brow lamination
Photograph courtesy of Imaxtree

Everything You Need to Know About Brow Lamination

The trend you've definitely seen on your Instagram feed lately.

It’s highly likely you haven’t used, or heard of, the world lamination since the sixth grade when you were in charge of covering your own school books – be it in printed laminate, or clear atop pictures of your favourite celebrities. But, it’s back now, although not in the way you might think. In 2020, brow lamination is the hottest trend in brow maintenance. Why? Because it gives you Emilia Clarke-worthy brows, with zero downtime and no permanent commitment. After seeing endless posts singing the praises of this new service, I decided to stop by Toronto’s Rebel + Beauty salon and chat to owner Olga Onulov to get the lowdown. Here’s what you need to know.

First things first, what is brow lamination?

“It’s essentially a brow relaxer, in the sense that we’re able to comb the brows in an upward or sideways direction and allow for the brows to stay up. You’re able to cover little gaps, little holes [in your brows] and achieve that super fluffy look that’s so on trend. It’s not for everyone but it is amazing because it will allow for those hairs to sit in the direction you want. So whether you have super curly hair or whether there’s just little gaps somewhere, it’s an amazing, super natural solution to fluffier brows. We’re able to use the length of your eyebrows as width, also.”

What products are used in the process?

“I glue the hairs into the direction I want them to lay and then I put two different solutions on. One is to soften, and the other one allows for it to set.”

Will I be able to move/manipulate my brow hairs after the treatment?

“When we’re done, your brows are still malleable. You’re not going to put on a turtleneck and have your brows stay fluffy – so there’s still an opportunity for you to comb them to the side or comb them in the direction you want them, even if we are gluing them upwards. That’s a very common question we get. It’s good because sometimes you want a different look for your brows.”

Is it an alternative to microblading?

“I think it’s a different solution because it’s less permanent. So depending on the look you want, it can cover those gaps to give the illusion of a fuller brow. But if someone has downwards-growing hair, that’s not going to be something we’re going to be able to manipulate to give width because we wouldn’t straighten them downwards necessarily. So it’s definitely a wonderful solution if the brow and hair growth direction permit. Also, people that do have microblading, it’s totally cool to do it after the microblading has healed to bring out that texture in the brow because it gives your brow this fluffy look.”

How long does it last?

“It will last about five to eight weeks, depending on the consistency of your hair. The coarser your hair is, the less longevity you have but you’ll get at least a month.”

How often can I get my brows laminated?

“We generally tell people every six to eight weeks they can come in and get them done. We, above all, want to hold the integrity of the brow hair. Brow hair is just like lash hair – it goes through growth cycles and it sheds so you’ll notice the consistency going back to normal in about six to seven weeks. That’s when it’s safe to go ahead and do another lamination.”

Are there any risks involved with brow lamination?

“It’s about making sure you’re going to places that really understand how much time they should be using the solutions for. If a brow is over-processed it can get squiggly so you just want to ensure that, depending on the hair type, you’re putting the solutions on for the appropriate amount of time. Other than that, not really.”

Does the timing differ depending on the hair?

“Yes but it’s only going to change by one to two minutes. If your brows are already shaped and you come in just to get the lamination, you’re out in about 25 minutes. Shaping plus lamination is an hour, because you’re mapping out the brows and making sure they’re on point and then doing the lamination.”

What is the after-care like?

“For something that’s so easy to get done, the after care is also tremendously easy: no hot steaming showers or aggressive makeup removal for 24 hours. You’re basically leaving them be to set and then they’re good to go. So although they’re still malleable, they won’t change into a whole other direction once they’ve set.”

What happens if you get your brows laminated and decides it’s not for you? Will your brows go back to normal?

“Yes. In four to eight weeks they’ll go exactly back to normal. And again, you’re still able to comb them in the way you want during that time. The time it takes for the consistency to go back to normal depends on how coarse the hair is.”

Is brow lamination the salon version of soap brows?

“Yes. Except for you don’t need the products. Soap brows are wonderful, but the residue is something that we haven’t been able to figure out. There still ends up being a residue that’s not the best so this is an amazing alternative, except that you’re good to go for four to eight weeks.”

As part of the interview, I got my brows laminated to see the process in full. Here’s how it happened:

1. After shaping my brows, Olga glued my brow hairs in the direction she wanted them to sit using a water-soluble that she combed through my brows. “There are ways to do it without glue, but I like to use it to perfect the shape,” she told me.
2. A timer was then set as the brow softener was painted onto my brows. “Depending on how curly the hair is, I’ll put some saran wrap over top so it really flattens the hairs,” Onulov explained as she fitted some of the clear material over my brows.
3. The excess product was then removed with a cotton pad and the hairs combed through.
4. Depending on your hair, this process may be repeated until the desired look is achieved. I went through a second round (which only took a few minutes, like the first).
5. A Keratin treatment was then combed through the brows to give them a little more love. It also removes any excess glue.
6. Finally, Olga tinted my brows as a finishing touch to ensure they looked as full as possible.

My verdict? It’s totally painless (and rather relaxing given you’re laying with a blanket draped across you whilst Olga tends to your brows), and the results are next level. The reel of selfies on my phone from the past 24 hours proves as much. For anyone, like me, who’s long been pining for bigger brows, this is a total gamechanger.

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