What is the Purpose of Lashes & Brows?

February 20, 2020

Why do we have the cluster of hair above each eye and the little whiskers protruding from our eyelid? Both are for protection, even though we view both as a sign of beauty when groomed to society’s likening. The current trend is full, precisely-shaped brows and long, thick lashes. Eyebrows and eyelashes have a purpose beyond aesthetics, so next time you’re thinking about making a huge change to either of them, remember what you’re about to learn!



Eyebrows function to channel liquids away from the eyes. This includes rain, sweat, or other harmful liquids that could injure the eyes. Eyebrows grow in a direction that assists the channeling process around the eyes, towards the cheekbone, and eventually straight off the face. We also communicate our emotions and expressions based on the position and movement of the brows. Imagine how flat (and awkward) our expressions would be if eyebrows didn’t exist.

Over-plucking or excessive waxing of the eyebrows can hinder their innate function. Thankfully, the days of early 2000’s pencil-thin brows have ceased, and beauty gurus are embracing the appearance of a natural brow.



The hairs lining our eyelids serve as protection from foreign objects getting into the eyes. Eyelashes catch airborne particles (dust, dirt, pollen) that could otherwise blow into the eyes. The lashes also collect dead skin flakes from the face. Yes – it sounds gross, but it is better than having all of this debris floating around in the tear film.

Another protective purpose of the eyelashes is for reflexive blinking. If a little bug, or gnat, flies toward your eye, you blink as soon as it touches your eyelashes. Phew! Your reflex blinking caused you to close your eyelids just in time before the bug went into your eye.



There are many conditions that can affect the lids and lashes. The following conditions are the most common:

  • Blepharitis: Buildup of skin debris around the eyelashes causes inflammation of the eyelid. This can make the lids red, irritated, itchy, and flaky.
  • Hordeolum: A stye is inflammation and infection of an eyelash follicle with its neighboring oil gland of the eyelid margin.
  • Trichiasis: Eyelashes grow inward towards the eye rather than the normal outward direction.
  • Madarosis: This is the loss of eyelashes, which is usually caused by a different underlying condition.

Eyelash extensions and growth serums are the new fad. However, it is always best to talk to your eye doctor before going forward with such procedures that can harm the eyes. Various glues and eye products can cause severe allergic reactions. Not to mention, an infection may also occur if not applied with good hygiene practices. Follow these tips to safely enjoy eye makeup.