In our quest to achieve fuller, thicker-looking eyebrows, it seems like we’ve tried everything from powders to pencils, waxes and gels to fill in our sparse arches. But surprisingly the unlikely hero to bulking up our brows may be sitting in our bathroom: soap! Yes, that’s right — ‘soap brows’ have taken social media by storm because the trick creates the appearance of youthful, lush brows in an instant.
“It’s a popular technique that’s gained immense popularity as of late, especially as we see the resurgence of thick brows,” explains celebrity brow and lash artist Melina Cespedes, founder of Lash Society Miami. Read on to learn how soap brows can help your arches appear thicker in a flash and the simple to do that turns back the clock.
What exactly are soap brows?
The technique simply involves using soap as way to add both texture and hold to your brow hairs, explains Cespedes. It’s a trick that’s been around for a while, but is currently trending because it mimics the final result you’d get from brow lamination. This is a professional service that creates the appearance of fuller, brushed-up brows with a sleek and glossy finish. “Soap brows are a quicker, more budget-friendly, DIY approach to achieving this feathery, chic brow style,” Cespedes says. (Click through for brilliant uses for soap slivers.)
The 3 benefits of soap brows
1. It creates thicker-looking brows
No matter whether your arches never recovered from the over-plucking you did in your younger years or are simply looking thinner and more sparse with age, soap brows work wonders to bulk up thinning brows. “The soap grips onto the brow hairs, allowing you to brush them into place and create much fuller appearance,” says Cespedes. It also gives them a pretty sheen that further enhances this bushy brow look.
2. It’s a quick and easy technique
Keep reading on for a detailed how-to below, but this grooming technique is truly so simple that it’s appropriate for even novice DIYers. That’s because all you really need is soap and a spoolie, which takes the guesswork out of finding a brow product in the right shade.
3. It’s affordable
Again, since all you really need is a bar of soap, which you likely already have on-hand, soap brows are a budget-friendly option. Plus, it’s a much more affordable alternative to pricey in-salon brow lamination. (Click through for more application tricks and affordable eye makeup products for women over 60.)
A few things to keep in mind when creating soap brows
The type of soap you choose does matter for this technique. First, you’ll want to use a clear or transparent bar soap. This will ensure the most natural finish and fuller look — plus, it prevents brow hairs from looking white. Second, in order to minimize the likelihood of any potential sensitivity, irritation, or dryness, Cespedes advises choosing an option that’s fragrance- and dye-free. It’s also a good move to choose one that’s free of sulfates, which can be drying to the skin, and contains a hydrating ingredient, such as glycerin, she adds. One that fits the bill: Clearly Natural Glycerine Bar Soap (Buy from Walmart, $9.39).
How to do soap brows
Read on for the 4 simple steps it takes to do soap brows that take brows from limp to lush fast.
Step 1: Gather your supplies
You’ll want a soap that meets the aforementioned criteria. There are also dedicated brow soaps out there like WBCO. Soap Brows Original (Buy from WestBarnCo, $16) and TooD Turn It On Soap Brows (Buy from Revolve, $24). The only other thing you’ll need is a clean spoolie brush to apply the soap. One we like: Real Techniques Disposable Dual-Ended Brow Spoolies (Buy from Ulta, $3.99 for 15).
Step 2: Dampen the spoolie brush
The brush should be ever-so-slightly damp, but not soaking wet. “Wetting it will help activate the soap and make it easier to evenly distribute the product through your brow hair,” explains Cespedes. You can use water, though a light spritz of a makeup setting spray also works equally well to dampen the brush, notes Yetty Bames, a brow specialist at Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Salon in New York City.
Step 3: Run the brush through soap, then use on brows
“Glide the damp spoolie through the soap,” advises Cespedes. “Then, use it to gently brush your brows upwards and outwards, away from the center of your face.” You should not see any kind of suds or foaming; that’s a tell-tale sign that your spoolie is too wet. Rather, the soap should look just a little waxy, she points out. Finish by pressing your brows down with your fingertips for five seconds to ensure they’re set, adds Bames.
Step 4: Let the soap dry and set
Once you’ve created your desired shape, let everything dry. According to Cespedes, dry time can vary based on the type of soap and amount used, but generally takes a few minutes. If you’re in a rush, you can speed things up by gently fanning your brows or misting them with a quick spritz of setting spray, she adds.
To see the soap brow technique in action, check out the below tutorial from YouTuber Peyton Smith.
The best products for creating a similar effect to soap brows
If you’re not sold on using soap on your brows or if your skin is too sensitive for soap, here are two products that will yield similar results.
NYX Professional Makeup Control Freak Clear Eyebrow Gel (Buy from Ulta, $7)
Cespedes counts this among one of her top picks of brow products, adding that clear gel will provide excellent definition and hold for your brows. Plus, this product can easily be layered without flaking to create your desired look, and is very affordable. Simply apply the clear gel onto clean, dry eyebrows and brush brow hairs in upward and outward motions to get a soap brow look.
e.l.f. Soap Brow Clear (Buy from Walmart, $6):
This is a clear brow pomade, which is great if you want to add hold and definition to your brows, but Cespedes says it will also create a more defined and sculpted look. Bames adds that pomades are the most similar to brow soap and will work in an almost identical manner. Case in point: This one is also water-activated and meant to be used the exact same way you’d use soap.
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