Soap is great for washing your face, cleaning your body and keeping your hands germ-free. But can it also help you get fuller-looking eyebrows?
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Though soap brows have become a recent trend on social media, the idea of using soap to get full, fluffy brows has been a secret of makeup artists for years.
Fans of the technique claim it’s easy to do, inexpensive and gives results that last.
All you need? A bar of soap and a clean spoolie.
Dermatologist Alok Vij, MD, explains the trend, how to do it safely and provides some alternatives to achieve full brows.
What are soap brows?
“Soap brows are the process of making your eyebrows look fuller and more luxurious, by using soap as a leave-in product,” says Dr. Vij.
And the type of soap you use is key. Look for soaps that have glycerin as the primary ingredient.
“Glycerin is a special type of lipid, or an oily molecule, that can coat the surface of hairs to make each individual hair strand look a little bit fuller,” explains Dr. Vij.
Other recommended products include gentle mild soaps or beauty bars that don’t have a lot of extra additives.
“You don’t want to choose something that has a lot of fragrances or colors in it because those fragrances and dyes, along with preservatives, can cause allergic reactions,” notes Dr. Vij.
Are soap brows safe?
Remember pencil-thin brows? Those have given way to full, fluffy brows — which is great if you haven’t spent the last 20 years tweezing your eyebrows into slim arches.
As most of us weren’t born with the eyebrows of our dreams, there’s a myriad of products and techniques that can help us all get those bushy brows.
“Eyebrows have really become a focal point of the beauty industry and of celebrity images,” says Dr. Vij. “On the spectrum of treatments for eyebrows, soap brows have very low risks.”
And once dry, the soap won’t wash off until your next face wash or shower.
“Because glycerin is an oily molecule, it’s not going to wear away easily,” he explains. “It’ll feel more like a wax on the surface of the hair.”
Soap brow risks
There are some possible risks of using soap brows. Dr. Vij explains what to watch out for.
Soap can irritate skin
“One of the main risks is that by leaving soap on your skin or in contact with your skin, you can develop allergic or irritative reactions to some of the components of the soap, whether it’s the soap itself, or more commonly, a fragrance, a preservative or another additive,” says Dr. Vij.
If you notice any redness or irritations around your eyebrows, soap brows aren’t for you.
Soap can run into eyes
Once the soap sets, it stays in place. But there is a caveat — exercise and sweating can cause the soap sitting on your brows to run into your eyes.
“Soap can sting your eyes or it can cause conjunctivitis or irritation of the lining of your eyes, which can be seen as redness or broken blood vessels showing up on the white part of your eye,” says Dr. Vij. “And in rare cases, you could have a more severe reaction, although it’s unlikely to cause scarring or vision changes in your eyes.”
If you know you’re about to put in a sweat session at the gym, it’s a good idea to skip the soap for a day.
How to get soap brows
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get soap brows:
- Fill in your brows. If you have sparse or thin brows, it’s recommended that you use a brow pencil or powder to fill in those areas first. Make sure to blend the product well.
- Dampen your spoolie. You can use either a facial mist or plain water. Just watch how much water you use as that can make it sudsy when you run it across a bar of soap.
- Transfer soap onto the spoolie. Run your spoolie on the top of a bar of soap. This will transfer the soap onto the brush in a thin layer. It’s always best to start with a small amount of soap and work your way up to more, if needed.
- Comb your brows. Using the spoolie, comb your brows up and out. “As you’re doing so, you want to swoop them up in a 45-degree angle away from your nose towards the top outer corner of your forehead,” says Dr. Vij. “This will help shape and create the natural curve of your ideal full eyebrow.”
- Let your brows dry. It will take a minute or two for the soap to dry. If you want to apply another coat, repeat steps 2 thru 5.
It may take you a few times to get the technique right and figure out how much soap to use and how to shape them the way you want.
Soap brows alternatives
There are plenty of other methods out there to help you get fuller-looking brows.
- Brow pencils, gels, powders. Traditional makeup is quick and painless. It also gives you the ability to experiment with shape and width. Most formulas will wash off at the end of the day.
- Microblading. This semi-permanent tattoo technique can create the illusion of fuller, defined eyebrows.
- Permanent makeup tattoos. The results of permanent makeup last longer than other methods, but it’s hard to create eyebrows that look natural. And it’s harder to remove or undo the procedure if you don’t like how your new brows look.
- Eyebrow transplants. Yes, you read that right. “A surgeon takes hair from your scalp and implants it into your eyebrows,” says Dr. Vij.
“Once you start talking about procedures, many of those have lasting consequences,” he continues. “It’s important to make sure that you’re going to someone who knows what they’re doing.”
You should also do your own research and ask for patient testimonials and before-and-after photos.
“It’s much harder and much more expensive to undo a procedure,” says Dr. Vij.
Overall, if you’re on a mission to have thicker, bushier eyebrows, soap brows may be worth a shot.
“Soap brows are generally safe,” says Dr. Vij. “So, as long as you’re not having any irritative side effects or any allergic reactions where you’re noticing itching, burning or redness of your skin around the area, then it’s reasonable to do it on a regular basis.”