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Looking Younger Is as Simple as Filling in Your Brows

Eyebrows, along with other beauty and fashion trends, have changed tremendously over the years. We've had super skinny brows, natural brows, over-the-top brows, even feathered brows. I, for one, love that thicker eyebrows are in. I fill in my blonde eyebrows every morning to a dark brown to make them stand out. If you're a thick brow lover like me, then you have even more of a reason to draw on your brows. You're actually making yourself look younger.

In a recent study, scientists discovered that facial contrast makes women look younger. Facial features such as the eyes, lips, and eyebrows change color as we age, so those with more contrast in these areas appear to look younger.

To come to this conclusion, scientists studied photographs of 763 women of different races between the ages of 20 and 80. None of the women were wearing makeup. The women had their hair away from their face, and were asked to look directly into the camera with a neutral expression. The researchers used a computer program to analyze the photos.

They discovered the older women had less facial contrast, and the younger women had more facial contrast. "Several aspects of facial contrast were found to significantly decrease with age in all four samples of faces," the study states. The study says that the "luminance contrast" around the eyebrows, mouth, and eyes "significantly decreased with age."

Researchers then manipulated 92 of the photos using Photoshop and changed the contrast in the faces. "Specifically, we manipulated the luminance contrast around the eyes and eyebrows, the a* contrast around the eyes and mouth, and the b* contrast around the eyes. To manipulate contrast around a feature, the features were manipulated while the surrounding skin was left unchanged." Each face was altered as much as possible while still looking natural.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

The altered photos were shown to 182 people. The participants saw both the low-contrast and high-contrast photos side-by-side, and were asked to choose which face looked younger. The results are pretty conclusive — 79.2 percent of the volunteers chose the high-contrast faces as appearing younger.

Although none of these women had makeup on, scientists say makeup gives you the same look as the high-contrast, younger-looking Photoshopped faces. "We predict that women of a particular race use makeup to modify (or should use makeup to modify) their facial contrast in the ways that facial contrasts change with age in their particular race," the study states.

The results were consistent with different ethnicities, which means the idea that higher facial contrast makes women appear younger is consistent across different cultures. So, not only do we perceive a certain look as younger, but we can also all make ourselves look younger, no matter what our skin tone is. Just one more reason to keep filling in my brows.

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