Benefit Cosmetics' Brow Translator
Benefit Cosmetics’ Brow Translator

Benefit Cosmetics has launched a “Brow Translator”, which reads and analyses user’s emotion via their eyebrows.

Using a combination of facial recognition analysis and machine learning, the microsite reveals what our brows are really saying about our innermost feelings. Users merely upload or take a photo of themselves, and the site does the rest of the work. The result is a video, GIF or still image relaying the emotion represented and a speech bubble referring to it – it that can then be both downloaded and shared across social media using the hashtag #benefitbrows.

The initiative is a partnership between Benefit and Dr Javid Sadr, a professor of neuroscience at Canada’s University of Lethbridge. His research into the role of eyebrows in face recognition (conducted at M.I.T), shows how important they are at decoding emotions.

“Eyebrows can communicate the full spectrum of emotions from aggression to fear to joy,” he explains. His team separated the face into three compartments: upper, middle and lower. They then studied the six universally recognised emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise. They realised the upper compartment of the face, which contains the eyebrows, was found to play a key role in each.

“Even the smallest micro movements in the brows can change what emotion is being communicated,” Jocelyn McCanles, associate creative director at Deeplocal, the agency that worked on the project, told the LA Times. “Happiness is a relaxed brow that is slightly heightened. If someone is angry, the distance between the brows is narrowed. If they are sad, this can be conveyed by one eyebrow being slightly arched and the other one coming down slightly. There are all these different configurations, and it does matter how your brows are naturally. If your brows are naturally arched or close together, you can look like you have a particular emotion even though your brows are at rest.”

Benefit now has over 2,100 BrowBars in 41 countries, with an ambition for this campaign to help scale the size of the market for brow products.

Prior to its launch, Benefit was also showcasing the technology out in the real world via an augmented reality campaign. Consumers were invited to try on Benefit-branded Microsoft Hololens headsets to analyse their companion’s brows in real-time, as per the video below.