Trends come and go, but overwhelmingly the credo for brows lately has been: the bigger, the better. And thank god, because thinking about my pencil-thin sperm eyebrows from 2009 still gives me nightmares. “People are looking for the full, feathery, Cara Delevigne look,” notes makeup artist and brow expert Niki Metz of Nine Zero One Salon in Los Angeles. You might think that since the trend is towards fuller brows, that means by default everyone is just embracing what they naturally have—and if you think that, you clearly don’t live in the age of Instagram. From brow gels and pencils to microblading, there are a number of ways people are giving the illusion of feathery brows. If you haven’t been quite as genetically blessed as Ms. Delevingne but getting a glorified face tattoo scares you, there’s a new treatment on the market called brow lamination that can help you attain your brow goals.
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So What Is Brow Lamination?
In short: “It’s the same general process as lash lift or perm, but for your brows,” says Metz. Brow lamination is a chemical treatment that straightens your brow hairs and makes them malleable to shaping so they can stand up and pay attention like they never have before. Think semi-permanent brushed-up, yet shapely Emilia Clarke brows all in about 45 minutes. Not only will it take time off of your morning prep time, but “it wakes up your eyes and perks you up,” says Metz. Which is especially intriguing for those of us who haven’t had a full eight hours of sleep since middle school.
How Does it Work?
According to Metz, first she gently coaches brows into their ideal shape, then she applies a lifting cream: “It breaks the bonds in the hair so they’re softer and moveable.” After a few minutes, she wipes it off and brushes the brows up before she applies the setting product. This solution straightens the hairs and fixes them in place. She removes it after another few minutes, adjusting time for the coarseness of the brows. Following the treatment, she applies castor oil onto brows to rehydrate them, because exactly like when you chemically straighten your hair, it can cause dryness. After the brows are orderly, Metz cleans up the shape with thoughtful tweezing. Although you shouldn’t experience any redness or irritation from brow lamination, doubling up with waxing afterwards is not recommended. To maintain the results, don’t wet your brows or sweat for 24 hours afterwards. As Elle Woods says, the rules of perm maintenance are simple and finite. (Even if those hairs are on your face.)
Who Is It For?
Brow lamination can work for pretty much any brow type and shape. It looks a little different based on what you’re working with (obviously), but much like VSCO, it makes everyone look amazing. For thick, unruly brows, “it’s a godsend,” says Metz. It’s perfect for taming and getting a polished and lifted look if you think your natural brows resemble Eyebrow Cat. But, if you have thinner brows, the results can be even more dramatic. It makes them look much bigger—think of what happens when your straighten wavy hair to its maximum length. Metz adds, “even if you still have some sparse spots, it makes them easier to fill in once they have shape.”
Additionally, if you’re thinking about microblading but are not ready to commit, it’s a good intermediate step. Lamination doesn’t add the pigment like microblading, but it can give you an idea of what it might look like for a lower cost. The pricing for brow lamination ranges depending on your city and your expert, but expect it to run you somewhere between $60-100.
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How Long Does It Last?
It depends, but generally around five to eight weeks. It will vary based on your natural brow growth, but the best part is there is no wonky grow-out process. “One day you just notice your brows aren’t as good anymore,” says Metz. But for the glorious month and a half or so, just expect to wake up every morning with essentially perfect arches that will elevate your usual no-makeup-and-dry-shampoo-topknot look. There’s basically no maintenance: Use a spoolie and brush up your brows every morning and be sure to keep them hydrated using castor oil or a brow serum containing nourishing peptides. When it’s time to re-up, wait a week or two between growing out your lamination and your next treatment to give your skin and brows a little bit of a break to prevent any skin irritation or hair thinning.
Images: nikimetzbeauty/Instagram (3)
Eyebrow trends are fickle at best. At one time, your arches were supposed to be plucked and pencil thin, and now you can’t scroll through your discover page without seeing a close-up of a blocky, over-filled brows that Groucho Marx would envy. But when it comes to getting your best eyebrows, it isn’t all about beating them into submission. Try taking a gentler approach toward shaping that will be kinder to yourself and your brows in the long run… and also make them look better. Read below for tips on how to train your eyebrows so they don’t suck.
Find Out What You’re Working With
Keeping up with my eyebrows is an extreme sport I swear
— cupid (@taqawi_05) May 25, 2019
Counterintuitive? Yes. But first get completely hands-off, says New York brow expert Joey Healy. To do that, you’ll want to let your brows go untouched for about four to six weeks. I know it sounds scary, but that’s the amount of time it takes for a full growth cycle. “Even if you’re plucking with the best intentions, you might be reiterating the same shape that you want to change,” Healy explains. (Aka if you don’t like how your brows are looking, it’s probably your fault.) Holding off on plucking is also the only way to see what fullness you can get back if you have patchiness.
