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Your Five Element Personality Traits for Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water


The Taoist Five Elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water have unique personality traits that define behavior and character.

Mien Shiang Face Reading and Facial Diagnosis lets you know a person’s Five Element Personality type just by studying their face.

The reverse is true, too.  If you know a person’s Five Element personality type, you have a pretty good idea that they have (or do not have) particular face shapes and the size, shape, and placement of certain facial features.

Remember, you do not have to have all of an Element’s attributes. If you have mostly Wood traits, for example, you will be considered Wood Element. If you have as many or almost as many of another Element’s traits, such as the Fire Element, you are a combination Wood-Fire Element personality.

You might have no characteristics of one or two of the Elements. In that case, you are considered deficient in that Element. For instance, if you have no Metal or Earth traits, you are considered Metal deficient and Earth deficient.


See if you can determine your Five Element personality — and the Five Element personality of anyone you know — using the few, but specific traits listed below.

Wood Element Personality Traits 木

Wood Personality Traits: These are passionate people who are quick to anger and just as quick to be ‘over it.’ They are natural leaders, focused, active, protective, and competitive.

Wood Physical Traits: You recognize Wood people by their intense gaze, strong brow bones, prominent eyebrows, and rectangular-shaped faces.

Wood’s Primary Emotion: Anger

Wood’s Complementary Emotion: Passion


Fire Element Personality Traits 火

Fire Personality Traits: Fires are charming and spontaneous people who come from the heart. They are loving, fun, hypersensitive, and can easily fall into despair from heartache.

Fire Physical Traits: Fire people have sparkling eyes, brilliant smiles, dimples, and oval-shaped faces.

Fire’s Primary Emotion: Joy 

Fire’s Complementary Emotion: Despair


Earth Element Personality Traits 大地

Earth Personality Traits: Earth people are grounded, supportive people known for their nurturing ways. They are worriers, and their nurturing can quickly become over-nurturing.

Earth Physical Traits: You recognize Earths by their full mouths; fleshy chins, nose tips, cheeks and earlobes, and square-shaped faces.

Earth’s Primary Emotion: Worry 

Earth’s Complementary Emotion: Sympathy


Metal Element Personality Traits 金属

Metal Personality Traits: Cool, clear, and elegant describe these organized perfectionists. They can appear aloof and even critical even when they’re not feeling that way.

Metal Physical Traits: You can recognize Metal people by their long, slender noses, high eyebrows, and prominent cheekbones. They often have round faces, but more consistent is their sharp, angled features.

Metal’s Primary Emotion: Grief

Metal’s Complementary Emotion: Compassion


Water Element Personality Traits 水

Water Personality Traits: Water people are wise and determined seekers-of-the-truth. They are imaginative, mysterious, and contemplative. They enjoy a good argument and are often secretive.

Water Physical Traits: Water people are easily recognized by their open, often dreamy, eyes; their rounded upper forehead, and determined full jaws. Their face shape is amorphous with the focus on their full lower cheeks.

Water’s Primary Emotion: Fear 

Water’s Complementary Emotion: Wisdom


Excerpts from The Face Reader: Discover Anyone’s Personality, Compatibility, Talents, and Challenges Through Chinese Face Reading by Patrician McCarthy, published by Dutton, 2007


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