When it comes to talking about key features that make your face stand out, the eyes (the windows to the soul), nose and mouth all automatically spring to mind. However, according to a recent study conducted by Yahoo Health, it’s the brows that hold the highest face value.
Beyond their function as a filter against dust, dirt, and sweat, brows have a strong social significance for “emotional expression as well as facial recognition,” according to a study.
“Because they’re critical for emotional expression, as well as facial recognition, we’re all subconsciously cued into each other’s brows: how and when they move and what they look like. As a result, we place a lot of stock in changes to their shape, colour, and size,” said Javid Sadr, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Lethbridge in Canada.
The findings may not come as a surprise to many, given the fact that eyebrow grooming (and the quest for perfectly-shaped brows), is now an inherent part of our beauty routine. From the humble beginnings of the brow tint and the HD Brow to Eyebrow Extensions, and Ombré Eyebrows, industry experts are fascinated by them, and so are the rest of us.
Thankfully, our obsession is now backed up by some scientific evidence. Sadr and his fellow researchers conducted a study, published in the journal Perception, where they showed people 25 images of celebrities without eyebrows, and then another 25 snapshots of celebrities without them. Interestingly, the study participants correctly identified about 56 percent of the celebs with eyebrows, but only a small percentage of those who were were brow-free. The study’s conclusion? That eyebrows are even more important than eyes for recognising people.
“The role of eyebrows in facial recognition may help explain why models with distinct brows — think Cara Delevingne and Cindy Crawford — often rise to the top. Since females naturally have more arched, thinner, and higher-set eyebrows than men, a woman who embraces a more ‘masculine brow’ will inevitably stand out,” explained Izzat Jarudi, a co-author of the Perception study.
“I don’t think you’ll find any models going for the Frida Kahlo unibrow, but just a little bit thicker [than the female norm], with just a little bit less arch — that’s definitely going to get you attention.”
We now have another excuse to spend many hours focused on plucking those tiny hairs to perfection. Thank you, science.