- ‘Soap brows’ is the technique of using damp soap to lock the eyebrow hairs in place for a fanned-out look.
- To soap your brows, you need gentle soap and an eyebrow brush, or a clean mascara wand.
- Fill in your eyebrows after achieving soap brows to avoid a messy look.
The soap brows technique has come to replace your clear mascara, brow gel, and wax. It’s a technique that requires nothing but a bar of soap and an eyebrow brush or clean spoolie, and it helps to firmly set the brow hairs into place for a boy brow or ‘80s brow look.
If you’re a fan of brows brushed straight up to look fanned out and fluffy, you might want to try the soap eyebrow technique! If you’re not sure how to proceed, have no fear because we’ve got you and your brows covered. First, we explain what the soap brow trend is, and then we give recommendations for the best products for achieving soap brows.
We also included a step-by-step guide for how you can get them at home, and to finish things off, we added a few beauty tips and safety suggestions you really need to know before trying soap brows.
In this article:
- What Are Soap Brows?
- 7 Best Products for Getting ‘Soap Brows’
- How to Achieve Soap Brows
- Things to Know Before Trying the Soap Eyebrow Trend
What Are ‘Soap Brows’ and How Did It All Start?
Soap brow videos first started popping up on YouTube around three years ago. I remember first seeing the technique presented in a video by Sam from Pixiwoo (i.e. the channel that belongs to Sam & Nic Chapman, the sisters that started the amazing brush brand Real Techniques). Sam presents the technique in the video and explains that it’s actually been in use by makeup artists for decades, especially in Old Hollywood.
The principle behind soap brows is very simple! Slightly damp soap acts as a strong wax or gel, so you use a brush covered in a bit of soap to brush the hairs in an upward or diagonal direction, and once the soap dries down, the brows get locked into place.
The final result is fanned-out brows, where each individual hair is a lot more prominent because of how they are all brushed up. The soap also adds just a bit of heft to the brows, making them appear fuller.
This technique is surprisingly great for improving the overall shape of the brows, by allowing the length of the hair to increase thickness from top to bottom. It often creates a better frame for how they should be filled in, should you choose to do so. However, it’s also worth noting that the fanned-out look isn’t for everyone, so look at the photos to think if this is the brow look you’d like to achieve!
7 Best Products for Getting Soap Brows
You might already have the tools for creating flawless soap brows at home, but if you don’t, here are the products we’d recommend purchasing!
1. Pears Transparent Original Soap
Many consider this gentle glycerin soap to be the original and best choice for fluffy soap eyebrows. It’s clear, as it doesn’t leave a residue on the brows, and it contains lots of nourishing glycerin. It’s also very affordable and doubles as excellent hand soap. The only drawback is that, like with any other soap, using it can get a little messy if you don’t have a dedicated container for it. You can get it on Amazon.
2. 2Pcs Eye Brush with Cap for Travel
In addition to soap, it’s important to have a clean spoolie brush for applying the soap and shaping the brows. We like these brushes a lot because while their handles are long and elegant, the spoolie itself is a little shorter than the average mascara wand, making them more suitable for working on the brows. They come with a cap for travel or just to help you keep things clean, and they’re reusable, which we prefer to wasteful disposable options. Purchase them from Amazon!
3. Iconic London Brow Silk & Brush
This is like a glammed-up version of the soap and brush needed for soap brows. It won’t necessarily give you better results, but it’ll look more stylish on your makeup vanity, and it’s considerably more travel-friendly. The kit includes a soap-like product in a compact, which is enriched with wax to improve hold and prevent that “crunchy” look, along with a brush slightly reminiscent of a toothbrush, which gently captures each brow hair and is great for those with naturally thicker brows. Rose gold packaging makes this a truly gorgeous product to own. You can buy it at Ulta.
4. Ownest 2PCS Eyebrow Soap Kit
This kit is a little less elegant, but it’s more affordable and just as convenient. It includes two tins filled with clear soap and two disposable mascara spoolies, which you can replace as they wear out. The only drawback to this product is that the brand doesn’t disclose the list of ingredients for the soap, although it seems to be just a simple, basic product. Order it from Amazon!
5. J.Cat Beauty Disposable Silicone Mascara Wand
If you’re a makeup artist or simply prefer disposable mascara wands to reusable one, this is by far the best option. It’s a set of 12 silicone spoolies, with 3 different shapes for different needs. We love the small, rounded ones for achieving soap eyebrows on thinner brows, while the traditional shape in yellow is great for thin brows. Instead of throwing them out after one use, you can actually wash them to use again. You can use these for combing and separating your lashes, as well. Pick them up from Ulta!
