Ever feel like you’re the last person on earth to learn about a trend or TV show? Welcome to Late to the Party, where we’ll be digging into widely loved topics and techniques through the lens of someone who just discovered them. Everyone’s invited, because it’s never too late to join the hype.
I’m pretty fortunate to be blessed in the eyebrow department. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had fairly thick dark brows, which I used to hate, but actually worked out in my favor as Cara Delevingne rose to fame. Ever since then, I’ve barely tweezed them.
Although I rarely fill in my brows, I never leave the house without a swipe of brow gel to keep the longer hairs in place. I’ve been loyal to Glossier Boy Brow for years, but having run out recently, I’ve just been using whatever clear gel shows up on my desk (one of the many perks of the job). I love the natural look of clear gel, but for whatever reason it doesn’t want to keep my brows in place for more than an hour or two. Then in a recent meeting, I was reminded of a technique that may be the answer to my prayers: Soap brows.
Our editor-in-chief had just returned from Europe, where all her friends were currently obsessed with the technique, which technically went viral back in 2016, but is having a resurgence once again thanks to social media.
The idea behind soap brows 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 re-popularized by beauty bloggers, it’s actually a classic makeup artist and drag queen technique that’s been used on photoshoots for years. Aside from being insanely cheap, soap is perfect for getting those really fluffy, brushed-up, editorial brows that gel alone can’t quite achieve.
Celebrity brow specialist Joey Healy says that this technique is best for those with darker, longer brows. He notes that if you also 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 might work better for you as the smushing required by soap brows can slow hair growth.
As for putting soap brows into practice, the technique itself 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 looks extremely natural.
To be honest, I was totally skeptical. If it was actually 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.