Eyesight is a powerful sense—but the eyebrows? It turns out they’re surprisingly mighty, too!

Eyebrows help protect your eyes.

Whether combating sweat, rain or snow, dirt or dust, your eyebrows are like a filter and aqueduct designed to help keep moisture and debris out of your eyes. Anatomically speaking, the shape of your forehead and the eyebrows sitting on the ridge above your eyes work together with your eyelids and eyelashes to protect your eyes.

Of course, eye protection is the most important purpose your eyebrows serve. But these hairy wonders do a lot more.

For example, take a look at yourself in the mirror and imagine what you’d look like without eyebrows. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Do you think your family and friends would recognize you without your eyebrows? Research published in the Journal of Vision (June 2013) suggests that there’s a very good chance they wouldn’t, at least not at first.

Eyebrows are very important for facial recognition.

In short, missing eyebrows disrupt our brain’s ability to recognize faces.

Expanding on earlier research showing how important the eye area is to facial recognition, researchers at California State University, Fullerton, studied the relative role of eyes, eyebrows, and the eye region in face recognition. Researchers asked study participants to decide whether pictures of two faces shown one after the other were the same person or different people. Compared to when no changes were made to the two faces, when the eyebrows were digitally removed from one face, there was a significant drop in the number of people who recognized that the two pictures were of the same person.

Eyebrows enhance facial expressions and are key to non-verbal communication.

How often have you been able to tell what someone was thinking based solely on the look in his or her eyes?

From the happy, wide-eyed look of excitement to a frowning brow of discontent, your eyes and eyebrows can speak volumes. Non-verbal cues like facial expressions and body posture (body language) make up a large portion of our daily communication. Your eyebrows can help signal when you’re amused, curious, skeptical, confused, and more.

These subtle and not-so-subtle cues can have a big impact on people’s perception of you and how you relate to them.

Eyebrows help define your appearance.

Gee, what do you suppose these people all have in common?

  • Mexican painter Frida Kahlo
  • Funny men Groucho Marx and Eugene Levy
  • Model Cara Delevingne
  • Martial artists Bruce Lee and Jet Li
  • Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame
  • Actors Sean Connery, Megan Fox, Moon Geun Young, and Jack Nicholson
  • Mona Lisa, as painted by Leonardo da Vinci

Real or fictional, many people are known for their distinctive eyebrows—or lack thereof in Mona Lisa’s case. Whether you’re going for a fashionably tweezed look or an extra-manly unibrow, the eyebrows can certainly help define your appearance.

Have we missed anything?

What is it about the eyebrow that stands out to you? Let us know in the comments section below!

Nothing in this blog post is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.
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Comments

I did not realize they were so important - many women pluck them away and paint ones on their face. Perhaps that is not such a good idea!

I agree with Veronica. Eyebrows are so important i always tell people to leave your eyebrows alone. This article was right on! I get complimented on my brows all the time and i always say its because I take my vitamin and i use my Brow Potion. seriously that thing is a miracle esp after i had a bad wax job and my brows were just never the same. i had to draw them on allll the time and now they are thick and lucious all thanks to a product called Brow Potion. Now i dont let ANYONE go anywhere near my brows!

"For example, take a look at yourself in the mirror and imagine what you’d look like without eyebrows. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

A little strange, right?"

To me this isn't strange. This article does not take into account people with medical conditions such as myself with Alopecia. You are wondering what that is, right? Alopecia is the scientific name for falling out of hair. There is no cure for it, as it has several different variations and forms. I have been living with it since I was 15 years old, and I don't have a problem identifying people just because my eyebrows and eyelashes are missing. However, I do have problems with sweat rolling into my eyes as it runs down my head "like a waterfall". People ask me why I don't have hair. It is because God only made a few perfect heads, and mine is one of them. Heehee!

For example, take a look at yourself in the mirror and imagine what you’d look like without eyebrows. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

A little strange, right?

To me this is not strange at all as I have a medical condition that does not allow me to grow hair, whether it be eyebrows, eyelashes, etc... It is call Alopecia. You are wondering what Alopecia is, right? It is the scientific name for falling out of hair. It has several variations, and I have been living with this condition since I was 15 years old. This article doesn't take this into account. I wish that it would because there are hundreds of people such as myself living with this everyday of our lives.

I personally like the article and worthy of the comments that have followed. I never heard of Alopecia so I read up on it. thanks for sharing the both of you, you're improved my knowledge!

PS tried to add the article from MD about Alopecia. It's worth the read.

Hi Keith:
Thank you for reaching out to us. We apologize that this blog post did not take patients with your condition into consideration. We have sent your feedback to our content team.

Deaf persons utilize the movement of their eyebrows to convey one to several words. For example, he / she might sign they are going to the store. Raising the eyebrows after the "statement" asks the other person if they want to go or if they need anything. The eyebrows are the "tone of 'voice'" (and even more!) for deaf persons.

Wanda: What an interesting example of how people combine different forms of communication in their daily lives. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

I've noticed that the thinner the eyebrow in some women, the more confident they appear with their facial features. Some shy individuals tend to keep them bushy in an attempt to hind behind them. Thin eyebrows tend to give off that you are approachable...at least that has been my experience...anyone else?

Maybe CooperVision can bear the cost of tattooing eyebrows on those who have Alopecia? Many thanks. I love "spending" other peoples money.....Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth to all Good Men.

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