Do Soap Brows Mean the End of Instagram Brows?

Glossier Brow Flick + Boy Brow Duo

PLEASE tell me this could be the death knell for “Instagram Brows”.

Has anyone else noticed the marked difference in the style of eyebrows in beauty brands’ marketing and Instagram feeds lately? For years we’ve had the so-called Instagram Brows taking over, er, Instagram. What’s best described as drag queen brows, we’ve seen these exaggerated, airbrushed-style brows on so many girls (and boys!) for a while now, and I honestly think a change is finally coming.

(And if not, then I’ll be crying into my makeup bag for a good while longer yet.)

Of course I’m 100% in favour of everyone wearing whatever the hell they like, without fear or judgement, and that extends to makeup, too. But I still have personal preferences on trends in fashion and beauty, and this was one I just never warmed to I’m afraid (apologies, Instagram Brows fans).

However, recently I’ve seen a shift towards a new style that I really hope will take over eventually (all trends change of course), so I thought I’d take a look* at what I think the most on-trend brows will look like in a few years’ time.

*a light-hearted one, of course, nothing serious or heavy about this post. Bit like the brows…


Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links which means if you click through and buy I may receive a small commission at no cost to you (click here for my full disclosure). Any items listed as* were gifted within the last 12 months.


Let’s take a look at Instagram Brows first.


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Don’t get me wrong – I fully appreciate the artistry in makeup like this. It’s incredible, and I couldn’t come close to doing anything that detailed or perfect. It’s just that in terms of actual makeup I just can’t bring myself to like these brows… to me it’s theatrical makeup that’s meant to stand out from a distance when seen on stage. I didn’t like them when they first appeared, I still don’t like them now.

It’s no different to someone disliking my chunky platform sandals. I’m allowed to like them! Others are allowed to NOT like them!

You get my point.

But sometime last year I noticed a few beauty brands and fashion brands featuring models with very different brows. To be honest, I knew that very few brands (especially fashion brands) had never, ever given their models Instagram Brows. Brands like Mango and Asos have ALWAYS favoured natural brows on their models (especially evident on their jewellery and accessories pages in close-ups) – no black painted-on eyebrows with pointy edge bits finished off with concealer to get those edges precision-perfect.

Enter: Soap brows.


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Now these brows were something I’d been aware of from a very young age… despite their bizarre name, they’re not new.

I was into all the Hollywood greats when I was a kid, and the first time I saw Sophia Loren’s makeup – with those brows and the perfect cat eyeliner – I was mesmerised. Looking at it now the brows are a bit weird (HOW did she get them so sticky-uppy and regimented?!), but as a young teen I thought they were beautiful. They were just a little bit different to the untouched, all-over-the-place Brooke Shields-style eyebrows of the 80s and hey, different always stands out, doesn’t it?

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The funny thing is that eyebrows go in and out of style as much as hemlines do (probably more so), so I’m convinced we’re seeing a shift in style right now. We’re in the transitional eyebrow fashion stage (or at least I bloody hope we are).

Now if I’ve lost you with the whole “soap brows” thing, as I already mentioned they are not a new thing. It’s just that they ARE a new thing. (Stay with me.)

Soap brows are natural, fluffy and “sticky-uppy”. Often unplucked. The soap bit is the fact that you get them to stick up – and stay sticking up – with soap. And if you don’t believe me…


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It’s the look I’ve been favouring myself for a while now – less of the colour-blocked-in-with-perfect-shadow, more of the natural brush strokes look with those nice gaps of skin showing through. And if you’re now shouting No, Catherine! All I see are Instagram Brows still!! at me down your phone or laptop, then take a look at these natural beauties (brows I mean, though the girls are stunning too)…


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And another (even more exaggerated and sticky-uppy:


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And then there’s this one – the makeup is over the top and doll-like, but the eyebrows couldn’t be less Instagram Brows-y…


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So soap brows are the way I think the next trend in brows is headed (thank god). Or even just a return to fluffy, natural brows, and the most realistic, untouched brows we’ve seen in a while. No more pencil-thin, overplucked 90s and 00s style brows. No more Scouse Brows. No more Instagram Brows.

Just a BIT of brushing. Just a BIT of plucking (only if necessary). Just a BIT of filling in (again, only if necessary).

They’ll be the wildflower garden of brows rather than those with big ol’ perfectly manicured, dense hedges.

