Considering my job is to know everything about beauty, there isn't much I haven't heard of. But a recent headline on Glamour U.K. left me truly perplexed: "Brow lamination is the new treatment that promises brushed-up, defined brows." My first thought was WTF, shortly followed by, When can I try it?
What is brow lamination?
Brow lamination, also called brow sculpt or brow lift, is essentially a perm for your eyebrows. The service quickly gained popularity in the U.K. in 2019 and made its way to the States late last year. Similar to microblading and tinting, brow lamination was designed to give the illusion of fuller, more defined eyebrows. Where it differs from these two treatments, though, is that no pigment is added to your brows (though you can opt for an additional tint).
Instead your hairs are coaxed into place to look fluffier and more defined, and have a slicked-up, shiny look—I imagine this is where the term lamination comes from. It's great for that feathery, model look that was previously possible only with genetics or soap brows.
Clementina Richardson, founder of New York’s Envious Lashes Salon, started offering brow lamination earlier this year and says her clients are already obsessed with it. "It's great for anyone who gels their brows down and wants the effect of brow extensions or microblading," she says. She loves the treatment because it can extend brows by up to a third, and calls it "an instant brow lift” because of the way it defines and lifts brows.
Even with the closure of many salons this spring, interest in the treatment continues to rise. According to Yelp's recent report on how beauty services have been affected by the pandemic, searches for “brow lamination” are up 86,196% to last year. Take in mind, of course, it's a fairly new service, so searches for it in 2019 hardly existed. But still, that percentage is huge.
I already have fairly dark, full brows, so I wasn't necessarily looking for something to add more volume, but what really sucked me in was the idea of having perfectly groomed brows without any effort. Full brows are a double-edged sword—while I don't need to add pigment or fullness, my hairs get crazy unruly and need to be brushed into place multiple times a day. I also love that fluffy, brushed-up look—it really wakes up my face—so I decided to give brow lamination a go.
How does brow lamination work?
Again, in the simplest terms, brow lamination is essentially just perming your brow hairs, and if you've had a lash lift, it should feel like a pretty similar process. The major difference (aside from the obvious location of the perming solution) is that with the brow treatment, you can keep your eyes open, which is great for someone like me, who gets anxious during lash extensions or lifts.
After a quick consultation, Richards applied a keratin-infused straightening solution to my brows and brushed them straight up. The solution coaxed the curl out of my brow hairs so they lay flat. After covering my brows in plastic wrap for about seven minutes, she repeated the process with a setting solution to—you guessed it—set the brow hairs into their new shape. While she applied this solution, she meticulously brushed them up into the fluffy shape.
"I like the brows to come out silky smooth. I'm obsessed with it," she told me while painting the solution on each individual hair. She usually finishes the service with a tint, but because my brows are already dark, we skipped it. The process took around 30 minutes end to end and was super pleasant. At Envious Lashes, a brow sculpt costs between $175 and $250 (depending on the tint), but the price can vary from salon to salon (be careful of any deals that seem too good to be true).
Who does brow lamination work best for?
"Anyone who is looking to improve their natural brows is a great candidate," says Richards. "It's perfect for those looking to add volume and a more defined arch, as it makes the brow area appear larger and fuller." While Richards recommends this service for anyone wanting to beef up their natural brows, as well as get that "snatched" Instagram brow look (think Bella Hadid), I would personally say this is better suited for people whose brows are on the thinner side.
To be totally honest, the first night after I got the service, I was a little overwhelmed by my new brows—it had literally doubled their thickness, and they were pretty full to start with. That being said, the service is suitable for all hair types, so if you're down, there's no reason it won't work for you, but those who have overplucked their brows would be particularly thrilled with the results.
How to maintain your brow lamination
Similarly to a lash lift, there's barely any maintenance for brow lamination. "It's best to have really overgrown brows waxed or shaped two days before the service," says Richards, but other than that, there's no prep required. And as with any perm, she recommends avoiding getting your new brows wet for 24 hours and conditioning them with a lash serum like her Luxuriating Conditioning Serum daily.
If you're a bit overwhelmed by how long your brow hairs are, Richards recommends getting them shaped to your liking—just give your skin a few days in between treatments.
Does brow lamination hurt?
If you haven't tried microblading because of the pain factor, brow lamination is a great option for you. According to Richards, if you go to a licensed professional, you shouldn't experience any irritation during the treatment, and it shouldn't cause any damage to your brows. I had a forehead breakout before getting mine done, so I had a bit of itching after, but it quickly went away.
If you have serious acne or sensitive skin, I would check with your derm, and as always, research, research, research before making an appointment. The treatment should last until your brow hairs grow out, which is about six weeks, and Richardson says not to get brow lamination more than once in that period.
What do brow lamination results look like?
I'm not going to lie, the night I came home from my brow lift, I was convinced I had made a big mistake. Instead of looking like Cara Delevingne, I felt a little closer to Dan Levy. My already full brows had basically doubled in size (which could be life-changing for someone with smaller brows) and felt huge for my smaller features. This isn't totally uncommon. "It might be a little overwhelming at first, like, 'Oh, my God, I have a bang on my eyebrow,'" says Richardson. "But once you learn how to style them, it's game-changing." She also adds that if you're truly unhappy, you can just brush them sideways instead of straight up.
I was pretty self-conscious of them for the next few days, but about four days in, something clicked. You really have to play around with brushing them—a combination of up and over worked for me—to get them how you really want them to look, and I feel like they "settled in" and weren't as stick-straight after a few days. I'm sure part of it was my brain getting used to them as well.
A week after my treatment, I'm actually super into the results. My brows somehow look more "done" and yet totally natural at the same time—very modelesque— and they really help pull the focus to my eyes. The brushed-up look and lifted arch make me look more awake, which is always a plus, and I only have to brush my brows into place once a day, which is the real saving grace for me. It also doesn't hurt that I've collected at least one compliment a day on them, particularly from people in the beauty industry.
I honestly didn't expect to love them as much as I now do, but I didn't know just how much it could lift my whole face. Add in the fact that I no longer have to brush my brows into place every day and you can consider me hooked.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.
Originally Appeared on Glamour