It may come as a surprise to some, but your eyebrows (or lack of) could be giving your age away.
A new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology finds that facial features, like lips and eyebrows, tend to stand out less as people get older. Because of that, people perceive faces with more contrast as younger.
Researchers analyzed photographs of 763 makeup-free women with various skin tones between ages 20 and 80. A computer program analyzed the photos for facial contrast: a measure of how much the eyes, lips and eyebrows stand out due to differences in color, lightness or darkness with the surrounding skin.
The conclusion: Younger women had more facial contrast, and older women had less. Contrast especially decreased in areas around the mouth and eyebrows as women got older.
Next, the researchers Photoshopped some of the pictures, creating two nearly identical versions of each face with varying levels of contrast. They showed these photographs to volunteers and asked them to choose the younger-looking face. Almost 80% of the time, people said the high-contrast face appeared younger than the low-contrast one.
The findings were similar across a variety of ethnicities, suggesting that facial contrast—like wrinkles and changes in skin pigmentation—is truly a “cross-cultural cue” for perceiving how old a person is, the authors wrote in their paper.
Anyone who’s ever filtered a selfie on Instagram won’t be surprised by this effect of contrast. But the findings may also help explain why people often use makeup to look younger.
But all is not lost even if you have celebrated your 45th birthday this year. Here are some tips that will put the definition back into your features and give your face a quick anti-aging transformation.
Read More: 4 Facials in a jar you should totally try
Pencil in your Brows
The biggest surprise of all was the power of the brow. For women of all ethnicities, brow color faded with age—so darkening them may really make people look younger, the researchers say.
Real brow hairs look individual, so you don’t want to shade in your brows in a single block like you’re filling in a shape in a coloring book. Instead, the trick is draw short flicks, which means you should pick a brow pencil with a fine tip. Martin likes Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color.
Draw individual strokes to mimic real eyebrow hair. You’ll want to draw them in the direction that the hairs grow, going from root to tip. They should be about the same length as an actual hair, too.
Give our brows a lift
Our brows flatten out with age. There is a scientific reason to this phenomenon. With repetitive frowning, we pull down the inner corners of our brows. Squinting (which we do a lot of these days) also cause the outer edges of our brows to be depressed. No wonder excessive digital use can lead to droopy brows.
Botox anti-wrinkle injections can lightly relax the downward pull of these muscles and result in a naturally lifted pair of brows. Best of all, this treatment takes less than 30 minutes and least 3-4 months.
Instead of always going for safe nude shades, it’s time to rethink your lip colour palette. The skin on your lips is actually thinner than the skin on the rest of your face (not to mention, your lips don’t contain oil glands to keep them hydrated), which causes them to shrivel and shrink as you age. For long-term protection, use a lip balm with sunscreen and keep them ted to hydrating and protected in the day. In the night, try Rose Quartz lip serum, dedicated to hydrating and replenishing the lips.
In the short term, choose lipsticks in shades of mauve and pink — these help define your lips and add a youthful rosiness without drawing attention to the fact that they’re thinning (like, say, a deep red or a plum would).
For instant hydration of the lips that last, try skinbooster fillers for the lips, they minimize lip lines and gives lips a youthful overhaul without changing the size too much. If you however notice your lips thinning or losing its shape, then it’s time to take the plunge and get a dose of lip fillers to restore much needed volume to your lips.