But what if you (like me) succumbed to the plucking in the 70s, 90s and early 00s – and you’re left with little more than a few sparse straggles of hair? Do not despair – there are ways and means to create more than just a thin line of doom across the top of your eyes.


Products for creating natural brows (and soap brows)

5 Product for Creating Natural Soap Brows | Not Dressed As Lamb

1. Ardell Beauty Stroke A Brow Feathering Pen – This is the BEST pen I’ve found for creating feathery strokes. Even close up they look like real hairs. Available in Taupe, Medium Brown, Dark Brown and Soft Black.

2. Pears transparent soap – As recommended by Pixiwoo Girl Nicola Chapman in the video above, this is what I use for making my eyebrows sticky-uppy.

3. Soapbrows kit – The real deal. More expensive than buying a bar of transparent soap (but a lot cuter in a handy little tin), this is the actual stuff created specifically to create soap brows.

4. Glossier Boy Brow (& Brow Flick) – The cult product that everyone is talking about (you know, “everyone”) to make your brows thicker by adding fibres to bushy them up a bit. This set also includes the Brow Flick which does the same as the Ardell Feathering Pen, but I haven’t used it so can’t say how good it is. You can buy Boy Brow and Brow Flick separately if you’d prefer.

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5. RapidBrow Eyebrow Enhancing Serum – I’ve used this for a long time and I tell you THIS REALLY WORKS. If your brows are sparse from overplucking then this will – if used every day for a few weeks – help them grow back. The difference it’s made to my eyebrows is incredible, I can’t recommend it enough.


My own brows: lately

Soap brows | Not Dressed As Lamb

(Above) This is the most recent selfie I’ve taken, showing off my own soap brows. Now I KNOW that lots of people have said they like my brows this colour – this is my natural brow colour (yes, they’re naturally almost black) but with my chosen hair colour I just prefer them lighter. I haven’t bleached them in quite a while as I wanted to see whether I really did like them dark again, but no… I want them lighter again (like below):


Bleached eyebrows | Not Dressed As Lamb

So that’s what I’ll be up to this weekend. Bleaching and brushing them babies up, up, UP.

Believe me, soap brows are the way to go (no matter what colour you choose). WE’RE ALL IN DIRE NEED of sticky-uppy, bushy brows in our lives – if only to get away from the black “straight out of the salon” caterpillars we’re still seeing on so many makeup feeds. And if you don’t believe me, here’s the last word from beauty influencer Mariah Leonard – she knows what’s going down brows-wise…


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“Didn’t really live until I decided to put soap in my brows.”

Dontcha just love a bit of brow drama?! ; -)

What are you doing with YOUR brows at the moment (if anything)?! Tell me in the comments!

Catherine signature

So all that’s left to say is – I’ve shared my thoughts/stories/tuppence-worth this week, now it’s time to share yours… LET’S GET THIS [LINK UP] PARTY STARTED!


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  1. 14 November 2019 / 2:14 pm

    So relieved to hear Instagram brows are ‘over’… rarely flattering to anyone in my humble opinion! Like the look of the soap brow, much more natural… A fan of clear mascara here, tames my unruly brows nicely!

    • Catherine
      14 November 2019 / 5:00 pm

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Lou…!! 😉

  2. 19 July 2019 / 11:20 pm

    Hi, Catherine – This is fascinating. And I envy your brows. There are those of us who no longer really have brows. 🙁 So the new stay-on fiber brow makeup formulas are really a boon! I wrote a review on my blog about three of those.
    My brows were always fine and light, so now that I draw them in they are darker than ever before and probably make me look a little different. That’s okay, though, because being older I look a little different anyway! Thanks for the informative post – Angie

    • Catherine
      29 July 2019 / 8:02 pm

      Thank you Angie – although there’s a fair bit of hair on my brows there really wasn’t before I used the serum (I had a rather tactless MUA once say to me “what’s happened to your brows?”!! How he’d never met anyone that plucked their brows to oblivion in the 70s or 90s was beyond me)!

      And yes the brow fibres make a lot of difference if you need volume, I agree xx

  3. 16 July 2019 / 2:08 pm

    That was an interesting post! I never worry about my brows but I have been blessed with them not going crazy and looking fine naturally. Fun to read about the subject!

