In ye olde days when it wasn’t considered cool to have bushy eyebrows, I tragically plucked mine into oblivion. As a result, I am now excessively skeptical about any and all brow treatments. All in all, I only trust three individuals with the care of my brows, and I usually only allow plucking of certain errant hairs. Given these restrictions, it should come as no surprise that, most of the time, my eyebrows are a hot mess.
Because my brow hairs like to defy gravity and appear unruly, I’ve become a brow gel hoarder, religiously slicking them down. I’d heard of brow lamination and seen many TikToks about it, but again, due to my brow trust issues, I never considered taking the plunge myself. Then lo and behold, just as I was ready to fully commit to the brow gel life, Benefit Cosmetics announced that they were going to begin offering brow laminations in their stores. And as a little sneak peek, Benefit’s Brow Expert, Jared Bailey, offered to do my brows. Officially inaugurated as the fourth person I trust with my eyebrows, here is everything I learned about brow lamination.
What is brow lamination?
Bailey explained that a lamination is like a perm for your brows. “Brow lamination is a chemical treatment process to the eyebrow hair, in which the intention is to take out any of the curl or kinks or texture and make the brows lie very flat and straight,” says Joey Healy, resident brow expert and Trusted Person No. 2 on my list. “It is the same solution that people use for lash perms.” Once the brows are chemically straightened, they can be re-positioned into a “full, lifted shape” adds Bailey. “Because brow lamination removes the natural bend or curve of the hair, the hairs can easily be repositioned and fanned out which helps give the illusion of fullness for six to eight weeks.”
Is brow lamination the same as microblading?
If you’ve done some scrolling on social media and gotten confused between these two terms, you’re not alone. Sometimes the results can look similar, but the processes are very different. “Microblading and microshading are semi-permanent tattoo processes,” says Healy. “Their job is to fill in the gaps of the brow to create some pigment lying down where there is some skin showing through.” On the other hand, brow lamination isn’t adding any new “hairs”—it’s simply styling the ones you’ve already got.
What’s the process like?
The entire process takes around 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your brows’ texture. My hair is on the thicker, coarser side, so the solution needed to sit on my brows a little bit longer than some people might need. If you were to enter a Benefit location for a service, this is what it would look like, according to Bailey:
- “First, during our Brow Mapping process, we redirect your brow hairs to show you exactly what your Brow Lamination will look like and then settle on a desired shape that’s completely custom to your face.
- “Then, during the Brow Lamination service, we relax, reposition, and condition brows. The entire process can take anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes depending on the brows. Once the hairs have been repositioned and conditioned, we shape the brows at no additional cost to help the entire shape look more tailored and lifted.
- “Lastly, it’s important to note that you want to keep your brow hairs dry for 24 hours after the service, so book your appointment times accordingly.”
How long does brow lamination last?
After the process is complete, the effects are immediate. Brow lamination can last up to six to eight weeks. “The one tip for extending the length of the results is not getting them wet for a period of time, generally 24 hours after getting them done, and that also includes excessive sweating,” says Healy. I didn’t let my brows get wet until a full day had passed, which I think significantly helped my results last longer. “To prolong the life of the service to make the hair more desirable and textured, you should apply a serum like the Joey Healy Brow Renovation Serum. Serums like this are rich in peptides, vitamins, botanicals, and moisturizers will keep the hair in good condition and will prevent damage that can happen after the fact,” adds Healy.
Who’s a good candidate for brow lamination?
Are you a person? Do you have eyebrow hairs? Then you can get them laminated. That being said, the people who will probably benefit the most from getting their brows laminated are people like me, who rely on brow gel to live. “People who tend to like brow lamination often have unruly brows and brow gel isn’t enough,” says Healy. However, if your brows are on the thinner side, brow lamination can really help them look fuller.
Before your lamination process, you should treat your brow area gently for around two weeks. “Please avoid prescription retinoids for at least two weeks, and any medical-grade chemical peels and microblading for one month prior to your appointment,” says Bailey. “We ask people to avoid any chemical treatments to their brows prior to lamination. Make sure it’s been at least two weeks since your last brow tint and six to eight weeks since your last brow lamination.”
How much does brow lamination cost?
That answer depends on where you go for the service. At Benefit locations, brow lamination costs $80, and comes with complimentary eyebrow shaping, such as waxing or tweezing. As fun as the results are, it still involves a chemical process, so make sure you’re not sacrificing cost for safety.
Is brow lamination safe?
It is slightly unsettling to have chemicals so close to your eyes, which is why it’s always smart to go to a professional to have this process done. “If the chemical gets in the eye, it can create damage within your eye,” says Healy. That being said, the process is actually very safe when left to the experts. “The biggest risk is that some people just don’t like it and then there’s no way to undo it,” adds Healy. If you think you may be sensitive to the solution, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test. Personally, I had zero negative experiences at all, and I felt comfortable and safe during the whole process.
Can you laminate your brows at home?
While I highly discourage laminating your brows at home, you can definitely get similar-looking, temporary results at home. “I don’t recommend using at-home brow lamination kits, as this is a chemical process that opens the bond of the hair. To avoid any damage to the hair, I’d recommend leaving lamination to the professionals,” says Bailey. But if you want to mimic the look of laminated brows, shop our favorite products below.
If you’re interested in getting your brows laminated by a Benefit expert, click here to find a store near you.
Tatjana Freund is a Beauty Commerce Writer, covering makeup, skincare, and haircare products and trends. She’s a fan of vodka tonics and creepy Wikipedia pages.