Why Are Eyebrows Important? (8 On Fleek Reasons)

Have you ever found yourself gazing into the mirror, wondering what those two arches of hair above your eyes are truly there for? What makes them so vital that evolution has seen fit to keep them around? 

From thick, bushy brows to thin, delicate lines, eyebrows have been the subject of human fascination and fashion for centuries, constantly being plucked, penciled, and pampered. 

So, the next time you raise an eyebrow in surprise, knit them together in worry, or arch them in intrigue, give a little nod to your eyebrows, those humble but crucial features that make you, you!

Anatomy of Eyebrows

Hair Structure

On average, an eyebrow is made up of about 250 to 500 tiny hairs, each hair growing from an individual follicle. Now, these aren’t like the hairs on your head. 

Eyebrow hairs, scientifically known as “vibrissae,” are unique in their structure. They are short and tapering, with a life cycle of about 4 months, compared to scalp hair which can grow for years.

These vibrissae are firmly rooted, making them more resistant to pulling. They also have a distinct growth pattern; they first grow upward and then curve outward, forming the arch of your eyebrow.

Ever wondered why eyebrows don’t grey as quickly as head hair? 

Fun fact: 

The melanin-producing cells in the eyebrow follicles are more resilient, which slows down the greying process!

Eyebrow Shape and Size Variations

Eyebrows come in all shapes and sizes, from thin and sparse to thick and bushy. The ‘ideal’ eyebrow shape can vary significantly depending on cultural norms and beauty standards. 

Some common eyebrow shapes include:

  • Straight: Minimal to no arch and extends horizontally across the brow bone.
  • Arched: Features a more pronounced curve, creating a lifted appearance.
  • S-shaped: A subtle S curve where the arch is slightly higher than the midpoint of the brow.
  • Rounded: Softly rounded with little to no visible arch.

The shape of your eyebrows is determined by the placement and angle of hair growth as well as the underlying bone structure. The natural arch of the eyebrow is generally located around two-thirds of the way from the inner corner, which can greatly impact how others perceive your facial expressions.

Influence of Genetics on Eyebrows

Just like the color of your eyes or the shape of your nose, your eyebrows are largely influenced by your genetics. The density, color, and pattern of eyebrow hair are inherited traits passed down from generation to generation.

Interestingly, researchers have discovered specific genes that play a role in determining eyebrow thickness. For instance:

  • Two genes, EDAR and FOXL2, influence eyebrow thickness.
  • The MC1R gene is responsible for red hair and can also cause lighter eyebrows.

Although genetics is the primary factor in eyebrow characteristics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices can also impact their appearance. For example, over-plucking, certain medical conditions, or hormonal changes can lead to thinning or hair loss in the eyebrows.

Eyebrows and Facial Recognition

When you bump into an old friend on the street, you may not consciously realize how much your eyebrows are contributing to that moment of recognition. They are, however, critical to our facial identification process. Eyebrows add definition and structure to the face, providing essential markers that our brain uses to identify individuals.

Did you know that researchers have found that eyebrows are more important than eyes for facial recognition? A study revealed that people had a harder time identifying faces without eyebrows than faces without eyes.

Eyebrows and Emotional Expression

Visual signals are integral to our social interactions, and eyebrows are among the most expressive parts of the human face. They serve as emotional translators that facilitate non-verbal communication, allowing us to express a wide array of emotions without saying a single word.

  • Happiness: When we’re genuinely happy, our eyebrows raise slightly, making our eyes look “brighter.” This subtle shift mirrors our inner joy.
  • Sadness: When we’re sad, our eyebrows tend to droop, pulling together slightly in the middle, reflecting the weight of our sorrow.
  • Anger: Anger makes our eyebrows pull together and down, creating a formidable frown.
  • Surprise: In surprise, our eyebrows arch up high, mimicking the shock coursing through us.
  • Confusion: A single eyebrow often lifts in an arch when we’re confused, embodying our puzzlement.

These subtle yet powerful cues offer a window into our internal emotional world.

Eyebrows and Aesthetics

Historical Perspective on Eyebrow Beauty Standards

Eyebrow trends have ebbed and flowed throughout history, reflecting cultural norms and beauty ideals of their time. Let’s take a brief tour:

  • Ancient Egypt: Bold, darkened brows were a symbol of beauty and power, often extended with minerals and carbon.
  • Renaissance Era: Women plucked or shaved their eyebrows completely to highlight the forehead, considered the most attractive feature.
  • 1920s: Thin, dramatically curved brows were all the rage, reflecting the flapper era’s rebellious spirit.

