From butterfly clips to bold lip glosses, we've seen so many beauty and fashion trends from the '90s and early 2000s make their way back into the mainstream over the past year. And while we love a good throwback, if there's one trend that we're happy to see has stayed right where we left it, it's the ultra-thin, overplucked eyebrows that dominated the early aughts.
Instead, now when it comes to brows, the motto is the bigger and bolder, the better. Of course, not all of us have been blessed with naturally voluminous brows, so in order to get that dramatic look, you may need a little help. And that's why many people are turning to social media to find alternative techniques and treatments for fuller, fluffier brows. On TikTok, videos featuring #browlamination have more than 502 million collective views and on Instagram, there are more than 1.7 million posts featuring the same tag. The #soapbrows hashtag isn't far behind in popularity, with almost 202 million video views and over 202,000 posts on TikTok and Instagram respectively.
So we turned to Robin Evans, a New York City-based brow specialist, to get all the details on the trend, including how you can replicate the look at home.
What is brow lamination?
Eyebrow lamination is essentially like a perm for your brows. “Perm solutions are used to straighten out unruly brows or brows that grow over and don't brush up very nicely,” Evans said.
During the treatment, which is usually done in the salon, brow hairs are brushed with the solution to help create a full, feathered look. The results are temporary, but you can expect them to last about seven to eight weeks, she added.
At-home brow lamination
While going to a professional is the best way to ensure that you get the look you're going for, you can also save yourself a trip to the salon and achieve similar results with one of the many at-home kits on the market. While Evans said she’s never used any of these herself, you can expect the same process as the salon treatment, which involves combing a solution through your brows, letting it set, taking it off and then adding a neutralizing solution. Most of them lay everything out for you in the directions, so they’re pretty user-friendly, she added.
This affordable kit comes with all the tools that you'll need to create perfectly laminated brows at home. You'll get up to 10 treatments out of the kit, with each one lasting up to six weeks.
With Sencha's kit, you can achieve fuller, fluffier brows in just five simple steps. The final solution is made with keratin, which the brand says helps to nourish brows and encourage growth. Not to mention, it comes in a beautiful pink packaging that will look great sitting in your beauty cabinet.
If you just want an occasional brow boost for special events, using the viral "soap brow" technique is another way to achieve the same look. The process involves brushing and shaping your brows with soap or a soap-based brow styling product. It separates hairs and adds a sheen, Evans said.
Plus, there's a certain satisfaction you get from putting it on (really, the TikTok videos are pretty mesmerizing). But she noted that the final result is "pliable and flexible," meaning that hairs may not stay in place all day and the results likely won't be as long-lasting as compared to a brow gel.
To do it, you'll need a brow spoolie (like a mascara brush for your eyebrows). Dampen the brush with water or a mist, then swirl it into the soap or product. You'll want to repeatedly brush it into your brows, "not like just a quick little brow gel swipe," Evans said. Keep swiping it using upward motions until your brows feel slightly tacky. "Depending on the 'soap brows' [product] that you're using, there might be a white cast," she said. "But once you kind of work it in, that cast will disappear."
If you want more of the "laminated" effect, after you're done with the application, take your index finger and press your brows up onto your skin, she said.
West Barn Co. was "one of the original innovators" of soap brow products, Evans said. And the brand's mist is the perfect way to prep your spoolie for use. Spritz a little onto your applicator to make the treatment more effective. It doubles as a face and body mist and comes in a number of scents like watermelon and coconut.
West Barn Co.'s Soap Brows formula is enriched with coconut butter and glycerin to help your brows look fuller and thicker.
With Anastasia's Brow Freeze wax you can lift and sculpt brow hairs to get a lifted, feathered look. It's the brand's strongest brow hold to date and is ideal for those with medium-sparse to full brows.
A strong brow gel "is the number one thing you should have at home for a multitude of reasons," Evans said. One big one? It can be a helpful tool for replicating the laminated look.
When using brow gels, if you're after the feathery, brushed-up style, you'll want to go over the area a few times, "especially if you have coarser or unruly brows," she said. Use upward swipes across your brows, or for a less dramatic effect, fluff up the beginning of the brow and then taper it from the arch to the end. Below, Evans shared a handful of options that you can use.
R+Co doesn't just make hair products. The brand's Magic Wand Brow Gel will give you a "nice, strong laminated-type hold," Evans said. It can be used on its own or as a finishing touch to your brow look. It's made with hollyhock flower extract, which conditions and moisturizes the hairs as well.
Glossier's brow gel provides a medium hold, Evans said. Grab the clear gel or get one of the tinted options — it comes in five shades to match a variety of brow colors.
Released earlier this year, the Kosas Air Brow has a medium hold, Evans said. When trying it out, she found that it was more effective when she thoroughly coated her brows with the product.
Anastasia's Clear Brow Gel is a reviewer favorite, with at least a 4.5-star average across Amazon, Ulta and Sephora. According to Evans, it has a strong hold. The long-wearing formula contains other ingredients that are beneficial for your brows like chamomile and hyaluronic acid.
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