Brow Lamination Is the Secret to Perpetually Fluffy Brows
If you have trouble getting your eyebrows to stay brushed into place, brow lamination could be the answer.
Think of a few words to describe your ideal eyebrows. Depending on your tastes, "feathery," "HD," or "natural" might come to mind, but "laminated?" Doubtful. Believe it or not, though, a new treatment called eyebrow lamination is gaining traction. If you like the sound of waking up to perfectly-fluffed brows, you'll definitely want to look past the name.
Brow lamination is essentially a brow perm that sets your hairs in place. Scroll through brow lamination before and after photos on Instagram and you'll see the treatment can create results that look like each individual hair was meticulously placed. (Related: What Is Microblading? Plus More Qs, Answered)
The brow lamination process involves three steps:
- A technician brushes on a brow adhesive to secure the hairs in an upward direction.
- Then, they're coated with a softening lotion, which relaxes the hair cuticle. While brows are malleable, the technician shapes them into your desired style.
- Next, the technician applies a neutralizer (or a fixing lotion) that sets the hairs into the new position. (If you want to get technical: Together, these solutions break down the disulfide bonds that cause your hair to hold its shape, then reform new bonds. That's also how lash lifts, keratin treatments, and other hair perms work, too.)
- Finally, they apply a nourishing treatment that helps hydrate and condition your brows.
The whole process takes about 30-45 minutes total. Afterward, you need to wait 48 hours before letting your brows get wet, then the results can last six to eight weeks.
Since the treatment involves shaping your natural hair rather than coloring your skin, it's best suited for people who already have somewhat full eyebrows.
"If you have severely thin or over-plucked brows and want a different shape and the illusion of more hair, then microblading may be a better option," says Jaimineey Patel, head of training at Blink Brow Bar London. "However, if you're happy with your shape and would just like them to appear fuller, smoother, or to tame them, then lamination should be perfect." (Related: The Best Eyebrow Makeup If You're Just Not Ready for Microblading)
Your hair type can also factor into your results.
"If you have naturally kinky hair and your brows have some natural curl to them, it's harder to take the keratin treatment," says Geneva Fong, a makeup artist who provides brow lamination in NYC. "You'll have to let the treatment sit on them a bit longer, and that's not great for your skin." (A common ingredient, ammonium thioglycolate, can irritate and sensitize skin.)
Back to those #browlamination photos on Instagram. You might notice a theme: brushed-up Olsen twin-level brows. But brow lamination can also create a more subtle look, if that's your thing.
"Brow lamination has grown in popularity due to the big, feathery brows it can create," says Patel, "but our approach at Blink is to ensure the treatment is used to create the brow that suits you rather than following trends." It can be used to fill gaps, realign hairs that fall downward, and tame wayward hairs, she says.
In the U.S., eyebrow lamination services typically cost around $75-$100, so the total cost for a year of maintenance is on par with microblading.
It's easy to order a brow lamination kit online (they'll run you $70-200 for 10-40 applications), but proceed with caution. "If you're confident enough in creating your own shape, it's not the worst idea," says Fong. "I think someone who's had experience with hair and makeup would be able to do it themselves." But because the chemicals used in brow lamination are strong and have the potential to irritate your skin, she wouldn't recommend that the "everyday person" pick up a kit and go to town. Patel recommends leaving your brows in the hands of a reputable technician since they'll take cautionary steps like doing a patch test beforehand. (Related: Everything You Want to Know About Lash Lifts)
How to Fake the Look
If you don't have access to the treatment, you can easily get similar, less permanent results with the right tools. Fong has three tricks for setting brows into place so that they actually stay put:
- Soap brows: "You just take like a glycerin-based soap that's more on the clear side and you use a wet spoolie and just brush your brows up," she says.
- Edge wax: You can dip a clean spoolie brush into edge wax and set them into place.
- Hairspray: Hairspray can also hold brows in place, says Fong.
To sum it up, eyebrow lamination can create your-brows-but-better results that last weeks. If you thought lamination was best left to index cards and countertops, it might be time to reconsider.