    • Catherine
      17 July 2019 / 3:46 pm

      Oooh you’re lucky Mireille to have naturally lovely brows!! x

  4. 15 July 2019 / 5:26 pm

    While I do appreciate the artistry and mad skill that one needs for Instagram brows, I do prefer a more natural brow. Yours are beautiful…I do like them a bit lighter; the lighter shade works beautifully with your complexion and hair. xo

    • Catherine
      16 July 2019 / 9:34 am

      Thanks Debbie – my brows are now lighter and fluffier!! Sooo pleased I finally bleached them again…!

  5. Ruth Slavid
    15 July 2019 / 8:09 am

    And there was I thinking my eyebrows were just those things that stopped the sweat getting in my eyes. What a lot of effort. I’d rather read a novel…

  6. xtine
    15 July 2019 / 5:48 am

    I’ve been doing this with clear gel “mascara” for years!

    • Catherine
      15 July 2019 / 1:58 pm

      Me too, Xtine – but soap brows are a WHOLE other ball game. Clear mascara doesn’t even come close to the staying power of soap… try it, you might love it if you’re a clear mascara fan! x

  7. 13 July 2019 / 9:12 pm

    Call me crazy, but I just like a natural-looking brow! Mine are naturally blonde, so if I do anything too dark, I look like a cartoon. Glossier Boy Brow is the only product I’ve ever used that doesn’t make me look totally bonkers!
    Cheryl Shops |

    • Catherine
      15 July 2019 / 2:19 pm

      I really want to try Bow Boy, Cheryl – I’ve heard such good things about it! I’m so with you on the natural brow thing…

  8. 13 July 2019 / 8:31 pm

    How strange that you should write about soapy brows. I recently started following a local page called The Brow Atelier page and they are all about ‘the fluffy brow’ which is the same thing. They say ‘natural yet fierce!’

    Yours look brill xo

    • Catherine
      15 July 2019 / 2:20 pm

      Thanks Sharon, I finally bleached them this weekend and I’m so happy I did! Fluffy brows all the way, lol 😉

  9. 13 July 2019 / 5:43 pm

    Catherine, this post made me laugh! Isn’t it funny how even our brow styles are a trend? I have blonde brows that I never plucked as it hurt and made me sneeze! So, fortunately, I still have some. But I realized that I was missing that frame for my face and I now have them colored and very slightly shaped. Who’d have thought, right?! Lol!

    xx Darlene

    • Catherine
      15 July 2019 / 2:23 pm

      It IS weird that brow styles are a trend, Darlene – but if you think about it they have been since the invention of makeup, and eyebrows have always defined a decade from the thin brows of the 30s and 70s to the bushy brows of the 50s, 80s and 2010s.

      I know what you mean about plucking eyebrows making you sneeze… it’s bonkers that it makes you do that, isn’t it?!!

  10. 13 July 2019 / 8:55 am

    Aha….. finally my brows are fashionable again lol!
    Suzy x

    • Catherine
      15 July 2019 / 2:23 pm

      They’ll always come back into fashion eventually, Suzy 😉 x

  11. Karen
    12 July 2019 / 9:07 pm

    With you there Catherine about these silly ‘slug’ eyebrows …..they actually look masculine and almost silly ! There that’s off my chest ! Soap brows …..might try that as my brows can be a bit unruly. My hair is getting lighter courtesy of the hairdresser and I want my brows just a few shades darker but it’s impossible to get home eyebrow eye kits other than in really dark colours. I am getting the odd grey hair in my brows now so if I could grow more hairs I could pluck the odd one out… well that’s the theory !!! Great post, thank you x

    • Catherine
      15 July 2019 / 2:26 pm

      Hmm yes I tend to agree about them looking masculine, Karen… I love a bushy brow but it’s the heaviness of the Instagram Brow that gets me!

      If you’re looking to darken your eyebrows just a *little* I’d definitely recommend the Ardell Feathering Pen in Medium Brown. If I use this when my brows are dark (their natural colour) it makes them REALLY dark. However once I’ve bleached them they’re quite light, so if I THEN use the Medium Brown it makes them about the right colour – the brown pen then isn’t too dark (if that makes sense). They end up just a shade or so darker. Hope that helps! x

  12. Mary Katherine
    12 July 2019 / 1:23 pm

    What a fun post! I confess brow style has never even crossed my radar, althought I did start using a brow product this year. But with all the ugly stuff in the world, this was a very fun diversion.
    And Catherine, I want you to know I’m inspired by you today, wearing VERY wide legged linen trousers in rust, that I bought on a whim on holiday in Italy – and I LOVE them! Thanks for keeping it real and keeping it beautiful.

