Makeup Tips

Why Experts Are Begging You To Never, Ever Do the Soap Brow Technique

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Photo: Getty Images/ Talia Ali / EyeEm

As is the case with all trends, Instagram makeup fads come and go. And while some might be a bit polarizing (let’s be real, clown contouring and wavy brows aren’t for everyone), for the most part, they’re harmless. But the resurgence of one brow trend might not be so friendly to the health of your arches, which is why experts are revealing the truth about whether soap brows are safe… or not.

The eyebrow styling hack is just what the name suggests: You use a spoolie and a bar of soap in lieu of a brow product to get fuller, slicked-up, stuck-in-place brow hairs. “People love using this hack because it’s an inexpensive way to get a stronghold and help keep your brows in place all day, especially if you have thick, unruly brow hairs,” says Jared Bailey, Benefit Cosmetics global brow expert. “It’s actually considered an old-Hollywood secret that has been used by makeup artists on set, in editorial beauty and fashion shoots, and even in drag makeup.” But, despite its popularity, dermatologists say that the hack poses certain risks to your hair and skin if you do it day in and day out.

According to Sandra Lee, MD, a dermatologist famously known as Dr. Pimple Popper and founder of SLMD Skincare, any kind of soap can negatively affect your complexion. “This is especially the case if it’s sensitive and in areas where your skin is thinner, like around the eyelids,” she says. That’s because soap can contain a number of irritating ingredients, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a foaming agent that can irritate the skin when it isn’t washed away with water. While Dr. Lee explains that soap, in general, can be drying, allowing the residue to sit on the skin for extended periods of time poses a threat of getting irritant contact dermatitis (ICD). That means you could experience a rash, irritation, itching, and visible bumps or blisters.

Another risk with soap brows? It could potentially be rough on your brow hair. “If the soap on your spoolie is too thick, it could pull hairs, leaving patches or gaps,” says Bailey. And brow hair can take weeks to grow back. Your best bet? Use products that have been specifically created for brows, he says. For something that’ll give you a similar effect to soap brows, he recommends covering your spoolie with a clear brow wax, then brushing your hairs up and out. Or, ya know, you can stock up on one of these really, really good brow styling products instead. Keep scrolling to shop.

1. Benefit Cosmetics Brow Zings Pro Palette, $39

Photo: Benefit Cosmetics

This is basically an all-in-one kit that gives you everything you need for bushy, fuller-looking brows. Choose between two different brushes plus a spoolie along with clear or colored waxes and long-wear powder that gives you definition that lasts all day long.

Shop now: Benefit Cosmetics Brow Zings Pro Palette, $39

2. Patrick Ta Major Brow Shaping Wax, $22

Photo: Patrick Ta

Grab a brush or spoolie to work this game-changing wax that defines your brow hairs and holds them in place. The great thing about this formula is that it’s also packed with hair-nourishing ingredients like growth peptides, glycerin, and olive oil, so your brow hairs get soft and strong as you wear it.

Shop now: Patrick Ta Major Brow Shaping Wax, $22

3. Iconic London Brow Silk and Brush Bundle, $25

Photo: Iconic London

This product duo is kind of like soap brows, but much more skin friendly. The wax is filled with hydrating shea butter and jojoba oil, and, when combed through your brows with the bristles, your arches look fuller and thicker… and they won’t budge.

Shop now: Iconic London Brow Silk and Brush Bundle, $25

4. Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Brow MVP Sculpting Wax Pencil & Styler, $20

Photo: Fenty Beauty

Rihanna and Fenty Beauty have created the most genius brow tool ever: The double-sided pen has both a shaping wax (which happens to be water-resistant) and an ultra-fine brush that defines your brows with precision.

Shop now: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Brow MVP Sculpting Wax Pencil & Styler, $20

5. Sephora Collection Eyebrow Editor, $19

Photo: Sephora Collection

For a brow styling and grooming set, the Sephora Collection palette does it all. Besides the mirror and tweezers, you get eyebrow powders and wax plus an angled brush and spoolie for your arch grooming needs.

Shop now: Sephora Collection Eyebrow Editor, $19

Want even more beauty intel from our editors? Join Well+Good’s Fine Print Facebook group (and follow us on Instagram) for must-know tips and tricks.

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