To say that eyebrows are a big focus for women when it comes to beauty and confidence is a no-brainer. After all, well, they are on our face. Eyebrows are often the focal point of a face and are the feature that best expresses our vibe and mood.
However, eyebrows have become a symbol that translates not only a person’s emotions but a variety of cultural meanings, especially for Latinas.
The art of grooming this hairy area is a form of therapy; it becomes a ritual of connection with culture, with the canons of beauty, and even with your esthetician.
In Latin American culture, eyebrows and beauty are deeply intertwined, so it’s not anodyne to dwell on them and reflect a bit on their significance.
Latinas’ relationship with the face and beauty is a historical one — and quite complicated. Latina beauty has certainly been tied to aesthetic trends, from the dreaded super-thin, plucked eyebrows to the more natural, bushy look.
But First, Why Do We Have Eyebrows?
Seriously, why are eyebrows so important? Why do we even have eyebrows?
We can find some of these answers by looking into human evolution and survival — eyebrows help us keep dirt out of our eyes and prevent water from dripping into our eyes, thus allowing us to see better, a skill necessary for survival. But eyebrows do more than that. They allow us to emote and to express ourselves without having to say anything at all. You raise your eyebrows when you are surprised, and you furrow your brow when you are mad or concerned. Eyebrows allow you to communicate non-verbally with even the slightest frown, and they are also incredibly important for facial recognition. Although many assume that the eyes, nose, or mouth are the most important facial features where beauty and recognition are concerned, research actually shows that eyebrows lead the way.
Back in 2003, a study published in the journal Perception found that regarding facial recognition, the eyebrows may be at least as influential as the eyes if not more important.
The study asked people to identify 50 famous faces, sometimes without eyes and sometimes with the eyebrows removed from the photos. Sixty percent of the time, the participants recognized the faces even with the eyes removed. But when the eyebrows were removed, only 46 percent of the people could correctly identify the face.
So, it’s a bit clearer why, from an evolutionary standpoint, however, why are some of us blessed with full, perfectly shaped brows, and others fight for every single hair growth? Why do some of us have a unibrow, and some people spend hours painting on natural-looking arches each morning? The answer, like so many other features, is genetics.
A 2015 study published in the journal Nature Communications found a strong relationship between the inheritance of specific genes and hair features, including eyebrow appearance, thickness, and growth. Within this study, scientists identified several separate genes that may affect everything from eyebrow texture to shape, hair color, and even whether or not you develop a monobrow.
This explains why so many Latina women are blessed with full, beautiful brows and why eyebrows are such a significant piece of Latina beauty and Latina culture. But it’s a complicated relationship that takes time and effort to get right and one that can be as emotionally important as it is aesthetically important.
Latina Beauty and Embracing Your Eyebrows
It’s no secret that Latinas often have naturally gorgeous, dramatic, and full eyebrows. While some women might struggle to embrace their natural hairlines, others use it as a way to connect with their heritage and the Latinas who came before them.
In Pop Sugar, Andrea Navarro wrote that “being of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent, all of the women in my family have very prominent features, and that includes their eyebrows,” she explains. “I’m so proud of being able to enjoy them and understand that they’re a piece of my Latin culture and what makes me, me.”
For her part, Yaidelin Martinez, eyebrow expert and founder of Browmetrics in Miami, Florida, agrees that naturally gorgeous brows are a feature that helps many Latina women connect with their culture and their identity. Eyebrows are important for everyone, she argues.
“Eyebrows are the first thing people notice nowadays. They help convey emotions and help accentuate the eyes. Especially since many now wear a mask and communicate through video calls, the first thing you see are people’s eyebrows,” she told BeLatina.
While many Latinas are blessed with gorgeous, full brows, past trends have made it challenging to embrace that natural beauty. Does anyone remember the pencil-thin, over-plucked look of the 90s? Just thinking about that trend keeps Martinez up at night.
What can you do if you’re looking to embrace your natural brows or enhance the brows you have to achieve a more natural, full look? Yaidelin suggests seeking expert attention from the brow pros.
“Thanks to microblading and other amazing techniques, we can help all Latinas regain their natural eyebrows back. This technique can mimic natural hairs almost to perfection, creating the hair strokes with a little hand blade,” she explains. She also urges Latinas to just put the tweezers down and resist the desire to take their brows into their own hands. She recommends using castor oil or some type of brow-growing serum to stimulate natural growth.
Just remember to do your research before letting any eyebrow expert work on your brows, and don’t forget that self-care and brow maintenance is about so much more than just aesthetics and vanity.
Eyebrows are a key form of self-expression and, especially for Latinas, a way to connect to your relatives, your culture, and your inner beauty. It’s also a chance to focus on yourself and your own needs, and something Yaidelin values immensely. “We Latinas love to chat and be social. The majority of my clients are working moms, and since I am a working mom myself, I feel like I can relate a lot with my clients, which makes it easy to have an amazing time during a session. My main goal is to make my clients relax and have an awesome experience and make them feel like they are taking a little break and that they are in a safe space.”
Bottom line: Eyebrows are important. Never underestimate the energy of a powerful brow.