I was at a makeup event recently where celebrity makeup artist and groomer Joanna Simkin was imparting her skillset on the lucky few that were able to sit in her chair. I may or may not have armed my way through and exuberantly sat down for a little touch-up. She concealed, highlighted, and added lipstick (this new Almay Lip Vibes in Smile, $9, which is super moisturizing and boldly colored). But then, when it came to my brows, she simply took out a clean spoolie and a literal bar of soap, took the damp spoolie ran it along the bar of soap, and brushed up my brows…and just like that, I was intro’d to “soap brows.”
I’d never heard of these soap brows before then, and didn’t really hear much of them afterward, so I assumed it was some one-off concept from a brilliant makeup artist like Simkin. Then, weeks later, I went to get my brows perfected by the lovely Robin Evans (aka “The Brow Master” and our model for this story—hi, Robin!) in New York. She plucked, tinted, and then, yep, brought out a tin of soap, and brushed them up to perfection. Afterward, my brows looked fuller, fluffier, and stayed in place all day long. (Much more impressive results than any brow gel I’d ever used before.) I had to know, what exactly is this bar of soap and generic spoolie doing near my brows, and how are they going to change the brow game? Welcome to soap brows, they just might change your (makeup) world.
What in the heck are soap brows?!
The soap mentioned for this process must be glycerin (preferably an unscented and clear soap bar, which you can get as cheap as $1 at the drugstore), and it basically will have your brows locked in place better than any type of fancy (or not) brow gel you’ve used before. “I do soap brows because honestly, no brow gel works as well as the soap to hold the brows up,” says Simkin. “Soap brows will last you all day, guaranteed.”
Evans stumbled upon the idea on Instagram and has used it religiously since. “I love that the product goes on clear, I find some types of pomade products and brow gels that have color in them are harder to apply in that the pigment shows up sometimes spotty on your skin instead of only adhering to the hair,” she says. “I also love that it’s pliable, it doesn’t get crisp and crunchy, it’s moldable and can be brushed and reshaped throughout the day.”
“I have used good old Dial, and a nice olive oil bar I picked up in France, but my favorite is Pears Glycerin Soap,” says Simkin. (Feel free to get the cheapest or nicest one you’d like and experiment with the results.) “There is also a brand called Soapbrows which has a small bar of glycerin soap and a nice little case to keep it closed/sanitary.” Evans uses the Soapbrows brand by West Barn Co., mainly for the convenience (and cleanliness) of it in its own metal tin.
For the spoolie (aka mascara wand), yes, you could grab a fancy one, but I’ve just held onto a few spoolies I’ve grabbed from Sephora or Ulta. Just wash and clean them every few days, they’ll honestly last much, much longer than you’d expect. Simkin, too, swears by the free option: “I am honestly not picky about my spoolie, I use a disposable one I grabbed at a Sephora sample station (shh… ha!).” Evans, being “The Brow Master” naturally has probably thousands of these in her studio, but the Soapbrows tin comes with its own spoolies, too.
The Simple How-To
To properly do soap brows, all you’ll need is a bar of soap and a clean spoolie brush. That’s it! It’s also a very simple process, too.
If you do fill in your brows every day, do so to your liking with a pencil or powder (Evans likes Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil.). Now, onto the magic…
First, simply dampen your spoolie wand, either by spraying it with a mist or water, or just run it under the faucet. (The Soapbrows brand also comes with a watermelon-infused mist for this purpose.) Then, gently run the damp spoolie back and forth along the soap, about 5 or 6 times to get a decent amount of soap on it. (Magically, it won’t foam up, but don’t do it excessively or it’s likely to do so). Evans likes to bend the spoolie (gently so it doesn’t break!) so it’s at an easier angle to gather soap. “Then, starting from the inner corners, brush brows straight up, all the way through,” says Simkin. “Once all your hairs are brushed up, if you’d like, you can go over the top edges to tame some of the wilder hairs for a smoother shape (usually closer to the tail of the brows),” she adds.
Style the brushed up brows however you’d like, but Simkin loves the look of the inner corner hairs being brushed up and “bushy,” saying it looks “super young and fresh-looking (think of the youngest, coolest models, who all have very bushy brows).” If you also need a bit more filling in, feel free to add in more definition with your brow pencil, too.
The whole point of soap brows is a carefree, easy, last-all-day style: “… The look of soap brows is really about the hairs being defined and skin showing through…,” says Simkin.
There you have it, a whole new type of brow innovation, centered around a simple, very old-school bar of soap.
Keep on brow’ing: