I Tried At-Home Brow Lamination, and My Eyebrows Have Never Looked Better
My brows are my weakness. Even when the rest of my face is totally bare, I can't leave home without shaping them with a touch of gel, and I hate seeing them settle back into their natural shape over the course of the day. So in an attempt to make my no-makeup days truly makeup-free, I decided to give at-home brow lamination a go, hoping that it would help me ditch my brow gel habit once and for all.
What is brow lamination?
According to Joey Healy, an eyebrow specialist in New York City, brow lamination is like a keratin treatment for your brows. It uses chemicals to break down the disulfide bonds in the brow hairs, allowing them to be reshaped into a straighter, swept-up style.
“Basically, it’s redirecting the hair in the way and shape [that] you want it to go,” Josh Beeler, a lash and brow specialist at Shen Beauty in Brooklyn, previously told Well+Good. “A lot of the times we use it to redirect the brows to make them appear thicker and fuller or flat.” The process isn't permanent—when your brows start to grow in, they'll do so with their natural texture—but it allows your brows to retain their swept-up look far longer than a coat of brow gel does (usually 4 to 6 weeks)
Depending on where you live and who you go to, professional brow lamination can cost anywhere between $55 to $250 (Shen, for example, charges $110). But for about $50, you can get a kit that allows you to do a few at-home treatments. The process is overall pretty simple and can provide great results.
How to do at-home brow lamination
1. Buy a kit
There are lots of brow lamination kits out there, but I've tried the Elevate the Beauty Professional Eyebrow Lamination Kit ($52) and the Raw Brow DIY Lamination Kit ($49) and loved by results from both. I prefer the Elevate the beauty kit because it comes with the solutions individually packaged for 10 sessions, which is nice because if you're not doing this often (according to Healy, you should be limiting the practice, as it isn't great for your brows) the bottled solutions can dry out over time.
2. Pick the right day
After laminating your brows, you can't get them wet for 24 hours, so you don't want to do it before applying heavy makeup (which you'll inevitably have to wash off) or doing a super-sweaty workout. Additionally, the creams can sting a bit, so you'll want to wait a few days after plucking, waxing, threading, or shaving your brows, as the skin will be more sensitive.
3. Start with a clean face
Once you've got your kit and are ready to go, you'll want to thoroughly cleanse your face, since you won't be able to wash it again for 24 hours. Once your skin and brows are dry, use an oil-free makeup remover or cleanser in the kit (if it comes with one) on a cotton pad to make sure your brows are free of oil or makeup.
4. Apply the straightener
Start by brushing your brows into the shape you want them to be in. Some kits, like the Raw Brow kit, come with a brow gel that you use to shape your brows before adding the straightener, while others, like the Elevate the Beauty kit, have you use a dry spoolie. I've tried both and didn't really notice a difference in results—just be sure to follow the directions you have on whichever kit you get.
Once your brows are brushed, use the (included) micro-brush to coat your brows with straightening cream, then cover them with a piece of (not included) saran wrap to incubate the solution while it works its magic to break down the bonds in your hair. The instructions will tell you how long you should let the solution sit, so be sure to set a timer accordingly.
5. Apply the fixation cream
After the bonds are broken down and the hair is malleable, this step sets your brows in place. Wipe off the straightening solution with a dry cotton pad, and use a clean micro-brush to apply the fixation cream. Then, take a clean, dry spoolie to brush your brows into your desired shape.
Personally, I'm not a fan of the super straight look, so I use the spoolie to brush my brows up and out and add a bit of a curve to the edges. This allows them to look lifted, but gives them a more natural "undone" shape. Work fast (you don't want the cream to dry), and once you're happy with the shape, apply a new piece of saran wrap and set your timer.
6. Apply oil
Finish up by applying the nourishing oil to your brows. Some kits have you leave the oil on while others have you wipe them clean after two to three minutes.
7. Keep the brows dry for 24 hours
Be mindful of what you're doing for the rest of the day and make sure you keep your brows dry. I've put on makeup right after brow lamination and just made sure to keep it light so I could go in with a wrung-out washcloth to clean my face before bed without getting a drop of water on my brows.
What to expect after DIY brow lamination
Once your 24 hours are up and you can wash your face, you'll notice that your brows can still move and be manipulated. Don't fret, but also make sure to give them a bit of help. When you're applying your skin-care routine, fluff the brows in the direction you want them to stay in, which will help encourage them to keep their shape. When styling your brows, you'll notice that they settle into your desired shape with ease and stay put throughout the day. But, if you pull on a tight shirt, it can drag your brow hairs down. Just brush them back into place. Continue to nourish your brows with creams and oils and expect results to last for four to six weeks.
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