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Face Reading: Does It Work?

Do Your Features Predict Your Personality?

Your face says a lot about your emotional state and energy levels, but can you really learn much about a person's salient personality traits from their features? Some people believe that face-reading is a useful practice and rely on texts like the Han Dynasty's Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine by Huang Ti to conduct health and problem-solving analyses.

According to Huang Ti, there are five elemental face "types": Water, Earth, Fire, Wood, and Metal. Your features reveal the kind of energy that drives your personality in both positive and negative ways. We decided to have a little fun with physiognomy, so if you're curious about what people in the third century thought your face said about you, just keep reading.


People with long faces, bold eyebrows, and strong jawlines are considered "wood" energy, which is associated with springtime, logic, high levels of organization, and enthusiasm. They often become quickly irritated, however, and may get carried away by novel ideas.



People with small faces, petite lips, and high cheekbones (think Kirsten Dunst) are supposed to embody quiet, inward-turned metal energy. They have great drive and strong principles, but they're supposed to have difficulty relaxing or being playful.


Big, shiny eyes, a tendency to blush, and high, full cheekbones are associated with this energy, which is related to hot weather, easily seen emotions, deep emotional connections, and (negatively) with anxiety or hysteria.


High foreheads, hooded, deep-set eyes, and strong chins are associated with water and, like the substance, are supposed to be highly adaptable and calm on the surface despite having lots of energy underneath. They tend to be secretive and hide feelings and opinions even when they shouldn't have to.


People with strong, wider jaws and full lips are supposed to have the pragmatic, reliable energy associated with the earth element and are also said to be extremely loyal. They're also, however, supposed to be extremely protective, given to jealousy, and quick to feel betrayed.

Do any of these connect with you? And what about people who've had plastic surgery — do you think their personalities change with their features, or is it the other way around?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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hazelberry hazelberry 5 years
Metal all the way.
hazelberry hazelberry 5 years
Metal all the way.
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 5 years
I have a wood face, but metal personality.
arcticpuppet arcticpuppet 5 years
my features are a mix of wood and fire, and the descriptions are spot on! hahaha love this!
ViolaMorbid ViolaMorbid 5 years
My best friend fits fire PERFECTLY. But she does have a very wide jaw, so that's a bit Earth... I don't match any of these.
ViolaMorbid ViolaMorbid 5 years
My best friend fits fire PERFECTLY. But she does have a very wide jaw, so that's a bit Earth...I don't match any of these.
GummiBears GummiBears 5 years
A combo of earth and wood over here.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 5 years
Yeah, I feel like my facial features are a mixture of wood, metal, and water, so I don't know...
babebaloo babebaloo 5 years
and by much i meant match* my bad.
babebaloo babebaloo 5 years
most people i know don't fit just to one category and they certainly do not much these characteristics
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