After seeing a photo of Kim Kardashian’s bleached brows, we started to wonder “why do we even have eyebrows in the first place?” So we decided to do a little research, and the answers we found were fascinating.
1. They protect our eyes.
Throughout human history, much of our body hair has more or less disappeared, except for one notable feature — our brows. And there’s a good reason. Like our lashes, our brows wick away sweat and dirt so they don’t cloud our vision. They also deflect rain, and force drops to run down the side of our face instead of straight into our eyes.
2. They’re crucial for facial recognition.
Researchers at MIT found that faces without eyebrows are like land without landmarks: It’s almost impossible to recognize them. In their study, participants were asked to identify photos of celebrities with one catch: Their eyebrows were removed. Interestingly, participants only recognized about 46% of the faces. And they even had trouble with really famous ones like Richard Nixon. (We now know what the Kardashians should do if they ever want to go into hiding.)
3. They’re critical for nonverbal communication, too.
Along with the lips, eyebrows are the most expressive part of our faces. Think about it! You can tell exactly how someone is feeling based on their facial movements. If they have furrowed brows they’re probably angry. If one is raised it could mean they are feeling inquisitive or confused, and if they’re feeling shocked, both might be raised.
4. The average person has about 250 hairs per eyebrow.
They vary in length, thickness, and direction. You might have noticed that the hair closest to our noses point upward while they start to point outward once they reach the arch.
5. And they regularly fall out.
Brow hairs have a lifespan of about four months, meaning that the eyebrows you were rocking last Christmas are not the ones you have on your face now. (For comparision: The hairs on your head have a much longer cycle of three to seven years.)
6. The shape of your brows may predict your personality.
According to Amazing Face Reading by Marc Fuller, if you have straight eyebrows you might be more fact-oriented and direct. If they are slightly curved, you’re likely to be more people-oriented.
7. They start to turn gray just like the rest of your hair.
But thankfully, it takes years after your head goes gray for them to follow suit.