The eyes may be the window to the soul, but what do other features reveal about your personality – and even your prospects? Lucy Holden consults a face-reading master to find out…
I have a meaty nose. ‘Meaty?’ I say. ‘Oh dear.’
‘No, it’s a good thing!’ the woman ‘reading’ my face says. ‘It means wealth… and good marriage prospects.’ To prove it she tells me a story about a woman who had plastic surgery to reduce the size of her nose then found herself divorced and penniless. It’s almost Biblical.
Face-reading is the new palmistry, and on the back of Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking series, which launched in July and documented how the phenomenon can be used to romantically pair potential suitors, it’s having a resurgence in the UK. Linked to astrology (experts also consult birth charts), it is essentially a study of facial features and their distance from each other, every inch apparently revealing personality traits as well as health, wealth and romantic prospects.
Priya Sher, a London-based face-reading master who’s been studying the ancient Chinese art form since 2005, is in charge of finding my fate in my forehead, as well as my ‘special’ eyes, ‘meaty’ nose, ‘biggish’ chin, ‘powerful’ cheekbones and ‘promiscuous’ eyebrows. ‘Women with high cheekbones and strong features like yours usually have a lot of relationships in their 20s because men often don’t know how to handle you, and I can see you have a restless spirit that’s meant you haven’t settled,’ she explains, as I wonder whether I can reply with ‘no comment’. I’ve certainly jumped around romantically and geographically in the past decade.
‘But in the next few years your relationships will become more long-term,’ she predicts. ‘You’ll be married by 35 [I’m 30], and if you’d got married in your 20s, you’d already be divorced,’ she adds, making me immediately grateful that I didn’t marry one of the two men I easily could have in the past five years.
Priya usually charges £180 for 45 minutes. Because of social distancing, my consultation takes place by phone and the evening before I send her photos of my face. She also asks the date, location and time of birth for astrological help that will make up for not meeting in person. Normally, she would ‘feel’ a face in the way blind people do in Hollywood films. What she gathers from my birth is that there is fame and fire in the timing, and along with my face that tells her I will one day present a political satire on television and have significantly more cash by 40 (thank God). There’s no Mystic Meg vagueness here.
In short, the practice divides the face into three main areas. Our age is represented in cascading order, which allows face-readers to predict future events, they say. Forehead to eyebrows is relevant to early life (15 to 30); the eyebrows to the tip of the nose illustrating what we might face between 31 and 50, and the tip of nose to the chin hinting at what is to come after that. If you have a big chin (big equals good in face-reading, providing everything is in proportion) then later life will be kind, according to Priya. If you’re thinking it sounds a little like quackery, you’re not the only one, but she does see some of my personality traits with ease.
Priya, whose previously diverse career path spanned hotel management, consultancy and working in an auction house, came to face-reading after studying feng shui and then astrology with grand master Chan Kun Wah, a Hong Kong expert who settled in Edinburgh in the 1960s. ‘It’s an ancient oriental practice that’s been passed down from the imperial courts of China from a long lineage of masters,’ she explains. You can only become a face-reader by studying with a master, and Priya offers courses around six times a year. A three-to-four-day course costs around £600. In London, classes are held in venues as glamorous as The Ritz.
Its main aim is to provide direction to those that might need help understanding personal traits, health issues, romantic prospects and what the future may hold. It reminds me of the scenes in BBC’s Sherlock when Benedict Cumberbatch’s character analyses everything about a person in the split seconds after meeting them and astounds them with his reading. But Priya says she manages to ‘switch off’ in public in order not to stare at fellow passengers on a train, say.
‘You can tell so much about someone from their face,’ she adds, and people don’t just want to know about their own. ‘In the two months since Indian Matchmaking came out, I’ve had a lot of enquiries from people who wanted to ask about their relationships. Women often want me to look at a photo of their boyfriend and tell them whether they are compatible.’ Next year, she plans to launch a face-reading dating agency for over-30s to help people find a match that would most suit them.
Given that my reading has been fairly ego-boosting (‘Are your lips real? They’re great. I can tell from the way they go up at the sides that people like listening to you talk’), I ask whether she’d tell me if she saw something very bad in my face and she assures me she would, if it would help. ‘I’ve seen the death of people’s children in their face,’ she says, horror movie-style. ‘Or you might see the death of a spouse, fertility problems, divorce. Priya explains the loss of a child can be seen in a combination of factors, such as two deep vertical lines under the eyes running onto the cheeks. There might also be a dark aura on the face.
It sounds dramatic, but Priya is quick to point out that it doesn’t mean you’ll lose a child, it can just be an indicator – everything needs to be seen in conjunction with the other features. It doesn’t necessarily always help to know if you can’t do anything about it, but if I saw something dangerous, like heart problems, I would of course suggest someone saw a doctor. You can make recommendations that will guide people.
‘That reminds me: do you always have that red tip on your nose?’ she asks. Oh my God, my future children are going to die, I think, then remember that I got sunburnt at Studland Bay a week ago, and tell her that. ‘OK. That patch relates to digestion so it may be something to watch if it doesn’t go away. And the puffiness under your eyes, is that soft or hard?’ It’s soft. ‘That can go, then… if you drink less,’ she adds. She’s already noticed on my forehead that I ‘partied’ a fair bit in my 20s (which ended only six months ago) and I apparently have good travel lines, which sounds to me like a euphemism for wrinkles.
‘So, back to my fame and fortune,’ I say. ‘Anything else to add about that?’
The beginners’ guide to face reading
- Long, neat eyebrows with hair growing in one direction
- Focused, non-darting eyes
- Short, messy eyebrows with hair growing in both directions
- Restless eyes
- Eyes quite far apart
- Eyes closer together
- Larger, open eyes
- Nostrils slightly ‘visible’
- Eyebrows further apart and distance between eyes to eyebrows greater (if eyes are large but eyebrows thin, someone may be too generous and could be taken advantage of – proportion in all areas is key)
- Big, thick nose with hidden nostrils, tip of nose comes down
- Thin lips
- Eyes and eyebrows closer together
Positive in outlook:
- Ears are higher
- The mouth is straight or pointing upwards when resting
- Eyes are straight or pointing up at the sides
- Low ears
- Mouth turns downwards
- Eyes and eyebrows come down in depressive look
Prone to gossip:
Buck-teeth which allow information to leak out (in face-reading this is known as ‘watermelon mouth’)
Relationship issues for women:
Big forehead, high cheekbones (representing power that men may struggle to handle)