The evolution of beauty standards reminds us that ‘beauty’ is a construct, ever-changing and reflective of societal values.

Modern Trends in Eyebrow Aesthetics

Fast forward to the 21st century, and we have seen a resurgence of thick, well-groomed eyebrows. Cara Delevingne, a modern fashion icon, has made ‘bushy brows’ an aesthetic to aspire to. 

But the emphasis on individuality and natural beauty has led to a more recent trend: embracing your unique eyebrow shape and texture. The most popular styles include:

  • Natural: Emphasizing the individual’s natural brow shape.
  • Feathered: Creating a textured, full look using fine hair strokes.
  • Ombre: Gradually darkening the brow color from the inner to the outer edge.

Impact of Eyebrows on Overall Facial Aesthetics

Eyebrows significantly impact our facial aesthetics. They help shape our face and enhance our eyes, the most expressive part of our face. A well-groomed eyebrow can lend an air of polish and sophistication, while a fuller, bushier brow might suggest a more relaxed, natural vibe.

The positioning of the eyebrows can also play a role. Higher brows suggest a youthful appearance, while lower, straighter brows can give the impression of seriousness or intensity. The angle and shape of an eyebrow can even make a face seem kinder or more aggressive.

Eyebrow Modification Practices

There are a variety of techniques you can use to achieve your desired eyebrow look:

  1. Plucking: Using a tweezer to remove unwanted hairs individually.
  2. Waxing: Apply hot wax and quickly remove it to eliminate hair.
  3. Tinting: Applying a semi-permanent dye to color and define the eyebrows.
  4. Microblading: Creating fine, hair-like strokes using a handheld device with small, sterile needles.

These methods can help you maintain your preferred eyebrow shape, color, and fullness, ultimately enhancing your overall aesthetics. No matter the method you choose, always consult a licensed professional to ensure safe and satisfactory results.

Eyebrows as Indicators of Nutritional Deficiencies

Nutrition is the cornerstone of our health, and our bodies have a remarkable way of communicating when something is amiss. Among these warning signals are changes in the eyebrows. 

For instance, thinning or loss of eyebrow hair, medically known as madarosis, may be a sign of nutritional deficiencies.

Iron, a key nutrient for hair growth, is a primary one. If you’re noticing significant thinning or falling out of your eyebrow hair, it could be an indication that you’re not getting enough iron in your diet. 

Other essential nutrients include proteins, vitamins A, C, and E, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical for maintaining healthy hair, including your eyebrows.

Eyebrows as Indicators of Hormonal Imbalances

Changes in your eyebrows, particularly hair loss at the outer edges of your brows, might suggest an issue with your thyroid gland. This butterfly-shaped gland in your neck produces hormones that regulate many of your body’s functions, including hair growth.

Hair loss can be a significant symptom, including in the eyebrows, in conditions like:

  • Hypothyroidism – where your thyroid underproduces hormones, or
  • Hyperthyroidism – where it overproduces

If you’re noticing such changes in your eyebrows, it’s worth discussing it with your healthcare provider.

Eyebrows as Indicators of Certain Diseases

Lastly, eyebrows can potentially flag up specific diseases.

  • Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder, may cause eyebrow hair loss. 
  • Seborrheic dermatitis (eyebrow dandruff) can signal an underlying issue, particularly if it is accompanied by redness, itching, or scaling.

While it’s essential not to self-diagnose based on eyebrow changes alone, they can act as a useful starting point for medical investigation.

Eyebrows and Protection

Eyebrows act as a natural barrier for the eyes, guarding against sweat and airborne debris.

Eyebrows are strategically positioned to catch sweat and debris before they can trickle down into your eyes, causing discomfort or potentially harming your vision. The unique arch shape and the direction of the hair growth work together to shuttle unwanted particles away from your eyes.

The hair follicles in your eyebrows also contain sebaceous glands, which produce an oily substance called sebum. This sebum not only conditions and protects the hair but also acts as an additional layer of protection, preventing sweat and dust from sticking to your brow.

Self-Perception and Eyebrow Appearance

When we look in the mirror, one of the first things we notice about ourselves is our eyebrows. They are often viewed as the frame of the face, drawing attention to the eyes and the expressions they convey. Their shape, fullness, and symmetry can significantly affect how we perceive ourselves.