6. Morphe Continuous Setting Mist
While water will do just fine, you can get fancy and use a setting spray for dampening your spoolie. We like a gentle spray with lots of hydrating agents, rather than a heavy fixing spray with lots of polymers. This one is great because it includes both glycerin and butylene glycol to keep the brows hydrated and soft-looking, and it’s very easy to travel with. Shop for it at Ulta!
7. Inovat 2 Pcs Small Size Plastic Soap Case
If you do decide to keep it old school with a soap, having a soap holding case is a must! This little case is almost like a compact for your soap, and it’s perfect at home or while traveling. You can use its lid like a little palette to ensure your soap and water mixture has the right consistency, and you can also wipe off excess soap from your spoolie with the help of the rim. It’s available on Amazon in a few exciting colors.
How to Achieve Soap Brows
Now let’s get to the part you’re really interested in – how to actually get soap brows!
- The process can get a little messy, so you will probably want to do the soap brows before applying foundation, although once you get used to it, you can change up the order.
- To start, comb out your brow hairs with a clean mascara wand first both to detangle them and to help you plan the direction you’d like the hairs to go in.
- Next, dampen your spoolie (or a different spoolie, we don’t judge) with water or setting spray and rub it over your soap.
- The soap shouldn’t really be visible on the brush, nor should you rub it so much that it lathers up and gets foamy. If you have too much soap on the spoolie, wipe off the excess on the side of the soap container or in a tissue.
- Once the brush is loaded with the right amount of soap, brush it over your brows.
- First, start at the inner part of the brow and brush the hairs from the bottom up.
- Then, work your way towards the end of the brow, continuing to brush the hairs upwards.
- Go over the brow a second time, this time concentrating on finding any clips of hair and separating them with the pointed end of the spoolie.
- If you’d like, use the tip of the spoolie to brush the tips of the brow hairs slightly downwards for a neater shape at the top. Alternatively, leave them be for a fluffier look.
- Finally, using either your fingers for a softer look or the smooth end of a makeup brush for a tight and pristine laminated look, press the hairs against your skin so that they really stick in place. Once again, you’ll want to do this going from the bottom up to reinforce the direction in which you brushed them.
- Using a damp face cloth or cotton bud, clean up any soap that may have gotten on your skin.
- That’s it! Do the same to your other brow. Once you’re done, you can use a fan or a blow drier on a low setting to help the soap dry down more quickly.
- Once the soap is dry, you can do your makeup if you like! We have tips in the next section on how you can fill in your brows for a perfected look.
Important Things to Know Before Trying the Soap Eyebrow Trend
Soap brows are not without their risks and inconveniences, so we have a few tips you should keep in mind before adopting this look.
If you have a long day ahead of you or if you know there’s a chance you might get sweaty, then soap brows are not a great idea. The sweat mixed with the soap on the brows can drip down into your eyes, and if you’ve ever gotten soap in your eyes in the past, you know how much it can burn! The more soap you use, the higher the risk of this happening.
Get the Quantity Right
It’s key to remember that the right amount of soap needed is different from person to person. The thinner and more delicate your brows are, the less soap you’ll need and vice versa. You might have to experiment with this technique a few times before figuring out exactly how much soap you need. If the soap starts appearing after a few hours, looking flakey or white, that’s usually a sign that you’ve used too much soap and not enough water.
Keep Your Skin Protected
It’s an undeniable fact that soap is alkaline (i.e. basic, or the opposite of acidic), while our skin is healthiest at a slightly acidic pH. Because of this, you want some barrier between your skin and the soap. Just using a minimal amount of soap and keeping on the brows is usually enough to prevent too much contact, but you can take an extra step of protecting the skin with a barrier-forming primer like the Smashbox Photo Finish.
Fill Them in Correctly
It is undeniably best to fill the brows in after trying the soap brow technique. If you try to fill the brows in beforehand, the soap-covered spoolie will remove most of your hard work. Instead, after setting your brows in place, use a tiny angle brush (ABH Brush #7B is a major favorite) loaded with powder or pomade to draw on micro strokes of hair only in the spots where your hair density is lower, and you have bald spots.
Long, straight strokes and blocky or even diffused, shadowy applications don’t work well with soap brows, and you should be careful not to disrupt the shape of your brows on top since the whole point of soap brows is to get them looking fluffy on top thanks to the direction of the hairs.
Photos via @cassandralusi_mua, Instagram