The Real Reason We Have Eyebrows

Eyebrows often seem like more trouble than they're worth. Between tweezing and shaping, eyebrow maintenance can take up a lot of time, and for what? Eyebrows don't really do anything, do they? Why do we even have them? After all, Mona Lisa doesn't have eyebrows, and the woman in the painting is considered by many to be truly beautiful. 

Believe it or not, eyebrows do have a pretty important function beyond being a fashion statement. According to Science Focus, eyebrows developed in order to keep rain and sweat out of our eyes. They also help keep dirt and debris from getting into our eyes, and provide extra protection from the sun. It might not seem like it, but eyebrows actually enable us to see more clearly.

That's not all that eyebrows do, either. As humans evolved, eyebrows began to serve another purpose: communication. Think about how expressive eyebrows are. When you're surprised, you likely raise your eyebrows. When you're angry, they furrow into a frown. We use our eyebrows daily to help us communicate our feelings to other humans and probably don't even think about it.

Eyebrows are also a surprisingly important component of facial recognition. A 2003 study (via Healthline) found that when a group of people were asked to identify 50 famous faces, they were able to identify them 60 percent of the time when the faces were presented without eyes. When the eyebrows, however, were removed, people were only able to correctly identify the faces 46 percent of the time.

As for the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci actually did originally paint her with eyebrows. According to The Telegraph, digital scans reveal traces of paint where the eyebrows would have been. The paint has simply eroded and faded since the masterpiece was originally painted in the 16th century.