    • Catherine
      12 July 2019 / 1:31 pm

      It’s amazing how many brow products are on the market now, Mary Katherine – only a few years ago it was tweezers, eyebrow pencil and that was it!! Glad you liked the post 🙂

      That’s also great to hear you’re having fun with your wardrobe… you rock those wide leg pants! Go you!! thank you xx

  13. 12 July 2019 / 11:23 am

    Catherine, I thoroughly enjoyed this post mostly because eye brow trends were completely off my radar. I have crazy thick unruly eye brows myself and my mom always likened them to Brooke Shields. Other than keeping them cleaned up to prevent my natural uni brow I have never done much with my brows. Although recently with so much gray setting in, I do sometimes lightly brush a brown shadow over them to darken them closer to my hair color. I don’t do the soap sticky uppy thing because my left one does that all on its own anyway! Hahaha. I can’t be bothered because they just don’t cooperate with me anyway. Plus my glasses sort of conceal my brows anyway. Your brows look great either color but I agree with you, I think I like them the lighter shade closer to your hair color as well. Although if you are going for a super striking and dramatic look, the darker brows are definitely eye-catching!


    • Catherine
      12 July 2019 / 1:32 pm

      Shelbee you’re very lucky to have thick eyebrows still – so many women our age ruined them in the 90s (or even in the 70s) and they never grew back!! Thank you, I can’t actually wait to lighten my brows again now…!

      • Leslie
        13 July 2019 / 2:08 pm

        I am 51 now and mine have stopped growing! For years I never did a thing to my brows, I had natural Brooke Shields brows. I barely plucked them at all and just enjoyed the natural full & undefined look. I was busy raising two kids & running a household! These last couple of years I finally resorted to eyebrow pencils to fill in, but started going a lot more sculptural when I noticed in pictures how my brows were barely visible! Like you I recalled the screen sirens of the past and noticed they all had full brows so I went in on really making mine more full. Of course I never go as far as some of the examples you show as I agree, that’s way too theatrical besides which I spend a 1 minute doing mine & those precise lines must take ages. I for one have been grateful for the eyebrow trend, it came at just the right time for me as I didn’t anticipate ever losing my natural full brows!

        • Catherine
          15 July 2019 / 2:30 pm

          Oh gosh how wonderful that you had Brooke Shields-style brows, Leslie – maybe the serum will work for you like it did with mine?! My sister used it without telling me (and before I knew it even existed) and she always had very thin brows that she overplucked in the 70s that never really grew back. One day I noticed her brows were looking really good, and she was so pleased and said it was because she’d been using the brow serum for about a month.

          But you do have to use it EVERY DAY for best results – I just pop some on before bed. If you try it let me know how you get on! C x

  14. 12 July 2019 / 8:24 am

    I tried the ‘soap brow’ years ago, but have never liked my sister brows I wanted twins, so two years ago had microblading done, love them, and am thinking of having it topped up again! I do like the sleek IG brows, but as mine never looked right i gave up. Thanks for sharing this post – love it. Jacqui Mummabstylish

    • Catherine
      12 July 2019 / 1:33 pm

      I’ve considered microblading as well, Jacqui… it was the fact that I didn’t want them the same colour as my bleached brows so I have the dilemma of what colour to ask for. But the brow serum has made a huge difference for me luckily! Glad you liked the post, thank you x

  15. 12 July 2019 / 12:37 am

    I confess I’m a huge fan of this eyebrow style. Whatever they’re calling it today, I love the look! The trouble is my eyebrows don’t play fair. Sparse and partially grey these days, my brows need constant grooming even to look “natural ”
    How about eyebrow implants? Hahaha you never know!

    • Catherine
      12 July 2019 / 1:36 pm

      I THOUGHT you’d be a fan of the soap brow MT… most MUAs are!

