Some time ago, a girlfriend’s new job brought forward her working day to a 5am start. She asked me which beauty treatments might make her look effortful and feel “made up” while maximising every last minute of time in bed. Brow lamination, the results of which last a month, was my first instinct and, a few years on, she’s never been late for work.
It’s a beauty cliche now, but well-shaped, fluffed-up eyebrows really do frame the entire face, making the most immediate and striking difference. What brow lamination involves is relaxing the structure of each hair, allowing it to be combed into a full up-and-out arch rather than poking stubbornly and slightly in an across or downwards direction.
After the chemicals (similar to old-fashioned hair relaxer) are applied upwards, brows are covered in clingfilm for a few minutes, wiped clean, then covered again in “reforming” cream, combed into the desired position and rewrapped in film to set in place. The whole thing takes about 15 minutes, unless you’d also like to tint brows and/or lashes at the same time (another 10-15 minutes) to even better mimic the effects of makeup.
This is money well spent if you’re an early riser, a makeup avoider or a festival-goer
The results are groomed, fuller, lifted brows that stay in place without brow gel. It’s not horrifically expensive (from about £25-£30, depending where you live) and is money well spent if you’re an early riser, a makeup avoider, a festival-goer, have naturally high-maintenance brows, or have booked a holiday on which you’d like to do little more than mainline rum and Jojo Moyes.
I live in the south-east of England and swear by London’s Nez Hasan, Suman Brows and I Love Lash, and Clare West at Brighton’s PerfectBrow, but lamination treatments are now so popular that there are practitioners in every town (only see someone who insists on a patch test of the chemicals 24 hours before treatment, and avoid DIY kits unless you’re familiar with the drill).
Since brow lamination works with the brow that already exists, it has its limitations. Those with either temporary or chronic alopecia through chemotherapy, hormonal or health changes will fare infinitely better with microblading or microshading. But for anyone with something to work with, lamination can transform sparse, squished or untidy brows into fuller, natural-looking arches that open up the eye area and demand nothing for their keep.
Model: Bobbie @ BAME Agency. Photographer’s assistant: Bruce Horak. Hair and makeup: Sarah Cherry