What are eyebrows for?

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Sunday 11th March 2012

“I’m just off to have my eyebrows shaped,” I told my teenage son.

He looked up momentarily from his Xbox game, an astonished look on his face. “You’re having your eyebrows shaved?” he said. “Isn’t that what happens when people get drunk at parties?”

Well not at the parties I go to, it doesn’t. But when I quizzed my son he told me about a friend of his who’d fallen asleep at an all-night do and woke up a few hours later to discover some mean person had shaved his eyebrows off. The effect was so dire that the poor boy resorted to drawing them back on in black felt-tip pen, which of course looked a million times worse.

Anyway, that unfortunate incident got us to discussing a thorny issue. What exactly are eyebrows for? Whether they’re bushy (à la Denis Healy) or sleek (à la Madonna) they’re pretty odd things really. Whatever beauty writers say about them framing your face I’m not at all convinced.

My son quickly got on the case and came up with the following answer. Apparently eyebrows are there to keep water, sweat, dirt and debris (yuk!) out of our eyes. So when we sweat or get caught in a downpour the arch shape of our eyebrows cleverly diverts the rain to the sides of our faces. How smart is that?

My son is the finest finder-outer I know. He troubleshoots my regular computer crises, suggests new music I might like (Lulu and the Lampshades for one) and can give an hour-long lecture about the origins of Aerogel.

Even more useful, his IT know-how is second to none.  When I got a new computer recently I didn’t have to lift a finger. He and my daughter unpacked the box, set it up in ten minutes flat and then typed out an idiot’s guide for their techno-dinosaur mum to follow. The way things are going they’ll be running the entire household single-handed in no time at all.

PS. After my recent post about London’s Big Egg Hunt I’ve just spotted my second giant egg. Only 198 to go!


6 comments so far

  • Your comment about drawn-on eyebrows reminded me of my friend saying, upon coming out of The Artist, that Jean Dujardin’s thin moustache was thicker in some scenes than others. I guess that was drawn-on, too.

    Liz X

  • Hi Liz. Yes, drawn-on anything doesn’t sound a good look. Didn’t women in the 40s used to draw a line down the back of their legs to make it look like they were wearing expensive stockings? Or have I dreamt that one up? x

  • Need mine right now as must protect right eye. But threading first time in New York years ago was a very interesting experience. And great shape after it.

  • Hi Emma, totally random but fun subject, lol. I think eyebrows are great for communicating too. i.e. a raised eyebrow – which can say so much without one even uttering a word. Where would our actors – silent movies included – be without THAT one eh?

  • Hi Markyj. I don’t know what made me choose such a random subject but I do agree that the raised eyebrow can speak 1,000 words. Speaking of silent movies, have you seen The Artist yet? I still haven’t and really must.

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