On paper, I don’t necessarily read as the best candidate for a trendy, brow-volumizing treatment. For one thing, my brows don’t exactly lack in abundance. To the contrary! I quite literally came into this world with highly-pronounced arches, and have the baby pictures to prove it. For another, I take a rather laissez-faire approach to this particular beauty category: I rarely tweeze, I can count the times I’ve had my brows professionally shaped on one hand, and save for a bimonthly, at-home tint courtesy of Just For Men® beard and mustache dye (true story!), I honestly just leave them alone.
Nonetheless, my curiosity ultimately got the best of me when I first learned about brow lamination, which can best be described as a semi-permanent straightening treatment for your arches. What really sold me was the idea that it would tame my very coarse brow hairs into submission, eliminating the need to reapply a taming gel every few hours. Basically, brow lamination promises glossy, fluffy, well-behaved brows — the kind that populate my Instagram® feed from the most aspirational beauty accounts that I swore were only attainable by way of the genetic lottery.
Some light detective work can trace the origins of brow lamination to Russia, before it skyrocketed in popularity in the UK last year. Slowly but surely, it’s starting to make its way onto brow menus in the US — and Perfect Frame®, a salon based in Downtown Los Angeles, is among that first wave this side of the Atlantic.
“We first learned about it on Instagram,” says Dimitri Rojas, one of the business partners behind Perfect Frame. “But I definitely see it staying as a staple beauty service. It's quick and easy and makes such a drastic difference!”
And as it would turn out, I was a prime candidate — so just this once, I decided to put my existing brow policy aside in the name of my fluffiest arches ever. Spoiler alert: The results speak for themselves.
So, how does brow lamination work?
Think of it like a keratin treatment, but for your brows. “Brow lamination uses perming technology similar to that found in lash lifts or traditional perms, but it’s formulated specifically to be gentle on the skin and for the delicacy of the brow hairs,” says Rojas. It’s performed in salons by experts with a professional-grade solution — in other words, don’t try this at home, kids.
Believe it or not, brow lamination is best recommended for to those who have dense arches to begin with. “The best candidate for brow lamination is someone looking to elevate their existing look or who deals with stubborn downward hair patterns.” he says. To which I say: You rang?
The brow lamination process
I arrived at Perfect Frame on a sunny morning expecting to block out a couple hours of my day (I’m no stranger to lengthy hair treatments, and came mentally prepared). But I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it probably wouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. “Just a warning,” said Jasmine, a lovely practitioner with enviable arches of her own, “you’re going to be addicted to the results.” A promising start, to be sure.
Within a matter of minutes, I was laying down as Jasmine gently cleansed my brows to prepare them for the lamination treatment, which I was told would happen in three steps. First up: a lifting solution. “This breaks down the proteins in the hairs, making them more flexible and prepping them for the next step,” explains Rojas. Basically, it relaxed my brow hairs into a flattened shape. (It should be known that this was the smelliest part of the whole process — the pungent odor of a perm. If you know it, you know.)
After sealing this solution under plastic wrap for three minutes, it was time to move on to step two: the setting solution. “Once the hairs are flexible and styled into the desired shape, we apply the setting solution, which restores proteins and gives you that newfound hair pattern and structure,” explains Rojas. We let this solution sit for five minutes — and it was around this point that I realized that my brows had basically doubled in size. Alarm quickly gave way to the realization that I was actually very into my results so far: The hairs looked glossy and ultra-defined, and Jasmine easily manipulated my arches into position with just a few deft swipes of a spoolie. In other words, they still felt like my brows — but better.
And just like that, we were basically done. Jasmine applied a hydrating treatment to help replenish any nutrients lost throughout the process. I was given instructions not to touch my brows for 24 hours — no washing my face, sweating, showering . . . nothing. After that, I’d have to do some regular conditioning with a natural oil, like jojoba or coconut, and I’d be good to go. So, brow lamination requires minimal maintenance, and Jasmine promised me the results would last four to six weeks. Plus, at Perfect Frame, brow lamination costs $120 — which is comparable in price to a spray tan or haircut. Needless to say, my bare-bones brow routine had just gotten a major upgrade.
But, the ultimate validation came my way just seconds later, in a scene that was so ridiculously fortuitous that it wouldn’t have made the cut in a cheesy movie: I was mere steps from the salon when a woman stopped me on the street, her jaw agape. “I just have to tell you,” she said. “Your brows. Amazing!”
Complimentary treatment was provided to the author for the purpose of writing this article.