The best cosmetologists are the ones who understand you. 

Cosmetologists also understand you, says Lina Bowers, an assistant professor of clinical and family medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center.

They’re experts in what it means to look and feel good.

“You’re the person who can really understand how people perceive and feel their body,” Bowers says.

“And you know how to talk to them about it, too.” 

In a study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology, Bowers and her colleagues compared the appearance of 10,000 people to more than 15,000 photos of the same faces. 

The images were then compared with images of 100 identical subjects.

They found that women had more skin-tone variation in their faces, with darker skin tones and a higher percentage of lighter skin tones in the women’s faces.

They also found a higher proportion of women had darker eyebrows than men, which was associated with darker facial features and a lower amount of brow arching.

“We know that there are more differences in the facial features of women than men,” Bower says.

But Bowers notes that, compared to men, the differences between women are subtle.

“The men and women are very similar on all of these measures, so that’s one of the things that makes the difference,” she says.

“And, because they have different hair styles, we know that women have a lot more hair on their faces than men do, and that’s why the difference in hair styles is so significant.”

What’s more, the researchers found that the difference between men and men’s facial skin tone was larger in people of African descent, as compared to people of European descent.

Bowers believes that this may have to do with the way that melanin builds up during the process of melanosis, a process that causes dark spots to form in the skin. 

What’s going on with dark spots? 

“When we’re looking at people’s faces, we’re also looking at their underlying physiologic state,” she explains.

The study also found that dark spots were more prevalent in women than in men, with women having darker skin and a more darker brow arch.

Bowers believes it’s because dark skin tones are associated with lower levels of melanin.

“If you have darker skin, you’re going to have a lower melanin content, and if you have a darker brow, you may have a more visible dark spot,” she points out.

“So it’s a bit of a double-edged sword, because we know women have more dark skin and darker brows.”

What’s next?

Bowers says she hopes to use her findings to help women with facial hair get their beauty looks back. 

“We can help them understand their appearance, how to find the right color for their skin, and the right shade for their hair, and then to do things like apply a tint, which can really help them with their facial appearance,” she said. 

Bowers is also working on a book called Beauty in Dark Times. 

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