Brow lamination is the beauty treatment I never knew I needed, but wow, did I need it. For as long as I can remember, I've had to deal with brow hairs that have a mind of their own, sprouting out in different directions like siblings that drifted apart as they got older. No matter how much I brushed them or saturated them in brow gel, they didn't look like the perfectly-groomed brows I'd see on Instagram. You know the ones—they adorn the models made over by the very brilliant Nikki Wolff (otherwise known as @nikki_makeup on the 'gram). Despite having done microblading and buying a tin of Soap Brows, my brows still didn't have that certain je ne sais quoi.
In fact, last year, Wolff did my makeup and while it looked so good I was distraught to wash it off, my brows just didn't look like the models' brows she's famous for making over. What did they have that I didn't? On my quest for the truth, I discovered brow lamination and I'm here to tell you everything about it, including my first-hand experience getting the treatment. To help me out, I turned to Nina Nurian and Melanie Marris,
Meet the Expert
- Nina Nurian is the founder of iBrowBar (now Nurian Brow Experts), a luxe salon in Amsterdam. She is also the creator of the Brow Lift treatment, which involves threading, eyebrow lamination (using vegan lotions), and tinting.
- Melanie Marris is an eyebrow stylist and founder of Brow Code, a brand of brow products for professionals.
Keep reading for the 411 on all things brow lamination and determine whether it's right for you.
What Is Brow Lamination?
Brow lamination is a noninvasive procedure that involves straightening the brow hairs so they lie straight, full, and in the right direction. They also appear bigger.
Benefits of Brow Lamination
- Gives a natural look
- Makes brows fuller and more fluffy
- Is needle-free
- Lasts up to eight weeks
Although I've recently jumped on the brow lamination bandwagon, Nurian told me that women in Iran and Russia have been straightening their brows for years. Honestly, it makes sense. Given the results—natural-looking, fuller brows that last—I only wish that I had found out about the treatment sooner. "This procedure is best for anyone who wants to make a thin brow appear full within 30 minutes, as well as, a more full brow to appear fuller and more fluffy," says Marris.
How to Prepare For Brow Lamination
Before the actual process, it's safe just to have a patch test and check for allergies and sensitive skin. As both Nurian Brow Experts and Brow Code's formula are vegan friendly, the risks are low if you choose a good and cautious professional. You'll also want to avoid retinoids for a couple of nights prior to your treatment to prevent further irritation. One more thing to keep in mind is that you can't get your brows wet for 24 hours, so be sure to schedule your brow lamination so you can avoid showering and exercising.
If you're looking for fluffier results, Marris advises: "Grown brows that have not been trimmed can look the best in terms of how even the length will look when fluffed up."
What To Expect During a Brow Lamination Treatment
After you've had a patch test and you've gotten the okay, the whole process only takes around 30 to 45 minutes. Nurian started by cleansing my brows and marking out the shape she wanted my brows to be. She then threaded any stray hairs to get a good initial shape.
Next, she fluffed up my brows using a tool and solution that coaxed the hairs into a straight, neat shape. A straightening lotion is applied to the hairs and they are flattened under clear wrap and left for 30 minutes. This lotion opens the hair follicles, straightening and shaping the brows. After the allotted time, the lotion is removed.
The following step is the setting lotion that's slicked on and left for eight minutes. As the first lotion is a little harsh, she then applied a hydrating oil serum to nourish the hairs. Finally, Nurian tinted my brows to help elevate the look of fullness.
Before and After
Brow Lamination vs. Microblading
Marris says that many people are mistaking lamination for microblading because the effect is really impressive. According to her, "these are two completely different treatments and actually, brow lamination looks amazing on a healed microbladed brow—so you can have both."
Both microblading and microfeathering involve needles. "Microblading adds tattooed hair strokes to the eyebrow to give the effect of more hair strokes in the brow, whereas lamination is a straightening treatment, which can allow the hairs to relax and sit nearly in your desired style whether it be full and fluffy or sleek and defined," says Marris. Simply put, eyebrow lamination is a more temporary and affordable way to get your desired brow style. Not to mention faster.
At-Home vs. In Office
I'm a big fan of the laminated brow look, and as it was my first time, I definitely liked this more refined finish I got at iBrowBar.
At-home brow lamination involves using a kit with the same kits and bonders, and I can tell you it's pretty easy and quick. It's definitely a more affordable alternative, as well as a good option if you need to stay home. "DIY brow lamination can be safe if the guidelines and correct protocols are followed and the at-home user performs an allergy patch test prior," Marris advises.
Potential Side Effects
While the vegan formula is gentle, it can still irritate your eye area. "Don't try it if you have had any kind of reaction to a perming solution or had sensitivity to any of the ingredients in brow lamination products," says Marris. It's also expected you may just get a little redness from the threading.
Other than that it is similar to the procedure of a lash lift or a hair perm used to curl lashes and hair which has been around for many years. "Like any product of this kind, you must avoid the eye area," she alerts.
Brow Lift at Nurian Brow Experts costs €55 (around $65). At KD Brows, in Los Angeles and Miami, Brow Lamination costs $90 and can also be combined with other services like shaping ($120) and stain ($125). You can find brow lamination in salons such as Brow Bar London in the UK and at Eye Design in New York.
The results from your brow lamination will last for five to eight weeks, depending on your hair. If you have thick hair, Nurian says you can get away with having the treatment every eight weeks, but if your hair is fine you should leave it for 10 weeks. "We always check the brow hairs before giving a treatment to make sure they are strong enough," notes Nurian. She also told me that the treatment helps to coax your brow hairs, so they start to grow in the direction you want them to. The whole treatment is also meant to help boost hair growth, so eventually, you'll be able to extend the time between treatments.
Depending on your hair type, brow lamination can be slightly drying. That's why Marris alerts to the importance of the aftercare: "I recommend using our Brow Gold Growth Oil treatment each night to restore nutrients back into the hair. Our clients have never reported any dryness when following and using the correct aftercare," she says.
To get the look, all you have to do is give your brows a brush each day using a spoolie to ensure they look groomed. You shouldn't need to fill your brows, but you can use your brow soap or gel to add definition if you so choose.
The Final Takeaway
I'm still totally shocked that these are my brows. I usually wear glasses, but now I'm thinking about rimless alternatives because I can't bear to hide my brows behind frames. Let's put it this way: I've already scheduled my next brow lamination appointment.