I’m pretty fortunate to be blessed with bushy eyebrows, so the first time I heard about soap brows—the latest trend to sweep the internet—I didn’t think much of it. But even though I rarely fill in my brows, I never leave the house without a swipe of gel to keep them in place.
Then I ran out my beloved Glossier Boy Brow and hit a wall. Usually I’d grab a tube of whatever clear gel showed up in the Glamour beauty closet that week, but considering I haven’t actually been to the office since March, my access to a massive brow stash is limited these days. Which brings me back to soap brows. The technique first went viral on Instagram in 2016, but thanks to TikTok, beauty trends that were old are now new again. And soap brows are having a revival.
What are soap brows?
The idea behind the trend is exactly how it sounds: Instead of using a brow gel, you use a bar of soap to shape and set your brows in place. While the trick has been repopularized by beauty bloggers, it’s actually a classic makeup artist and drag queen technique that’s been used on photo shoots for years. Aside from being insanely cheap, soap is perfect for getting those really fluffy, brushed-up, model-worthy brows that gel alone can’t quite achieve.
If that sounds insane, just watch these TikTok’ers in action:
How to do soap brows
Curious about soap brows’ practically in everyday life—not just on a social media app—I reached out to my celebrity brow specialist Joey Healy for his thoughts. First things first, he says this technique is best for people who already have longer, darker brows. So if you’re still growing back your brows from over-plucking, you might not get the same effect.
He also warns that if you fill in your brows, this might not work for you as the soap can move the pigment around. And if you have more fragile brows, a gel will probably work better for you since the smooshing required by soap brows can slow hair growth.
With all that in mind, putting soap brows into practice is actually quite simple. All you need is a bar of soap (something clear like Pears Original is best), a disposable spoolie brush, and some water or setting spray. Just wet your brush and lightly drag it across the soap.
“If you do too much, it will start to lather and will look a little white,” says Healy. “You just want it to be ever so damp, and then press your brows in the direction of hair growth—up and then over, and then down.” The result is brows that are essentially glued into place but look extremely natural.
To be honest, I was skeptical. If it was so revolutionary, why wasn’t everyone throwing out their brow gel in favor of soap? But I was surprised at how user-friendly it is. I love the way it makes my brows stay perky and fluffy, and it actually kept them that way all day, without feeling flaky or chunky. It wasn’t messy, and I spent less time on my brows than usual.
I’ll never break up with my Boy Brow for real, but until I buy a new tube, you can bet I’ll have a bar of soap handy.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.