Facial Expressions

Stefan Speaks

Stefan Speaks


Table of Contents

Welcome to the facial expressions section of the site!

Here you will find articles and information related to common face expressions.

You are welcome to explore the different headings and series below, the order is not really important. I do encourage you to do 2 things before you start though:

1. Check how to read body language first. It has some very important guidelines.

2. If you want to learn faster and be more practical – find a mirror to practice. Mimic the face expressions you see, and try to convey the emotion.

Think about it as acting class…
I believe it’s important because it will teach you to pay attention to details. It also will help you identify the various movements of muscles in your face.

OK, let’s start with

Masking Emotions

Our face is like a projector – It shows the world what’s going on inside. You’re happy – the face automatically wears the smile, you’re sad – and your face “melts” down. I know it’s kind of obvious, but think about it – nobody taught you how to smile or cry, and you don’t think about doing it either, it’s just happens…

We use face expressions to project our emotions for others and add the “flavor” to the words we say (imagine if we had to describe how we feel every conversation…). That’s why we understand face expressions easily and intuitively, unlike some other body language signs.

This makes facial expressions a sort of a double-edge sword when trying to read body language: it’s easy to spot and understand it, but since we can mask our emotions and hide our true intentions, it’s not the best indicator of truth.

Faking emotions however can be a very difficult task…. Because it’s like fighting an inner war – your body wants to say one thing while you try to force him to say another. We can often get a glimpse of this inner conflict with something called micro expressions.

Micro Expressions

If you’ve heard about micro-expressions it’s probably some pseudo science: someone is able to read other thoughts only by looking at their face. While not very far from the truth, microexpressions are a bit more complicated.

So what are micro expressions? They’re facial expressions that appear only for a split second; They reveal the true emotions of someone who’s trying to mask them.

Because they happen so fast however, it’s very hard for us to notice them. We may only get a certain feeling that something is wrong… but don’t quite understand the reason behind it.

Another important thing to remember is that micro expressions happen only in more critical situations, and not everyone makes them. Nevertheless, they can be an excellent indicator if someone’s lying – if you can spot them, of course.

The Guide to the Essentials of Face Expressions

There’s a lot see and understand from facial expressions and features. Luckily, most of it we instinctively know and understand, the exact “how” we leave for science to explore.

Still, there are some fines points I want to make clear so I organized a guide to the essential principles:

Complete Guide to Face Expressions – Why Faces? What’s the obsession? Learn to see behind the mask and about Emotional Regulation.


A good smile can go a long way… It’s instrumental in creating good first impression and positive atmosphere. Read more in this articles:

Complete Guide to Smiling:

  • Why do we smile?
  • What’s the downside of the smile?
  • The difference between fake and real smiles and how to spot them.
  • Variety of smiles with different meanings.

Mouth and Lips Expressions

Lips play a huge part in our facial expressions and are often associated with sexuality and other strong emotions.

Mouth and Lips in body language – What’s so special about human lips? Let’s explore some examples!

Universal Facial Expressions

There is a lot of debate about whether or not our face expressions are genetically inborn or do we learn them from our environment and culture. So far scientists discovered that they are both – some genetic and some are learned and refined . I won’t discuss each face expression, either it’s genetic or not… to tell the truth, I don’t believe it’s that important for us, the common people.

What are universal face expressions and how to recognize them:

Complete Guide to Facial Expressions


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