What Is Brow Lamination? Eyebrow Experts Weigh In

Brow lamination = like a perm, but for your eyebrows.

model with laminated brows
(Image credit: Jeremy Moeller/Getty )

As a proud BeautyTok watcher, I can confirm, with 100 percent certainty, that brow lamination has taken over my feed. Some people have been sharing their oddly satisfying in-office eyebrow treatments, while others have been posting their “how to” tutorials for at-home brow lamination kits. The commonality between them all? Long-lasting, fluffy, full, and flat eyebrows with perfectly defined hairs throughout. 

“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 straight,” explains brow expert Joey Healy (opens in new tab). “The desired end result is fluffy-like, but it can be fringey and make the brows look very tall because every hair is being shown to its maximum length.” 

While a seconds-long edit can make the treatment look like an easy, no-brainer process, it’s not necessarily that simple. There are chemicals involved, critical preparation steps, and *very* important aftercare instructions to take note of before slathering mystery gels and saran wrap on your brow hair. To make sure you have all the info and find out if you’re even a candidate for the treatment, read ahead. If in the end this doesn't sound like the right brow treatment for you, check out our expert-backed guides to eyebrow microshading and microblading

What Is Brow Lamination?

To put it simply: brow lamination is a perm for your eyebrows. “[The brow lamination process] redirects the hairs and changes the shape of the hairs themselves,” says eyebrow specialist Elke Von Freudenberg

The straight-haired look is achieved in two separate steps. First, a chemical solution designed to break down the bonds in the hair is applied. Once that’s brushed on (it looks like a white goo) your technician will layer some good ole fashioned saran wrap over top to help maintain the shape. “After that, you apply a neutralizing agent so the bond of the hair reforms in this new straightened, laminated look,” Healy adds. In the end, your brows should appear thicker and fuller, and all curly or kinky hair should be stick straight. 

While there are new-to-market at-home options (more on that later), this is typically an in-salon treatment that takes roughly 30 to 40 minutes from start to finish. Results should last for four to eight weeks and the cost is going to run from $70 to $200, depending on your location. 

Should I Get Brow Lamination?

First and foremost, you’re going to need to decide if you’re into the brow lamination look—it’s definitely more stylized and doesn’t fall into the natural, I-just-woke-up-like-this category. On a more technical level though, a good candidate is going to be someone who has naturally longer, stronger brows with an “unruly” texture. Healy adds that brow lamination should never be done on sunburnt skin or a spray tan, as it puts the client more at risk for a chemical reaction that could result in severe irritation. 

What Are the Risks of Brow Lamination?

While you may want to go all in on brow lamination, it's best to think twice if you have sensitive skin or sparse brows, as the chemical agent can be harsh on the skin and hair. “If you know you have sensitive skin, you might want to go and get a patch test with a specialist before doing the process itself,” warns Healy. “And, if your brows are already brittle, thin, or fragile, the process can potentially strip the hair and be damaging."

You also run the risk that you won’t like the final outcome. “It’s the negative I’ve seen the most—some people just don’t like it and there’s no way to undo it. It has to go away on its own and soften up. There’s no reverse button,” he says. 

How to Prep for Brow Lamination

Steer clear of waxing, trimming, or plucking if you have a brow lamination appointment on the books. “I recommend clients don't trim or cut their brows for at least two to four weeks. Leaving new growth is good, as I can usually work those hairs into the look to create a fuller brow,” says Von Freudenberg. While that’s the only long-term change you’ll need to make your routine, Healy advises avoid benzoyl peroxide, acids, and retinol for the 48 hours leading up to your appointment. 

How to Care for Brows After Brow Lamination

Specific aftercare instructions are going to differ based on the product your provider uses. Across the board, though, you should avoid getting your brows wet for one to two days. If your brows feel a little dry after, you can use natural oils (think: coconut, grapeseed, or castor) to help hydrate the area. 

Von Freudenberg also suggests grooming your brow hairs every day. “The brows are still brushable and movable [for a few days], but once they’re in place, they stay in place,” she explains. 

Is At-Home Brow Lamination Safe?

Here’s the thing:Ssocial media will inherently make at-home kits look easy, peasy. But in reality, you run the risk of leaving a solution on too long, causing permanent damage to your brow hairs, or getting chemicals in your eyes. The best bet is to see a professional with years of brow lamination experience.  

What’s more, a professional treatment is most likely going to provide a better outcome. “I do about eight laminations a day, so I know from experience what the solutions will do and what the results would be like based on looking at the condition and texture of the client's brows,” says Von Freudenberg. “Based on my training, I am able to make adjustments as needed. Most at home kits are one-size fits all with instructions being very minimal. I would be cautious.” 

How to Mimic Brow Lamination With Makeup

If you’re not *quite* ready to take the plunge and sign up for a semi-permanent option, you can achieve the same stick-straight effect with a careful lineup of brow products. Healy recommends using a clear, buildable brow gel, like the Joey Healy Brow Structure Clear Set. “Sometimes, I like to put on the brow gel and while it’s still wet, use the Joey Healy Elite Sculpting Tweezer and cluster little bits together so it feels spiky and gives you that laminated look.”

Another option? Grab a bar of soap. “For the strongest hold, an old theatrical trick is the 'soap' brow. It's used a lot in the theater to keep hair in place and lasts for hours,” says Van Freudenberg. “You take a clear or gold colored soap and apply it dry with a dry spoolie to the brow. The hairs stay in place much longer than a traditional brow gel or brow wax.” 

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Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.