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Face Reading 101 with Eric Standop

Last week we met Eric Standop, a renowned face reader and author at the Mandarin Oriental in Central to kick off his residency at the Mandarin Spa. We had him debunk a few face reading beliefs that you may or may not have heard from a Hong Kong auntie or two. Have you ever been told that having a small forehead or a flat nose means you’ll grow up poor? Flat-nosed friends, rejoice: for nose height has nothing to do with how fat your future bank account will be, aunties be damned.  

There’s no skirting around it: face reading is often lumped into the categories of astrology, palm-reading, tarot cards, and practices of similar ilk. However, as we heard Eric Standop explain the nuances of face reading, we concluded that face reading seems more aligned with a form of ultra-sensitive body language analysis than an arbitrary assignment of fate to facial features. Standop is versed in eight different cultural methods of face reading, from Chinese mein shang to Greek and Roman techniques of physiognomy. 

Below, Eric Standop debunks face reading myths and gives us a crash course on a few face reading basics, including the three golden rules of face reading, along with what happens when we get fillers and plastic surgery (besides the obvious, of course.) 


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Golden Rule No. 1: The left and right sides of your face are never the same.

“Over the years, the left and right sides are changing. The reason being that the right and left sides of the brain are connected to opposing sides of the face. When you have changes in your brain, you collect different experiences and knowledge over the years. Because of that, you can read predispositions and preferences in your brain writing on the right or left side of the face.  

Say someone is a strong right side thinker, you’ll see it on the left side of the face. Then you only have to know what the right and left sides of the brain each stand for. The right side of the brain is about dreaming, feeling, colours, and it stimulates the left side of the face. So you can see preferences. Over the years this changes in relation to your preferences and talents, things like that.”


Golden Rule No. 2: The eyes and mouth are the most important features  

“Nothing is as important as the eyes and mouth. Why? There are 43 muscles in the face, and most of them are around the eyes and mouth. Whatever nose you have, whatever ears you have, it doesn’t count if your eyes and mouth say the opposite.  

Say if in Chinese face reading they say, “This nose is telling me you’re like this-and-that,” but the eyes have an opposing view, the eyes overrule. One of the biggest mistakes in modern face reading is going by the book.  

So if you’re on a date, having a conversation, use the eyes and mouth as the most important tools. Hold eye contact. What we do when we talk is the triangle look, our gaze goes eye-eye-mouth, eye-eye-mouth. If you stray from that, you have no contact with a person.” 


Golden Rule No. 3: The no prophecy rule 

“A face cannot give a prophecy. A face is a written book, it tells more about the past. But as we know, our past reflects repeated patterns of behaviour, good or bad. And that is when face readers give a prophecy or destiny — they often read the past to give an idea of the future. But it doesn’t mean that it will happen.  

You are the master of your own destiny, but you can only change your destiny if you really change. Otherwise, how you developed affects your life-course. So face-readers must understand that no, they’re not predicting the future. But it’s very obvious that if you behave a certain way and you don’t change, then XYZ will happen.”  


Bonus Rule No. 4: Take face-shape reading with a grain of salt  

“The most common form of Chinese face reading is one that deals with around 30 different face shapes, where each face shape is associated with a set of behavioural traits. Here comes the problem: that technique is 3000 years old. We don’t look like people from 3000 years ago. Nowadays, a lot of people have a mix of face shapes, and that is the challenge.  

Face shapes are good for learning face reading, because it gives you quick access to someone. But it’s not as detailed, because it offers 30 boxes which you can maybe mix and match, but people are more than that.”  


Bonus Rule No. 5: Forehead lines can tell how you think, and what you think about

“When it comes to single features, there’s nothing more expressive than lines on the forehead. To read the forehead is a very strong tool to read someone’s mind in a way. How is this guy thinking? Then it’s easy to find out what he’s thinking at the moment.  

Let’s say we have a situation, and I can read how the guy thinks. I can now apply that knowledge to predict how that guy will think in that particular situation. This is how mentalists work, by the way.  

Lines between the eyes tell you more about how someone thinks. Lines on the forehead tell you more about interests. A general rule is that lines at and above the eye level describe how you think, feel, interests, etc. Lines below the eyes describe health and physical condition.”  


Bonus Rule No. 6: Birthmarks are still kind of a mystery

“Birthmarks are definitely the most mystical part of face reading. When you’re born with birthmarks, and they don’t change over the years, what does that mean? Chinese face reading especially, says a lot on the subject. So birthmarks mean, here is something given by birth to tell who you are, what you stand for, what your disposition is. Could we say that’s superstitious? Yeah, maybe.  

In Chinese face reading, there are 108 recognised birthmarks on the face. Even I don’t have that in my head. Are you kidding? This one is interesting though, if you see it: if a woman or a man has a birthmark on their Adam’s apple, that changes the warrior into a dreamer, and the dreamer into a warrior. In other words, it changes the woman into a fighter, and the man — usually the warrior — into a dreamer, someone softer. That one always works.” 


Just curious: What happens if someone has fillers or plastic surgery?  

“Fillers first: fillers delete lines, meaning they delete messages or information. The good thing is it’s like deleting 10-15 pages of a 180-page book — sometimes what they delete is just a little note. 

Plastic surgery is harder, because it can change the whole expression of a face. So you read back, if you know what I mean. Why did that person want to change their nose? Why did they want to have this exact nose, what does this nose stand for? There’s a lot more investigation and combining.  

But you cannot change your personality or fate with plastic surgery. You only change your appearance, and that can change how people react to you, which in turn, might change your character as you react to these new reactions.” 


Eric Standop is in Hong Kong at the Mandarin Spa offering face reading consultations from now until 30th May, along with private masterclasses. Contact mohkg-spa@mohg.com for prices and reservations. 


Face Reading 101 with Eric Standop

Vanessa Lee

Managing Editor

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