      Have you ever seen eyebrow implants – they ARE a thing!! The only trouble is, they take hair from another part of the body so (and I’m trying not to crack up writing this) they don’t know when to stop growing…!!!!!! I saw it on TV, and although this lovely lady had brows, she did have to constantly trim them like head hair. Not sure I could cope with that, LOL 😉

  16. 11 July 2019 / 11:22 pm

    Catherine. I have issues. Major issues. Issues with the “Instagram Beauty” in general. First off, while the brows frame the face, brows that resemble rail road cabooses do nothing to flatter anyone.. The pubic brows. The highflighter that could light the way in the dark. The overdone filters. The overfilled lips. The photoshopping. What does a woman really look like anymore?
    And worse are the women on Instagram around my age (64) who insist on filtering and using face apps. I’m sorry they look ridiculous. Why post your photo at all if you are that ashamed of aging? I pro age–but that’s another subject.
    My brows are wonky. My right brow has been even wonkier since my MOHS surgery . And while I don’t expect them to look like twins, my go-to brow product is Benefit’s Gimme Brow with that and Anastasia Beverly Hills dipBrow, the brows look decent. Not thick and not thin–just browee wowee!
    Seriously. I’m loving this post. Thank you!

    • Catherine
      12 July 2019 / 1:37 pm

      So glad you liked the post Cathe, thank you! Brows aren’t meant to be twins as they say… I have one much higher than the other and gah, I just CANNOT get them to look the same. Thank goodness for all these great products on the market we have now! x

  17. 11 July 2019 / 9:47 pm

    My you’ve done your research! So much advice here. Thank you, Catherine. In the past ten years my brows have all but disappeared. So much so that I get excited if I find a white coarse hair up there, any hair will do now! There’s not enough soap in the Pears factory to make my stragglers look like eyebrows!
    Hugs, Mary

    • Catherine
      12 July 2019 / 1:38 pm

      Thank you Mary – you made me laugh with “There’s not enough soap in the Pears factory to make my stragglers look like eyebrows” 😉 😉 LOL

  18. 11 July 2019 / 8:44 pm

    Yes to soap brows. At least they look a little more natural. xx

    • Catherine
      12 July 2019 / 1:38 pm

      It’s a welcome change, isn’t it Laurie?!!

  19. Beverly
    11 July 2019 / 8:41 pm

    Learned how “brows frame the face”… Theatrical or Scene Brows definitely make a statement. Someone with strong or exotic features carries them well. Humble opinion ☺️

    Still prefer mine finer & rounder, groomed to follow the curve of the eye socket. These ol’ close-set eyes don’t carry “statement brows”, TeeHee.

    Love your honest & open opinions on the Blog! And your light hearted approach to life

    • Catherine
      12 July 2019 / 1:40 pm

      I’m definitely all in favour of brows that suit your face, Beverly – how great that we have choice! Glad you liked the post, thank you 🙂

  20. 11 July 2019 / 7:46 pm

    Really enjoyed this post Catherine…made me laugh and that feels good. My current situation in a air b and b for teen boys so I’m going a little crazy. Anyway, there were some crazy brows featured on Insta these days and I’m happy along with you to hopefully see them go! I’ll be on the soap brow train!

    • Catherine
      12 July 2019 / 1:40 pm

      Oh gosh Chrissy that does sound stressful.. glad I could make you laugh!! I’ll be on the soap brow train with you, hehe 😉

  21. 11 July 2019 / 7:27 pm

    I’m getting,, new,, Brows next week. Permanent make up brows. Mine are disappearing. But they are going to be like the soap brows!

    • Catherine
      12 July 2019 / 1:41 pm

      Sounds like you’re getting microblading, Nancy? Good luck, hope they’re fabulous and you love them!!

  22. 11 July 2019 / 7:15 pm

    I like mine to look like Brooke Shields’ in the 80s Calvin Klein ads. LOL. I don’t like the ungroomed “natural” styles or these “use a template” style. But that’s what I like for me. Everyone should wear the style that looks best on them, no matter whether it is “hip” right now. Looking your best is never out of style.

    • Catherine
      12 July 2019 / 1:41 pm

      I think Brooke had the most perfect (and natural!) eyebrows ever, Nicole – I’d love mine to look like hers too!

  23. 11 July 2019 / 6:59 pm

    Hooray for the soap brow! Some of the Instagram brows were a bit ridiculous. Fortunately having a fringe means my brows are largely hidden. One less thing to worry about.

    • Catherine
      12 July 2019 / 1:43 pm

      I agree that some of them are a bit ridiculous, Gail – but for ages that’s all I saw on IG. Thank goodness there’s a gradual change taking place, can’t wait for IG Brows to start to look a bit old-fashioned (in fact I think they’re looking a bit outdated already…!)

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