If the eyes are the windows to your soul, then consider your brows their curtains. And over the years, we’ve seen some pretty interesting brow trends. Once upon a time, pencil-thin brows were the “it” move both for the 1920s and the early aughts. But then the pendulum swung the other way. Thin brows were out and thick, lush brows were the must-have trend. Sometimes dubbed “Instagram brows” because of their pronounced arch and thickness, it seems like the trend is shifting towards a more natural, albeit bushier brow shape. Enter feather and soap brows, two growing trends that rose to prominence in 2020 and continue to be a popular makeup technique.
Feather and Soap Brows…What They Are and How the Trend Started
If we’re being honest, the “Instagram brow” looked anything but natural. Often relying on a blend of gel and powder products, plus a carved out lower brow from concealer, nothing said “I’m wearing a full face of makeup” like that trend. Instagram brows were most notable for their impeccably manicured appearance with literally no hair out of place.
They’re a massive contrast from both feather and soap brows which emphasize a more natural, yet thick, appearance. Rather than perfectly manicured brows that have been forced into submission, both soap and feather brows allow for individual hairs to have their moment in the sun — so to speak.
Neither feather nor soap brows are new phenomena as both can trace their origins to both the 1940s and the 1980s. But they can be a welcome option for people who felt that Instagram brows were intimidating or just annoying to replicate on their faces. However, while both feather and soap brows emphasize individual hairs that are lifted slightly over your brow’s natural arch, they’re achieved in slightly different application methods.
How to Nail Feather Brows
Feather brows focus on a look that allows you to almost see every individual hair on your brow. There are two popular variations on this brow. Similar to a feather, you can opt for your brow hairs to seemingly go in two separate directions — the upper half lifted over your natural brow arch, and the lower hairs directed down. Or, you can choose to brush your brow hairs up so that they peak over your arch rather than go in an outwards direction towards the side of your face.
For feather brows, you’re going to need an eyebrow pencil, highlighter, a brow brush, and brow gel. In many cases, you can purchase a complete brow kit that has everything you need to nail the perfect feather brows. Begin by grooming your brows and determining the shape you’re wishing to create. Specifically, work with a spoolie by brushing your brow hairs in an upward direction as you work towards the tail of your brow.
Once you’ve created the desired shape, fill in as necessary with a brow pencil. Work with small light strokes in an upward motion as the goal is to create a natural effect that looks like individual hairs. After you’ve filled them in, use a brow gel to lock the hairs in place. For best results, use a clear gel so that you don’t apply too much color product. Again, use upward short strokes to maintain your brow hair’s intended direction.
Finally, if you’ve made any makeup mistakes like smudged product around your brows, use a concealer to clean those areas. Then use a highlighter under your brow to define, still using light strokes so that it doesn’t look overdone. Now you’ve got feather brows!
How to Nail Soap Brows
Unlink feather brows, soap brows rely on slightly heavier products to achieve a similar effect. Rather than relying on a brow pencil and clear brow gel, soap brows leverage what’s known as a soap paste or pomade. The result is a stronger hold that can last as much as all day depending on how much product you apply.
If you’re going to use actual soap rather than buying a soap brow kit, keep in mind that clear glycerin-based soaps are best at maintaining an all-day hold without leaving a visible residue on your brows. Also, try to avoid soaps with fragrance as extended exposure to your skin could encourage irritation. For soap brows, you’ll need soap or brow soap, brow product to fill in your brows, and a spoolie.
To nail this look, start by wetting your soap with a spray bottle or a bit of water. The goal is to create a texture that’s somewhat slippery but not to the point that the soap starts to lather. Using a clean spoolie, brush it against your wet soap and capture enough product that the bristles are coated but not overloaded with soap.
Begin to brush your brows with the spoolie, using upward strokes throughout the brow. Since the soap is still a bit wet, you can adjust and correct it if you find that you’ve brushed your brow hairs up a bit too much. However, try to work quickly as the soap can dry fairly quickly.
Once the soap is dry, work to fill in any sparse areas with your preferred brow product. Ideally use a thinner brow pencil or brush to avoid disturbing your brow hairs too much. Once you’ve reached the desired level of coverage, your brows are ready to face the world!