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Forehead body language


Techniques > Use of body language > Parts-of-the-body language > Forehead body language

Wrinkling | SweatingTouching | See also


The forehead has its place in body language communications, often as a part of a wider set of signals. It is near the eyes and can be looked at without sending other signals (for example looking the mouth can say 'I want to kiss you'), which can make even small movements with it reliably observed and hence significant. Its main limitation is that it can only make a few movements.

If you want to avoid people reading your forehead signals, a way to do this is to wear a hat with a long sun brim and then keep your head down. This is maybe why some gamblers do this.


Wrinkling the forehead is often connected with movement of the eyebrows, particularly upwards, and hence acts as an amplifier of these signals. Raised eyebrows (and wrinkled forehead) indicates surprise or questioning.


We often sweat more from the forehead than other parts of the body, making it significant in sending moisture-related signals.

Sweating can occur when we are hot, which can come from external temperature, exercise and also inner energy and arousal.

A cold sweat can indicate extreme fear and may be accompanied by damp eyes.


Wiping the forehead can be to remove sweat. It typically indicates relief and can be a deliberate exaggeration. It can also indicate fear, even when the person is not sweating.

Touching the forehead happens in the greeting of a salute. This is effectively shading the eyes and says 'You are so wonderful I am dazzled by your brilliance.'

Slowly rubbing the forehead can indicate deep thinking, as if the person was massaging their brain to get it going.

Rubbing the temples either side can indicate stress as the person tries to massage away the actual or implicit headache.

The forehead may also be touched as a part of a propping up the head, typically with the thumb touching the side of the face.

Tapping the forehead with an open palm or light fist says 'Gosh, how stupid I am!'

See also

Eyebrow body language

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