A young boy with a green shirt.

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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