I was at a makeup event recently where celebrity makeup artist and groomer Joanna Simkin imparted her skillset on the lucky few that were able to sit in her chair, including yours truly. She concealed, highlighted, and added lipstick to my once-bare face (this new Almay Lip Vibes in Smile, $9, which is super moisturizing and boldly colored) and when it came to my brows, she did something completely unexpected. Simkin simply took out a clean spoolie and bar of soap, ran the damp bristles along the bar of soap, and brushed my brows in an upward motion. And just like that, I was introduced to “soap brows.” What are soap brows, you ask?
I’d never heard of them either, and assumed it was a one-off invention until I had my brows tinted by the lovely Robin Evans (aka “The Brow Master” and our model for this story—hi, Robin!) in New York. She plucked and tinted the strands, then 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. It was much more impressive results than any brow gel I’d ever used before. Welcome to soap brows, the $1 brow tool that just might change your (makeup) world.
What 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). This humble bar of soap and a simple spoolie can lock brows in place better than any 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 her Instagram discover page, 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.”
What type of soap should you use?
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 and sanitary,” says Simkin.
Evans uses the Soapbrows brand by West Barn Co., mainly for the convenience (and cleanliness) of it in its own metal tin.
Where do you get a spoolie?
For the spoolie (aka mascara wand), yes, you could grab a fancy one, but you can also grab a few display spoolies at your next trip to Sephora or Ulta. Just wash and clean them every few days, and they’ll last 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 thousands of these in her studio, but the Soapbrows tin comes with its own spoolies, too.
How do you do soap brows?
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 five or six 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 slightly 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,” she says. 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:
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Every French Girl (and Meghan Markle) Swears By This Hair Oil
This story was originally published in October 2018 and has since been updated.