Could Brow Lamination Be The Quick And Easy Alternative To Microblading?
When it comes to eyebrows, my motto is: Don’t touch them. In fact, I might be the only woman in the world to never go through an over-tweezing phase — a beauty accomplishment that I am quite proud of.
As someone not born with the dark, bushy brows that perfectly frame Cara Delevigne’s face (to the contrary, mine are thin, light, and a little sparse), I avoid most interference except for the daily use of a pigmented pencil that adds color and definition. So, when I heard about an eyebrow treatment that is said to have the ability to turn anyone’s brows into Delevigne-worthy arches, I was skeptical but intrigued. Perhaps it was time to outsource my eternal desire for a beautifully abundant brow, for as my mother always says: “Good brows don’t happen by chance. They happen by appointment.”
Promising arches that look thicker, glossier, and perpetually kempt, brow lamination is a needle-free alternative to microblading that produces less permanent results. With an approach to brow maintenance that could be described as nearly ascetic, my virgin brows were dreaming of a Cindy Crawford-esque transformation, and brow lamination seemed like a good first step toward addressing my desire for a fuller brow — without the commitment of something like microblading.
After scrolling through countless before-and-after images, my brow-curious self arrived at the BBB London outpost at Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Wondering if brow lamination could really cut my dependency on brow pencils and give me the arches of my dreams, it was time to see what the hype was about.
What is Brow Lamination?
Similar to a perm, brow lamination uses a non-invasive chemical processing treatment to set and direct brow hairs into a more desirable shape. The process, which is relatively quick and pain-free, is beneficial for those looking to maximize the impact of their natural brows. The final results are glossy and shapely brows that are expected to last between six to eight weeks with little to no upkeep.
According to Jaimineey Patel, head of training at Blink Brow Bar, brow lamentation is suitable for all hair types, though “customers with unruly or sparse brows will definitely see the biggest difference,” she says. Since my brows are sparse, the treatment feels tailor-made for me.
The Brow Lamination Process
The brow lamination process begins at least 24 hours before the treatment itself with a pre-appointment allergy test (à la eyelash extensions). Assuming clients don’t have a reaction, the appointment itself lasts an hour (at most) and involves a technician applying chemical solutions to tame the brow hair before molding them into the desired shape.
Step 1: The Patch Test
At least 24 hours before the appointment, a quick (think: less than a minute) allergy test needs to be administered for safety. Since the treatment requires a series of chemical solutions be applied to the skin, the patch test (usually performed behind the ear) helps to ensure the application process will not cause any ill effects. The patch test proved I was not allergic and, therefore, one step closer to coming for Keira Knightley’s brow crown.
Step 2: Apply the Brow Adhesive
Once at the actual appointment arrived, I laid back into the reclining chair and let the technician examine what miracles she could create. “Firstly, a brow adhesive is used to secure the brow hairs in an upward direction to the desired brow style,” Patel shares. The step takes approximately 15 minutes and includes a subtle poking sensation as each brow hair is separated to lay in its new place. Unlike lash extensions, which requires patients to keep their eyes closed, the brow lamination process allowed me to multitask on my phone while the technician meticulously brushed out each hair.
Step 3: Style the Brow Hair
After the first brow adhesive was wiped off, my brows had a wind-swept appearance that initially startled me. Upon further review, seeing each hair individually spread actually out got me more excited for the final result. “A styling lotion is used to relax the hair cuticle, so the brow hairs can be molded to the determined brow shape,” Patel explains. Prior to applying the lotion, my technician warned that there might be a slight burning sensation, but it is to be expected.
Step 4: Set the Brow Hair
Just as I was getting comfortable and more relaxed, the process was nearly coming to an end and we were onto step four. “We apply a fixing lotion to structure the brow hairs and set them into the new position,” says Patel
Step 5: Finishing Touches
Finally, a keratin treatment is applied to hydrate the brow hair. “The keratin serum helps close and smooth down the hair cuticle, which restores, conditions, and nourishes the hairs,” Patel says. Since keratin has long been a go-to for smoothing and straightening locks, this step felt particularly apropos.
Brow lamination yields some seriously volumizing results that many clients are happy with as is. But, for those of us with fair skin and light hair or for anyone who likes the appearance of a darker brow, a tinting treatment may also be needed for best results.
“We recommend having a brow shape and tint alongside,” Patel says. “The brow shape will add definition to the brows and structure your face, while a tint will give the illusion of extra thickness and length.” It should be noted that eyebrow tinting also requires a patch test, but it can be done at the same time as the patch test for the lamination chemical solutions.
I opted for the brow tint, which was done in conjunction with the treatment and only added an extra 15 minutes to the already brisk 45-minute lamination process.
As someone who loves instantaneous results but has little time to spare, the first gaze at my new brows got my heart racing. I never knew how much I needed feathered, satin-smooth eyebrows — or how quickly I could achieve them. The combined lamination and tinting treatment took about an hour, and I was able to stroll out with ease – save for catching a glimpse in the closest mirror to admire the technician’s magical work and hope someone would confuse me for Brooke Shields.
With each hair laid meticulously in a swept-up style, the results were beyond anything I could’ve created myself with a brow gel and pencil. Perfectly framing my peepers, this upgrade immediately made my eyes pop more, in addition to changing the shape of my face. It simultaneously felt like my eyebrows had doubled in size and that I had a brow lift.
For the first 24 hours post-laminating and tinting, all tampering is off limits. This means:
- No washing
- No brushing
- No touching
After the first full day, it was time for the moment of truth. For once, my eyebrows didn’t disappear after I washed my face, and they remained pretty well fixed in the new, spread out shape they’d been assigned. Post-lamination maintenance included a self-imposed quick sweep of the BBB London Clear Brow Gloss to give my hair a little more gloss… and nothing else.
But all good things must come to an end. After a few weeks — even with the benefit of the tinting — I slowly felt the need to fill in my brows creep back in, as my penchant for a dark arch returned. Still, the new shape was perfect for my laissez-faire approach to brow maintenance, in which I just let them do what they want to do and fill in the blanks. I suppose I will just have to accept that my brow hair may never be as dark and bushy as Eugene Levy’s – though maybe that’s for the best.
What brow lamination offers is quite simple: A non-invasive way to coax your unruly, coarse, or sparse eyebrows into a more voluminous, feathered shape with lots of shine. It’s a great option for those interested in a microbladed look without the needles or pemanance (microblading typically lasts one to three years). Those looking to give their face-framing features a boost à la Delevigne with only an hour-long commitment, brow lamination lets you see if bigger really is better.