A well-groomed and maintained set of eyebrows help frame the face and draw attention to your eyes, showcasing your emotions and personality. On the other hand, unkempt or untidy eyebrows may make you feel self-conscious, ultimately affecting how you present yourself to others.


To improve your self-perception, consider developing a regular eyebrow grooming routine that fits your style and preference. This could involve plucking, threading, or even professional treatments like microblading.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do some people have thicker eyebrows than others?

Eyebrow thickness is primarily determined by genetics. Just as the color of your eyes and hair is passed down through generations, so is the density and pattern of your hair, including your eyebrows. Some ethnicities tend to have thicker, fuller brows due to a higher concentration of hair follicles.

Hormones also play a role in eyebrow thickness. For example, a surge in androgen levels can lead to increased hair growth, including in the eyebrow area. 

Lastly, lifestyle factors and age can influence the thickness of your eyebrows. Poor nutrition, stress, and aging can result in thinner eyebrows over time.

Can I change the shape of my eyebrows?

Yes, you can change the shape of your eyebrows! You can do this through various methods such as tweezing, waxing, threading, or even semi-permanent procedures like microblading or tattooing.

It’s important to keep in mind that the best shape for your eyebrows largely depends on your face shape and personal style. Professional beauty salons can help you choose a shape that suits you best. 

Remember, drastic changes can alter your appearance significantly, so it’s best to start slow and adjust gradually until you find a shape you love.

How can I maintain my eyebrows?

Maintaining your eyebrows involves a combination of regular grooming and healthy lifestyle habits. Here are some tips to help:

Regular Trimming: Use a spoolie brush to comb your eyebrows upwards and trim any excessively long hairs with a small pair of scissors.

Grooming: Depending on your preference, wax, tweeze or thread to maintain the shape of your eyebrows.

Nourishment: Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, especially biotin, to support hair health.

Hydration: Keeping your skin hydrated can help maintain the health of your hair follicles. Use a moisturizer suitable for your skin type.

Avoid Over-plucking: Over-plucking can damage the hair follicle and lead to sparse growth. Aim to maintain a natural shape.

Can I regrow my eyebrows after over-plucking?

Yes, it’s possible to regrow your eyebrows after over-plucking, but it requires patience, as it can take anywhere from six weeks to several months for eyebrows to fully regrow.

To aid regrowth, refrain from further plucking and apply a growth serum or natural oils like castor oil, which are said to promote hair growth. A balanced diet rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals also supports hair growth.

If your eyebrows are not growing back after a prolonged period, you might want to consult a dermatologist to rule out any underlying issues.

How can I achieve a natural-looking eyebrow?

Achieving natural-looking eyebrows involves a combination of the right grooming techniques and makeup application:

• Start with a good shape that suits your face and enhances your features. Avoid over-plucking and aim for a shape that follows your natural brow line.

• Use a brow pencil or powder that matches your brow color. Fill in sparse areas with light, feathery strokes mimicking your natural hairs.

• Brush your brows with a spoolie brush to distribute the color evenly and create a soft, natural look.

• Consider using a clear or tinted brow gel to set your brows and keep them in place throughout the day.

Final Thoughts

Eyebrows play an important role in our daily lives, providing both functional and aesthetic benefits. Not only do they shield our eyes from sweat, debris, and sun, but they also contribute significantly to our facial expressions and overall appearance.

Key takeaways to remember:

  • Eyebrows contribute to facial recognition, making it easier for people to identify one another.
  • They help in non-verbal communication, emphasizing emotions and expressions.
  • Eyebrows offer protection by preventing sweat and debris from entering the eyes.
  • They play a role in enhancing our beauty and balancing facial features.

Embrace your eyebrows and appreciate their importance as they serve multiple purposes, from safeguarding your vision to showcasing your unique personality.

[Also Read: Skincare: Definition, What to Know & How to Develop Routines]

[Also Read: Why Is Skincare Important? (24 Reasons to Prioritize It)]

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Clariza Carizal

Clariza is a passionate writer and editor who firmly believes that words have great power. She has a degree in BS Psychology, which gives her an in-depth understanding of the complexities of human behavior. As a woman of science and art, she fused her love for both fields in crafting insightful articles on lifestyle, mental health, and social justice to inspire others and advocate for change.

In her leisure time, you can find her sitting in the corner of her favorite coffee shop downtown, deeply immersed in her bubble of thoughts. Being an art enthusiast that she is, she finds bliss in exploring the rich world of fiction writing and diverse art forms.