To achieve a natural and fuller brow look, many are turning to the comeback trend of soap being brushed through eyebrows. But is it safe for your follicles and skin?

Goodbye stencilled eyebrows; the supermodel brow is back in all its textured fluffiness. The soap brow trend is a proponent for this movement, being a “make-up hack more than a skincare hack,” as Bengaluru-based cosmetic dermatologist Dr Chytra V Anand describes it.

This look entails the brushing of glycerin-based solid soap through the brows using a spooly brush, to enhance the hair follicles of the brows by darkening them and give each a layer of thickness. Across South and West Asia, the brow industry is one of the biggest beauty subcultures in the world, given the aspirational look of brows’ fullness.

Though the digital influencer space saw the trend swell in 2018, it has maintained its place in the beauty hack space. However, Dr Anand points out that the trend is actually much older, dating back to movie sets of the 1980s when makeup artists needed a brow product that would keep the brow hairs in place for a whole day and night. Then the plucking and threading frenzy of the ’90s came about.

Dr Chytra V Anand, CEO & founder of Kosmoderma Clinics, Bengaluru.
BBS, MSc Clinic Dermatology, Cert. Anti Ageing Medicine, CIDESCO

Not all soap bars can be used for this make-up hack, says the founder of Kosmoderma Clinics. “If you use soap in your bathroom with a lot of fragrance and colour, this leads to irritant contact dermatitis or eczema which means dryness, redness, and flaking in your skin, and even a breakout due to clogged pores (if it has heavy moisturisers). Then the hair follicles don’t get enough nourishment and they thin out and fall.”

Get ingredient-conscious

She adds it’s advisable to use either a clear, non-fragranced, pH balanced syndet (a portmanteau of ‘synthetic detergent’) bar soap (with synthetic surfactants, and sulphate-free), or a glycerin-based soap like Pears. “They do not irritate the skin and follicles nor do they oxidise upon air exposure.” Both products are beneficial to the skin and hairs, she states. Glycerin comprises glycerol, an odourless fatty component derived from soybean, coconut or palm oils.

A Deepavali glow

  • Dr Chytra V Anand (@dr.chytra) will be going live on Instagram with @thehindumetroplus for a pre-Deepavali #AtHomeWithMetroPlus special on skincare and beauty myths brought about by social media. Tune in on Wednesday November 11 at 6.30 pm.

Pomades or powders which have added tints (which come from the same core ingredient) make the hair darker and thicker whereas glycerin soap itself makes the hairs more prominent in a natural way — it depends upon what look you’re aiming for, says Dr Anand.

Big names such as Indulgeo Essentials, Benefit and West Barn Co have adapted soap brow products into their range, but Dr Anand insists consumers read the ingredients carefully before making a purchase and using them. “If you have skin that’s oily, sensitive or acne-prone, be cautious and ensure the product is non-comedogenic (that does not clog pores) in nature. If you have dry and dehydrated skin, the skin is not able to repair itself, so it’s sensitive to anything with colour and fragrance. Look for products that are ‘hypo-allergic’ and ‘fragrance-free’.”

Verdict: Happening

In this column, we decode health trends, and decide if it’s all just ‘hype’ or actually ‘happening’

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