Learn the tricks to find out who you’ll get on with

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CHRISTMAS is a great chance to meet people. But how can you tell who you’d really get on with? Learn the tricks for reading facial features writes Gabrielle Fagan

Amid a sea of strangers how do you tell who you’ll like, and how easy is it to judge their real personalities and what they want out of life?

The answer may be written all over their faces, suggests recent research by St Andrews University which found women with feminine looks are more likely to long for lots of children.

The study found that men desperate to be dads should seek women with button noses, large eyes and full lips, as they’re likely to want at least four children.

Meanwhile, another study by the Royal Society of Biological Sciences found men with narrow faces were more likely to be deceptive.

“Our faces are the most exposed part of our body and the most revealing of us,” says Simon Brown, author of a new book, Secrets Of Face Reading.

“Not only does the face have five distinct features - its shape, eyebrows, eyes, nose and mouth - but two of these, the eyes and mouth, are highly mobile features giving out a huge amount of information about the person behind the face.”

We already ‘read’ faces without realising it, he points out, and if we see someone with features shared by someone we know we may assume they share the same characteristics.

The science of face reading originated in China, and the philosophy dictates that there are five elements which influence our lives: wood, water, fire, earth and metal.

Our faces show a mixture of these elements, but one of them dominates.

“The emotional character with which we were born will be reflected in our face, and it’s possible to ‘read’ and identify certain general traits and characteristics,” says Brown.

Follow his guide to facial characteristics and what they reveal.

Wood face: Characteristics: A tall forehead, large close-set eyes, long straight nose, narrow mouth, and strong jaw.

“Their zest for life is infectious and they’re extremely ambitious, ultra-confident and a whirlwind of ideas and plans,” says Brown.

“They have great powers of reasoning and logic but can be ruthless, impatient and get bored easily. They will often struggle to cope with those who put obstacles in their way.”

Best career choice: Jobs requiring focused analytical energy such as engineering, design, management consultancy, software development and computer services.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker and Madonna all have these facial characteristics.

Water face: Characteristics: Delicate features, deep-set, twinkly eyes, a large forehead, wide, sensual mouth and translucent skin.

They’re flexible, adaptable and although they enjoy change and variety, they think things through deeply.

“Intuition and perceptiveness are strong in these characters, and they don’t rush into new ventures,” says Brown.

“Typically, they’re engaging and affectionate and smile easily but they’re deep thinkers and won’t easily share their inner emotions.”

Best career choice: Jobs which require creativity, imagination and objectivity such as consultancy, art, photography, film, project management, writing and publishing.

Samantha Cameron and Renee Zellweger have these facial characteristics.

Fire face: Characteristics: Round, full face, large, radiant eyes, a broad nose and jaw, and a wide mouth and pointed chin.

“Spontaneous, adventurous, sociable and extrovert, these types crave attention,” says Brown.

“They’re often found in the entertainment industry, and are fun-loving, dramatic, sociable but can have a tendency to recklessness. They are likely to live for the moment and enjoy livening things up.”

They have excellent people skills, bond deeply with others emotionally, and react quickly to mood changes around them.

Best career choice: Jobs which require excellent communication skills such as marketing, sales, public relations, entertainment, advertising and retail.

Catherine Zeta Jones, Kylie Minogue and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York have these facial characteristics.

Earth face: Characteristics: Short wide forehead, wide jaw, flat, long eyebrows, large eyes and small nose.

Stability and security are at the heart of their life. They’re methodical, practical and down-to earth and try to ‘do the right thing’.

“Shy and withdrawn people with these features take time to open up but once they allow someone into their life they’re loyal and steadfast,” says Brown.

“As they feel things deeply and can be jealous, they take a long time to forgive betrayal.”

Generally, they do things in an unhurried way, are considerate, thoughtful and have a strong sense of justice and morals.

Best career choice: Jobs requiring understanding of human nature, such as human relations, health care, social services, food service and sales, agriculture.

Kate Winslet and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge both have these facial characteristics.

Metal face: Characteristics: Small, deep-set eyes, prominent cheekbones, pinched, bony nose and small, thin-lipped mouth.

Determined, focused and tenacious in reaching their goals, people with these features can appear aloof and intimidating as they’re not given to big displays of emotion.

“They do feel things deeply and their iron self-discipline can leave others feeling unsure where they stand with them, and they can appear withdrawn,” says Brown.

“But they are, in fact, deeply sensitive to other people and their environment and are great listeners and very elegant.”

They’re high achievers but can be controlling and anxious and need to be encouraged to lighten up and welcome spontaneity.

Best career choice: Jobs which require accuracy and tenacity, such as accountancy, banking, management and administration.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Cheryl Cole have these facial characteristics.

:: Information: Secrets Of Face Reading by Simon Brown, published by Godsfield Press, £12.99. Out now

Tried & Tested

Stress and sleeplessness are one of the banes of modern life, often blamed on our pressured, busy lifestyles. Laura Wurzal tests out a new sleep aid - lying on a mat covered in spikes.

What is it?

The padded cotton and foam Yantra Mat, which can be rolled up so it is portable, has around 200 plastic flowers which provide pressure points, equivalent to around 8,000 acupuncture pressure points. The theory is that lying on the surface activates the body’s natural healing process, aids circulation, and encourages relaxation which eases stress and aids sleep.

What’s it like?

I have back problems and don’t sleep particularly well. I’ve tried everything from herbal sleeping tablets to changing my mattress, but nothing’s ever really worked.

I tested the Yantra Mat first by lying on it on the floor and didn’t find it comfortable, so I opted to sleep on it for the whole night although you’re advised by the makers to slowly build up the length of your sessions on the mat.

Lying on the mat is a strange sensation - the plastic spikes in flower shapes initially produce a ticklish sensation but are not at all painful, and my skin started to feel warm where it was in contact with them. Apparently, they cause the body to release endorphins and oxytocin which provide natural pain relief.

I wore a T-shirt for my first night to avoid any irritation or discomfort but found there was no problem. I definitely feel the mat has helped me to fall asleep quicker and to sleep more deeply, so I feel more refreshed. It’s useful that the mat rolls up easily, is very light, and can be carried around in a bag so that I can enjoy the same effect no matter what mattress I’m using.

Overall, I’m converted to the Yantra Mat and now that I’m used to it, I roll it out on the floor whenever I want a quick, relaxing rest. My only complaint is that the mat isn’t full body length, and although you’re supposed to keep your neck and the lower part of the head on it, this can be very uncomfortable.

:: Information: The Yantra Mat, £39.90, is available from Holland & Barrett, pharmacies and from Lifes2good on 0845 399 0038 or at www.Lifes2good.co.uk

The mat can also be bought direct from www.yantramat.co.uk and a 45-minute Yantra routine can be downloaded free.