{Symmetry, Wabi-sabi & True Beauty}

Wabi-sabi cup (Etsy); Du Juan, Shanghainese supermodel (Google)

“Which side of Du Juan’s face do you notice first? The left or the right?”

–> Don’t think. Just notice your first response. <–


If you notice the right side of the face more (as ~70% of the population would), you’re more left-brained. You prefer to analyse things that enter your senses, making decisions based on logic. 

If you notice the left side of the face more, you’re more right-brained. It’s more likely that you’re a fellow left-hander, preferring gut feelings, intuitions and emotions as guides to deciding what comes next in life.

Based on the science of laterality, the simple act of looking at a person’s face can tell you a lot about yourself. And about the other person. For ourselves, knowing which side of the face we tend to look at first, points to us our preferred brain hemisphere of choice when processing the world. By choosing to look at one side over the other, it points out just how much we tend to look at what we prefer, spending less time or ignoring the side that feels more inconvenient. 

Besides shedding more light about our decision-making process, the left and right side of the face tell us a lot of hidden information of ourselves and the other:

Health, personality, masks & true emotions.


{Symmetry & Wabi-Sabi}

We often try to make our faces (and bodies) look more symmetrical. Make-up to balance out our facial features (notice how the eyeliner is thicker on one side than the other?) Gym & training equally on both sides to make sure you get equally big biceps (cf. Rafael Nadal). We are biologically and socially conditioned to view highly-symmetrical faces as beautiful, as that’s strongly linked to better health, better reproductive success and a better choice of a mate to create more of ourselves to pass down our genes with.

But the fact that we all need to draw our eyeliner thicker on one eye shows a lot, doesn’t it? Digging deeper: Why do we try so hard to mask our natural beauty, rather than choosing to embrace it?

It is true that our faces are asymmetrical. That is human nature, a fact of life so beautifully embraced by the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi — embracing the existence and presence of imperfections.

‘Wabi-sabi’ can be aptly summed up as: “You are beautiful because of your imperfections”as opposed to the common saying of, “You are beautiful despite your imperfections.”

Why do facial asymmetry occur and how can we gain more insight into ourselves by noticing these asymmetries? Let’s find out! 🙂


” If eyes were the windows to our souls, then faces would be the windows to our personalities. “


It is said that you can deduce one’s true emotions by looking at their left face. Why? That’s because our intuition (gut feelings and sense of ‘true self’), deepest desires and feelings are governed more by our right brain. Since the right brain controls the left side of our body, it also shows itself as a natural preference for looking at the left side of another person’s face.

Conversely, you can tell the kind of image (“mask”) that the other person wants to put on, by looking at the right side of their face. Since the left brain is linked to logical reasoning and rational thinking, which by extension, governs the control of our “Projected Self-image”, the right face shows how we want to project ourselves to the outside world, and can also be seen as the mask that we put on for the others. Drawing deeper into face-reading, it is also believed that the left face is affected by the father’s influence and the right face is under mum’s influence (Why is this the case, I am not sure…)

For example, if someone has a beautiful smile but you notice that the right lip is going up more than the left, it might mean that the he/ she wants to portray a “happy” exterior, but is actually not so happy inside. 

To discover more about face-reading (or ‘mian xiang‘, 面相 as it’s called), you can check out the following links 🙂 The more practice you get, the better you get!


An Idiot’s Guide to Face-reading }

How would people look like if they were all right faced? }


Hopefully with these, we are better able to look deeper within ourselves (pun unintended). Knowing the underlying biological basis for our preferences, you can also guess pretty spot-on, key traits of another person just by the face alone.

That said, everything goes both ways. Knowing that another person can assess you the same way too, makes you more aware of what expressions you show too! So, have fun! 🙂

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Author: Mins Teo

A Singaporean who enjoys solo backpacking and exploring places through locals' tastes and lives. Currently volunteering as a Yoga Teacher in the Mindfulness Project, Khon Kaen, I hope to learn traditional dances of places that I visit, combine them with modern dance into a unique fusion, and to spread the joys of moving in villages via dance workshops and movement meditation.

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