This study was designed to evaluate detailed philtral morphology involving sex and racial differences and to clarify the objective parameters related to subjective judgments regarding the clarity of the philtrum. Fifty-five Japanese and 20 Mexican normal subjects aged 24 to 40 years were recruited, and three-dimensional facial data were acquired using a noncontacting optical surface scanner. The visual classification of the philtral column morphology in Japanese adults using facial photographs revealed that the predominant philtral column shape was different by sex. The three-dimensional anthropometric data showed significant sex differences, which were reflected in the more pronounced visual impression of the philtrum in men. A comparative study between Japanese and Mexican women also revealed certain racial differences. Furthermore, both the philtral depth and central angle of Cupid's bow were extracted as explanatory variables related to the subjective judgments for the clarity of the philtrum. These results suggest that the comprehensive evaluation of philtral morphologic features by three-dimensional analysis is a useful means of identifying the ideal parameters in philtral construction in cleft surgery.