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)