Whether it be microblading, microfeathering, extensions, or a good old-fashioned brow pencil, there are tons of ways to groom your brows these days. While microblading and microfeathering are semi-permanent solutions for anyone who's over filling in their brows every morning, these treatments aren't for everyone. If you have a needle phobia or are nervous that you'll end up with irreversible botched brows, you've probably politely sat these two options out. As for extensions, there are no needles involved, but your brows may start to look uneven as the fibers fall out. That's where brow lamination comes in, which is the latest needle-free treatment for thicker, fuller brows.
Originating in Russia, but blowing up in England, brow lamination tames unruly hairs and sets them in place for a fluffy just-combed look.
"Brow lamination is essentially a perm for your eyebrows, but without using the same harsh chemicals," says Giselle Soto, Los Angeles-based celebrity brow artist who just started offering the treatment stateside. "It’s a keratin treatment that not only stimulates growth while strengthening the brow hairs, but creates thick, fluffy, and full brows."
Soto says lamination is a good alternative to microblading because it works with your existing hair, giving you your ideal brow look without the use of needles, ink insertion into the body, and pain.
Here, we've broken down everything you need to know about this trending brow treatment, including what happens during the actual brow lamination process, possible side effects, cost, and more.
What Happens During Brow Lamination?
First, Soto says she has an in-depth consultation with clients where she goes over the details of the treatment including the process and the desired results.
The actual treatment begins with brow shaping to create a clean slate. Next, a "style adjusting" product is used to style the hairs into the client's desired shape, followed by a style neutralizer that sets brows in place. The last step is the application of a nourishing keratin oil that replenishes moisture after the chemical treatment process.
How Should You Prepare for a Brow Lamination Treatment?
Soto says it's best to avoid using retinol and topical over-the-counter and prescription acne treatments for at least 48 hours before your treatment since these products can sensitize the skin, and potentially lead to irritation. Arriving at your appointment makeup-free with clean skin also helps the process.
What Should You Do Post-Brow Lamination Treatment?
Like microblading or eyebrow extensions, there are a few best practices to follow post-lamination treatment to protect your new brows. Soto recommends not wetting or rubbing the area, and to avoid applying creams, oils, and brow or eye makeup. You should also skip that workout and the extra-hot shower you usually take afterwards.
How Long Does Brow Lamination Last, and How Much Does It Cost?
With proper care, brow lamination can last four to eight weeks. The price ranges from $80 to $300 depending on location and the artist who's performing the treatment. Soto currently charges $300.
Who Should Get Brow Lamination?
While brow lamination is generally for everyone, there are a few exceptions. "This treatment is not recommended for people who have scratches, burns, or scars near the eyes, have eye contamination, skin conditions, or inflammation in the eyebrow area," says Soto. You should also stay away from brow lamination if you have allergies or past reactions to cosmetics, dyes, and semi-permanent tattooing such as microblading.
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What Are the Side Effects of Brow Lamination?
Brow lamination isn't going to harm your actual brows, but while the chemicals used are more gentle than an actual perm, they can still irritate your eye area when skin is exposed to them. "Giving that the eyelid is the thinnest, most delicate skin of the body, it is especially prone to irritation," explains Soto. "The chemicals from the brow lamination could cause eczema if skin is exposed, which is characterized by red, dry, itchy, and inflamed skin."
That's why it's important that your artist is experienced so they're careful the product doesn't spread down to the eyelid area.
Dr. Shari Sperling, a board-certified dermatologist based in New Jersey, seconds this warning along with what the chemicals can do to your actual brow hairs. "A downside to be aware of is potential irritation from the chemicals that are used when they touch the skin around the eyes," she says. "While the results are not permanent, there are chemicals that are used on the eyebrow hairs which may damage the hairs themselves. Think of women who process hair on the scalp for years and end up with their hair falling out or thinning due to the chemicals and processing that was done in the past."
Like with any new treatment, the results may be transformative, but there's also underlying risks. If you're curious about brow lamination, make sure to do your research to find a skilled artist that works out of a licensed, clean salon before booking an appointment.