For her sprawling history “Face: A Visual Odyssey,” designer and author Jessica Helfand assembled a dazzling cabinet of human curiosities. From police mugshots and dating-site selfies, to politicians’ headshots, Victorian death portraits and rubberised sex-dolls — all to grapple with the way our faces have been presented and judged over the centuries — and the lengths we’ve gone to, to “improve” them.

We have long tried to tweak the features nature dealt us, whether with magic creams, gadgets or exercise (even Cleopatra practiced face yoga). But today, when approximately two billion images are uploaded every day to social media — nearly 100 million of which are estimated to be selfies, according to Helfand — the pressure to appear beautiful has never been higher.

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