throughout the experiment by using an external list.


Here’s Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Natalie PortmanRosie_plus_Natalieenhanced-21739-1409839238-7

Olivia Munn and Anne Hathaway


Bar Refaeli and Katy Perry

Mila Kunis and Cameron Diaz


After morphing the first generation, the artist noted:

“* I’m looking at what could’ve been real-life women, and I wonder: are there four women out there who look exactly like these four?
If so: isn’t that creepy? Is there a combination of two people out there for all of us – mix a and b 50/50, and he/she will look exactly like you?
* I’m also noticing that they haven’t yet taken a full step into the realm of “unreality” – something I am sure will occur at some point of time. Not by the “first generation”, then.
* I think these four hypothetical women can still be considered beautiful, like their “parents”. So far,combinations of beauty have produced beauty… something that supports the idea that beauty is all aboutmathematics and symmetry and such.
(I’m making a mental note that I should try to combine unconventional beauty someday and see what happens. Say, Uma Thurman and… uh… someone similarly unconbeautiful).”

Vibes final image, the woman he considers to be the “Most Beautiful Women” in the world


The artist never conducted this experiment with the “unconventionally beautiful” women, so I decided to do so. I wanted to see if a morph of these women could be just as equally beautiful as the women above. My hypothesis is: hell yes, it absolutely will be. 

My top 8 unconventionally beautiful women are as follows:

1. Cara Delevingne

2. Kate Moss
Kate Moss

3. Uma Thurman

4. Laverne Cox

5. Taii Gordon

6. Zosia Mamet
Glamour Presents "These Girls" at Joe's Pub - Arrivals

7. Leila Goldkuh

8. Samara Wiley

1. Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss


2. Laverne Cox and Uma Thurman

3. Taii Gordon and Zosia Mamet


4. Leila Goldkuh and Samara Wiley

securedownload Next, I morphed these morphs together.

Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss with Laverne Cox and Uma Thurman




Taii Gordon and Zosia Mamet with Leila Goldkuh and Samara Wiley


THE FINAL IMAGE, all 8 morphed together:

The final image is clearly a beautiful women. Let’s go back to Vibe’s original questions:

“I started thinking about faces. And beauty. And combinations of faces.
Suddenly, I wondered what would happen if one were to mix faces and create new ones several times, within the framework of beauty – what would happen?
* Would the faces cease to be beautiful?
* Would the faces start to look similar?
* Would the faces actually look like existing persons?
* Would certain patterns of beauty emerge?”

The faces clearly didn’t cease to be beautiful. By adding and subtracting certain elements, the face didn’t become distorted or ugly. No certain patterns of beauty emerged. In fact, the conclusion I have come to is that – everyone is beautiful. These individuals are beautiful and “unconventional” on their own, and they remained to be beautiful when they were morphed together. It’s clear that no certain eyes are beautiful or certain face shape that looks the best. All elements work together to create a unique individual, who is beautiful. When a women looks in the mirror, she shouldn’t focus in on an individual part of her body. So often we worry “are my eyes too far apart? are my lips too thin? are my lips to big? are my cheakbones prominent enough?

These worries need to stop.

Mashing faces together taught me that no matter who you morph together, no matter what you add or subtract, the resulting individual is always going to be beautiful and unique.The most beautiful women in the world that Vibe feels he created- that woman may exist- but no one can judge her as the most beautiful. Is it the shape of her lips that makes her more beautiful than my final “unconventional” morph? Not necessarily- beauty cannot be pinpointed to one particular part of the face. There are too many different variables to compare. There are an exponential amount of face shapes, eye shapes, lip shapes, etc. All are unique and all are beautiful. We cannot quantify beauty, we cannot create the most beautiful women, because it is simply too subjective.

My experiment led me to this final conclusion: everyone is beautiful and unique.