You can also try adding a growth serum to your routine, using it twice daily for those six weeks as a kick start. (Afterward, you can switch to once daily.) Los Angeles Brow expert Kristie Streicher notes that the first grow-out period is the hardest for those who have a habit of tweezing just a couple hairs a day (you know who you are), but it’s critical. “Once you start removing all the unwanted hair at once, it starts training the hair to grow where you want it,” she says. Translation: Your brows will get easier to maintain and will naturally hold the shape you want longer. Yeah, it’s annoying to not have instant gratification, but you’ve got to keep your eyes on the prize.
Set Brow Goals
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Despite trends that come and go, there is a perfect shape where your brows should begin, arch, and end, and it’s based on your own face shape. Says Streicher, “This brow creates a frame above the eye that accentuates the cheekbones and opens the entire face,” Unfortunately, these may or may not be the brows you were born with. To find your ideal shape, all you need is straight edge like a pencil. Find where your brows should start by holding the pencil vertically against the bridge of your nose (not the nostril!) up to your brow bone. That’s where your brows should begin. Maybe mark it with eyeliner or something if you’re new to this. Tweezing those wispy front hairs away will make your brows look too far apart, but removing any hairs far past or underneath will help open up the eyes for a peppier look.
To find the point of arch, use the same straight edge diagonally from the bridge of your nose, across your pupil to your brow. It will land about two thirds the length of your brow. A common mistake is making the arch too close to the bridge, which you should avoid at all costs, because as Healy puts it, “Centered arches always make you seem surprised, sometimes even worried.” Yikes. And worse, the rounded shape can exacerbate under-eye bags—so imagine having hungover, puffy face at all times. Finally, to find the correct end point, hold the straight edge against the bridge to the outer corner of the eye. Any hairs that grow past this can create the impression of drooping—get rid of them.
Then, Tweeze Away
For the artistic precision your sweet face deserves, stick to tweezing for hair removal. If you’re scared you’re going to mess it up alone in your bathroom, try a specialist who
will hold your hand is going to take the time to go hair by hair. I’m sorry, but this means you’re going to have to break up with your waxer for a bit. While it may seem more efficient to wax or thread, over time those harsher methods can break down the elasticity of your skin. They can also cause new issues with your eyebrows by thinning the hairs you need or creating an odd geometry for the brows that’s hard to come back from. Instead, go slow with the tweezers. Perch next to a window for natural light and—this is the crazy part—ditch the magnifying mirror. “They make you lose perspective,” says Healy. “You look too closely and brows end up overly plucked.” Taking a step back helps you see the shape of your brows from a normal angle. If you do mess up—just take a pause. Don’t try to balance them out, because you’ll definitely end up f*cking your whole situation up even more. You might need to take a small L and put a pin in the plucking for a little while. Just keep using your serum and a little makeup to tide you over. Repeat after me: Do. Not. Pluck. More!!!
Keep It Up
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Excited to share my latest tutorial – HOW TO: Fill In Sparse Brows // Whether you have little-to-no hair, misshaped, or no shape at all… you can achieve a natural looking brow by strategically building your products. The most important key is to work with what you have; making it look believable and the most natural. Follow along and achieve this look at home! Link in bio. #browtutorial #featheredbrowsbyks #fillinginyourbrows #browtips #sparsebrows #naturalbrows
Consider your brows the same why you think about your highlights or clear skin—it’s not a one-and-done deal, and maintenance is required. After shaping, stay on a schedule of waiting to tweeze every four to six weeks based on how fast your brows grow. You’ll notice over time that the stragglers will start to fall in line and stop growing where you keep getting rid of them, helping you keep in mind your preferred shape with less effort (win!). Restraint is your friend when it comes to maintenance. Healy suggests if you’re worried about overdoing it at home, set a timer for five minutes and stop tweezing when the buzzer sounds—that way you can’t go too far into tadpole territory. If sparseness persists, the quickest fix is a little brow powder. Putting color on the skin between the hairs gives the illusion of fuller brows without looking unnatural. For thicker brows that still need definition and lift, grab a tinted gel to get the fluffy look that’s currently trending. The goof-proof way to apply product is to go from the tail towards the front of the brow—overly drawn and heavy in the tail makes you look out-of-date. If you’re uncertain about your color, cheat towards using a shade that’s a touch lighter and ashier than you think. Once you get a routine down, it shouldn’t take more than a minute to get awesome brows. After that, you can worry about everything else.
