Eyebrows are so in right now.
Cara Delevingne’s known for them, we’ve all stopped over-plucking and pretty much everyone’s got a brow kit in their make-up bag.
But what’s really the point of them?
We all know their main function is to shield forehead sweat from our eyes, but that’s not the only thing they help us with.
In fact, they can help us process other people’s emotions.
Just imagine a surprised or angry face with relaxed eyebrows. It wouldn’t work, right? There IS a reason why our favourite emojis all have different brow positions.
‘If the eyebrows aren’t there, it really messes up the way the visual system is designed to find and process faces,’ Dr Javid Sadr – assistant professor of psychology at Canada’s University Of Lethbridge – tells Yahoo! Health.
Not only that, but the muscle movements underneath our brows can indirectly reveal our feelings for things.
For example, an involuntary frown at the bridge of your nose can give a pretty good indication that you don’t like something. How awkward for first dates?!
Plus, they often spontaneously mimic the people you interact with.
This means people who’ve indulged in a little Botox can find it harder to empathise with others – and be empathised with. Hmmmm.
Interestingly, our eyebrows may actually be even more important than eyes for recognising people.
Back in 2003, Sadr and his fellow researchers conducted a study – published in the journal Perception – showing people 25 images of celebrities without eyebrows and 25 without eyes.
Interestingly, the participants correctly identified around 56% of the eyeless stars, but only 46% of those who were brow-free.
And y’know that trend for bushy brows? Well, it may be ALL about female empowerment.
According to Jean Carruthers – a clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University Of British Columbia – well-groomed brows have historically been in fashion during more conservative eras.
But thicker bristles are animalistic, leading to sexual connotations usually reserved for men.
‘They’re such powerful message givers,’ says Jean.
‘The eyebrows show whether you’re female or male, whether you’re young or whether you’re older, whether you’re interested, dissatisfied, angry, curious, or incredulous. Eyebrows really are our big signalers.’
Ah. We love you, brows.