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Soap Brows Are the (Worst Kept!) Secret to Full, Defined Brows in a Swipe

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Photo by Svetikd/Getty Images

When it comes to brows, more is more. Need proof? Look no further than soap brows, the eyebrow trend that’s been around for a few years as an easy way to get a DIY laminated brow look. Its claim to fame? Helping create the look of feathery, natural brows—no matter what kind of arches you’re working with. And if celebs like Kaia Gerber and Lily Collins are any indication, they don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

That’s music to our ears, because as nice as it would be to wake up with thick brows, some of us are working with sparse areas, fair eyebrow hairs, or super-slow hair growth. While filling in your brows is one essential step to achieving the full-brow look, using a single product to direct (and hold!) your brow hairs is a game-changer. You can try an eyebrow gel with a tint or a brow lamination—a beauty treatment that is essentially a perm for your brows—but another easy (and cheap) way to lift and lock brow hairs in place can likely be found in your bathroom: soap. Yup, that bar you have in the shower.

Soap brows are more than a recent (if somewhat strange) way of styling your brows. If you scroll through Instagram or TikTok, you’ll see that it's more than just your average beauty trend. Below, we dive deeper into the soap brow technique with tips from Chicago-based makeup artist Teresa Marie Guzman and Toronto-based, board-certified dermatologist Geeta Yadav, MD.  


About the Experts: 
Teresa Marie Guzman is a makeup artist based in Chicago. You can check out her work on her Instagram.
Geeta Yadav, MD, is a Board-certified dermatologist based in Toronto, Canada. Practicing medical and cosmetic dermatology, her professional expertise has been featured in publications ranging from Allure to Good Housekeeping.

What exactly are soap brows?

The look of soap brows is essentially synonymous with laminated brows, which are bushy brows with brow hairs that are noticeably lifted. The soap brow look is achieved by applying a soap paste to the brow hairs to act as a pomade in place of a brow gel; it’s applied via brush (like a toothbrush) or spoolie (the one that looks like a mascara wand brush, the one that you might use while removing eyelash extensions).

With the right soap, it creates an impressive hold that can last all day long. This technique has long been an insider trick amongst makeup artists and the drag community, but has reached the masses thanks to tons of mesmerizing videos showing the technique by beauty bloggers, vloggers, and content creators.

@ipsy How I like my brows: 🧼. #soapbrows #soapbrowstutorial #makeuphacks #fyp #fpy #IPSY ♬ original sound - IPSY

What kind of soap should you use? 

Before you grab the first bar of soap you can get your hands on, there are some important things to consider.

• First, look for a soap that contains glycerin, as this is what really coats those brow hairs and locks them in place for a long-lasting look. "Glycerin is typically derived from a fat—like vegetable oil—and contains sugar," says Dr. Yadav. "After it’s activated with a liquid like water, the soap coats your individual hairs and dries. The glycerin seals in moisture to create that glossy and fluffy look, while the sugar locks it in place."

• Next, you'll want to make sure your soap is transparent and goes on clear when applied to your skin and brow hairs. Otherwise, you may see some white residue. A couple options we love: The Pure and Gentle Soap by Pears (available everywhere from Amazon.com to Target) is a favorite for this technique, while West Barn Co.’s soap brow is cruelty-free and formulated with natural ingredients.

Is soap bad for your eyebrows? 

The short answer: No—because soap is made to come in contact with your skin. "Glycerin soap is known to be one of the mildest and gentlest bar cleansers available," Dr. Yadav says. However, leaving it on all day could potentially cause irritation, especially if you have super sensitive skin.

To minimize potential irritation, Dr. Yadav recommends looking for glycerin soaps that contain "soothing plant-derived ingredients like aloe vera and coconut oil, which are generally well-tolerated by all skin types." She also suggests avoiding formulations that contain sensitizing ingredients—like essential oils, menthol, or witch hazel.

Skincare tip: Try a patch test on your skin before fully committing to make sure you don't have an allergy or reaction.

How do you actually do soap brows? 

If you're down to try this bushy brow makeup trick, but you're not exactly sure how to do it, here's a quick tutorial on how to achieve the look:

Step 1: Prep your spoolie. 

First, you'll want to lightly wet the surface of the soap. You can do this a few ways:

• Adding a bit of water

• Spraying it with a prep mist (if available in a kit)

• Using a spritz (or two) of setting spray—for a little extra hold

You want the soap to become paste-like in texture, but not so wet that it starts to lather. Once you have a goopy consistency, run a clean spoolie brush along the damp bar of soap, making sure the bristles are fully coated, but not overflowing with soap. "Be sure you get a nice amount of product on the spoolie," Guzman says. "Play around until you find the right amount for you."

Step 2: Brush spoolie through your brow hairs. 

Now that you have soap on the brow brush:

• "Go straight into the brows and brush up and away," Guzman says. Use the spoolie to direct the brows upward, which will create the bold, fluffy brows you're going for.

• "I like to set the brows by using the wand of the spoolie or your finger to press the product into place—sort of like laminating your brows,” Guzman says. “Then, you can manipulate the hair positioning."

• Finally, run the spoolie horizontally across the top edge of the brow. This will angle the top of the hairs slightly downward, making them appear a bit smaller overall. Just be sure to work quickly before the soap dries and locks the hairs in place.

Step 3: Fill in your brows. 

Now that your brow hairs are set in place, look for any sparse spots. Filling in your brows with your favorite brow product can help make your brows look fuller and more defined. Guzman says she loves using "a blade-like tool or a thin brow pencil to draw in hair strokes to blend well with the rest of the brow." 

If you naturally have bushy brows, Guzman suggests a daily routine that includes soap brows. "The technique is fast and draws attention to this area of the face," she says. If you're new to soap brows, Guzman does note that there is a bit of a learning curve to get it right. "Don't expect to be a pro after a couple of uses," she says. "Get to know the product and how well it works with your hair type. Do not get discouraged as the final result is just so effortless and stunning." You got this!

Want to go bold with your brows? Take our Beauty Quiz and discover the fun of the IPSY Glam Bag. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Deanna Pai
Deanna Pai
Deanna Pai is a freelance beauty and wellness writer and editor based in New York; her work has appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, and many others.
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Article Last Updated November 28, 2022 12:00 AM