For years, high and arched eyebrows have been the acme of beauty. Not any more

Since Helen of Troy's face launched a thousand ships, women have plucked and tweezed in the hope of at least matching her perfect, high and arched eyebrows. No more. High eyebrows are out and low brows are the most appealing.

Where once Nicole Kidman was considered the acme of beauty - at least as far as her eyebrows are concerned - now the most attractive brows are those that curve lower over the eye, reaching a peak height two-thirds of the way along. The actress Jennifer Connelly is now widely considered to have today's perfect eyebrows.

So profound is the shift that researchers believe high eyebrows could disappear altogether. Plastic surgeons - who for many years have been asked to make eyebrows higher and more arched - are now being urged to keep them low when they carry out cosmetic surgery.

"Current concepts of brow lift indications need to be reconsidered. The eyebrows are frequently placed too high, with the eyebrow arch in the middle, frequently leaving the patients with an unnatural astonished expression," say the researchers, who report their findings in the journal Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Plastic surgeons at the University of Regensburg, in Germany, and another group of researchers from Johns Hopkins University, in the US, say lower brows are the shape of the future.

In the German research, the team showed pictures of women with different shaped eyebrows to around 350 people aged 12 to 85.

The arched eyebrow has its maximum height in the middle, while the others had their maximum height in the last third of the brow, on the ear side.

Results show that younger men and women rated lower eyebrow positions on all faces to be more attractive, while older people found the arched type more attractive.

"Young people up to 29 years of age judge arched eyebrows to be unattractive and prefer the lower positioned eyebrow with a maximum in the lateral third. This form has become more prevalent over the past several years and can currently be described as the new ideal," say the researchers.