Build Your Brow Kit:
- Joey Healy Brow Renovation Serum, $125
- Grande Cosmetics GrandeLash – MD Lash Enhancing Serum, $65
- Hourglass Arch Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel, $28
- Glossier Boy Brow, $16
- Joey Healy Luxe Brow Powder in Corduroy, $28
- Benefit Cosmetics Fool Proof Brow Powder, $24
- Anastasia Clear Brow Gel, $22
Images: Felipe Bustillo / Unsplash; kristiestreicher, joeyhealybrows / Instagram; @taqawi_05/Twitter
I have seen a lot of disturbing shit go down in 2017, like Blac Chyna’s nipples posted on my morning newsfeed and people trying to make
just sucked dick lips snogged lips happen. But nothing is more disturbing to me than what teenagers with an Instagram account are doing to their eyebrows. I mean, barbed wire eyebrows? Fucking BROW carving? Lord, Jesus, why must you test me with the extraness? It’s like people are just asking for me to report their Instagram selfies as offensive images to Instagram HQ. Sighs. Like, don’t these kids know that eyebrows are sacred and a part of me that I only share with my most trusted allies the person I pay way too much to craft my brows into a basic shape?? Fucking youths. And look, I too have come a long way in the eyebrow department since the current eyebrow trend. I can’t just vaguely gesture to my face when I talk to my brow girl anymore. No, I have to have some sort of a plan. Considering that, honestly, my skills stretch about as far as knowing the best wine for under $12 and how to alienate people with my dark sense of humor, figuring out the best brow look for me took some Googling extensive research. If you, like me, have no fucking clue what your face shape is, much less what kind of eyebrow structure will go good with it, then you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a guide on how to make your eyebrows look better than your Labor Day Weekend beach body based on your face shape:
Oval faces resemble an upside-down egg, and if you’re still unsure as to if that description fits your facial structure then I suggest holding up an egg to your face in a mirror for a side-by-side comparison. Then Snap me that entire journey of self-reflection. I could use a
good laugh at another person’s expense win today, thx. Your best brow look is going to be a slightly arched brow. It’s a simple, yet classic look and it’ll match the perfect proportions of your face shape, you lucky bitch. Make sure the arch of your eyebrow begins two thirds of the way out. And DO NOT put the arch in the middle of your brow lest you end up with McDonald’s golden arches on your face. That said, I’m just going to leave this cautionary message here:
If your face is equally long as it is wide then congratulations, you have a square-shaped face. The good news is your face has got angles for days and I wouldn’t be surprised if you think you’re a model on Instagram. The bad news is even though your bone structure is on point, you can’t get batshit with your brow game. You’ll want to go for a softer, rounded brow so as to soften the lines of your face. Let’s not forget the depressing tale of this “Obamacare victim” (lol) who was definitely actually a victim of some very bad brow advice:
If you’re looking for a celeb comparison for this one, think Kourtney Kardashian. Heart-shaped faces tend to have a widow’s peak, their cheeks are wider than their hairline, and their chin is narrow AF. Again, even though bold brows are in, you’ll want to cool it with your extraness lest you scare children away with your eyebrows. A well-groomed brow is your go-to brow as it will balance out your petite jawline and emphasis the upper half of your face. The goal here is to create a shape that’s controlled, but you don’t want your brows to be thinner than my will to live or Sandy Cohen bushy. It’s a fine line you must walk so good fucking luck with it.
We’ll pray for you, Sethelah.
You’re probs that friend who always gets carded at bars and isn’t allowed to try the free samples at Costco without a parent present thanks to the psychopaths who run the free samples booth who just assume you are a child. *takes slow, calming breath* Congratulations because you, my friend, have a
baby face round-shaped face. Because you have no angles or definition to your face, a high arch is the perfect brow shape for you. It’ll make you look like you actually have a bone structure and maybe those tyrants at Costco will finally let you have a free sample. PRAISE.
^^Actual footage of me trying to get a free sample at Costco
Diamond-shaped faces are unique AF. The hairline is more narrow than the cheeks and the chin is slightly pointed, giving these blessed people all sorts of fun angles to work with in their selfies. If it sounds like you might have a diamond-shaped face then I recommend a curved or rounded brow shape. It’ll make the widest part of your face look less wide and create a sense of balance and symmetry.
READ: What Guys Really Think Of Your Eyebrows