The shape, size, thickness and just about any other characteristics of eyebrows have gone in and out of style for decades. With the tweezing days of the early 2000s and the thick “eyebrows on fleek” era of the 2010s, brows have survived many trends, all the while not being the easiest to maintain. Luckily, a modern-day solution is available for those who want to tame unruly eyebrows. This method is known as eyebrow lamination and it has become increasingly more popular in recent years.

What Is Eyebrow Lamination?

Eyebrow lamination is a cosmetic treatment that involves reshaping the eyebrows to create a more defined shape. The treatment is usually given by a trained professional and lasts for about 6-8 weeks. It works by using solutions and rods to lift the hairs and set them in an elevated position and desired shape. The solutions often contain keratin, cysteine and other conditioning and fixing ingredients. The process is known as an “eyebrow perm” as it is essentially a perm that is meant to straighten out the hairs. 

Why Do Eyebrow Lamination?

The treatment can make eyebrows appear fuller by lifting and setting the hairs in a more upright position. This gives them a more opened-up and lifted look, complete with a glossy finish. Also, it helps in achieving a well-defined and groomed brow shape and applying brow products more easily. These effects can last for several weeks, making it a semi-permanent solution. On top of everything else, laminated eyebrows require minimal daily maintenance, as the hairs stay in place without much effort.

Potential Negatives of Eyebrow Lamination

Potential side effects of brow lamination are usually mild and can include redness, irritation or allergic reaction to the solutions used. It’s not recommended for those with sensitive skin. Always do a patch test and go to an experienced professional.

Too many eyebrow lamination treatments can also be harmful for the hair in the long run. Eyebrow artist and educator Kallinika Aynsley shared with Allure that too many treatments can lead to the over-processing of the hair. Aynsley explained that the result of over-processing the brows are “frazzled” eyebrow hair that can become crispy and shed. 

Some more extreme potential side effects can arise if the chemicals used for the treatment happen to make contact with the eye. Dermatologist Shari Marchbein, MD. Marchbein explained that the eyelid skin is very thin, sensitive and prone to irritation, so contact with these strong chemicals could cause eczema on the eyelid skin. Marchbein added that there can be serious damage to the eye if these chemicals happen to make contact with it. 

These negatives to eyebrow lamination do not necessarily mean you should not go through with it. However, an important takeaway is that you should be very discerning with whom you let apply this treatment. Do your research and talk to them about the treatment and your concerns before it is done. Also, getting eyebrow laminations more than every six to eight months can compromise the health of your eyebrows. 

How Does Eyebrow Lamination Work?

The process takes about 30-60 minutes and involves applying a perming solution, using small silicone rods or special perm-proof film to mold and set the hairs in an arch or other shape, neutralizing and conditioning. Here are the usual steps to the process:

  1. Cleansing: The eyebrow technician will cleanse the eyebrows to remove any oils, makeup or impurities so the solutions can penetrate the hair.
  2. Perming Solution: A perm lotion or cream is applied to soften and break down the bonds in the eyebrow hairs to allow reshaping. It usually contains keratin, proteins and cysteine. This will sit for a few minutes.
  3. Setting the Shape: The brow tech will then use wax sheets, special shaping sheets or other products to set the brows in an arched position and your desired shape. 
  4. Neutralizing: A neutralizer solution is applied to stop the action of the perm solution and set the shape.
  5. Conditioning: A conditioning product is used to smooth and hydrate the brows.
  6. Finishing: Brows are cleaned, trimmed if needed and a setting gel can be applied to keep them in place initially.

All in all, it’s important to remember that while eyebrow lamination can be beneficial for those with unruly brows or unsatisfied with their brow shape, it should be handled with care and not done too frequently.