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Brow lamination without chemicals

Young woman undergoing brow lamination in a beauty salon

Precisely shaped, bushy brows are still in vogue and unlikely to revert to a slimmed-down version any time soon. If you like to follow trends but struggle to keep your brows looking neat or fluffy, here’s some advice on how to achieve a brow lamination look without chemicals.

This foolproof DIY method can be achieved with products you are likely to aleady have and it's easy. It may require a bit of practice to achieve optimal results, but perservere to lift your look and save yourself wads of cash. The cost of professional lamination is not cheap and it’s time consuming. It’s also not permanent, so the initial outlay will be on-going.

For salon brow shaping, optional tinting and lamination, you are looking at around £30 to £70. And the process takes anything between 50 minutes and two hours, depending on whether or not you want your brows dyed.

What is brow lamination?

Brow lamination involves perming the hairs in your eyebrows to keep them in place - whether that is brushed up and close to the skin or fluffed out. Before chemicals are used to perm your brows, a trained beauty therapist will first shape them, fill in sparse areas and, if requested, colour the hairs with a tint.

Common reasons for wanting lamination is that it can change the shape of the brows or correct issues such as poor symmetry or purely messy brows. Hands up if your eyebrows aren’t perfect. Mine are dreadful!

The lamination process ensures brows keep their shape from six to 10 weeks. They will be evenly spaced from the eyes and perfectly frame the face. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

There are cons though. 

Professional beauty therapists will need to carry out patch tests for both the lamination and the tinting. This will mean additional visits to a salon before the process can be carried out.

Plus, and I think this is something that many beauty lovers overlook, laminated brows can look very false. They are just too perfect. And, if you don’t like the results, you are pretty much stuck with them for more than a month. Unless you hate them so much you decide to shave them off! (Not recommended.)

Alternatives to brow lamination

Neat, symmetrical brows add an important feature and focal point to the face - especially if you have short hair, wear your hair tied up or don’t have a fringe. As well as being prominent, brows frame the eyes. So, if you wear eye makeup, keeping them neat and tidy is an absolute must.

Of course, nobody is perfect. Your brows may tail off mid-way above your eyes, they may be virtually non-existent or feature stray hairs that venture too close to the bridge of the nose. They may even be missing an arch or be just too bushy to tame. 

There are lots of tools available to help you make the most of what you have got. Relatively inexpensive, they include things like fiddly stencils, tweezers and trimming tools. Those examples don’t feature in my tried and trusted solution, you may be pleased to know!

All you will need to give this method a try is:

  • A slim eyebrow pencil

  • Mascara

  • Spoolie

  • Eyebrow wax

  • Concealer

That’s it!

A woman with sparse eyebrows
What my very sparse eyebrows look like before I've worked on them.

Best way to neaten eyebrows without lamination

For this method, you will need clean skin. It is best to make this the first step of your makeup routine.

With an eyebrow pencil, outline the shape you would like for your eyebrows. Using the same pencil, fill in the shape you have created. Don’t worry about what it looks like right now.

Next, take a spoolie brush and use it to evenly distribute the colour and, at the same time, start to tease hairs into the position you eventually want them. Remove any excess pigment from outside the shape you have created. Do this with a cotton pad or ear bud.

Rather than plucking any hairs that protrude from your ‘shape', you can cover them with a dab of concealer.

You can now use plain old mascara or eyebrow gel to coat hairs to bulk them out and give them definition.

Once you are happy with your look, swirl a spoolie brush in some eyebrow wax and use it to create a neat, faux laminated finish. Wax is great if you want hairs that stay flush to the skin or for bulking out. Not all brow wax is created equally and you may have to shop around to find the wax that creates the look you want to achieve.

I am in my 50s and only started taking eyebrow shaping seriously 12 months ago. I figured, if I wear eyeshadow, I need to create the right canvas to produce a coherent look.

It takes time to get the brows exactly how I want them, but I’m getting there. 

It pays to use a magnifying mirror, if you have one. And don't be afraid to repeat one of the steps, if you don't get the desired result straight away. It generally takes me around three minutes to do each brow.

They will never look quite as neat as laminated eyebrows, but they always look full and, importantly, real. I don't know about you but the brows featured at the top of this page don't even look like eyebrows - they look like a stick-on transfer.

DIY brow lamination
In this image, I have started filling in my shape before I comb and neaten. I will then add more colour coverage before waxing hairs into position.

Salon brow lamination is time-consuming and this method is quick and inexpensive. I recommend persevering with it, because the end result is worth the effort. Once you get used to the process, it gets quicker. I can do mine in a matter of a few minutes. 

Tips: If you happen to blob mascara on your brows, let it dry before using a spoolie to gently remove it. Eyebrow pencils that let you draw individual hairs are getting better and better. I've recently seen one that lets you draw several at a time. I've ordered this product and will let you know in another feature how it performs.

At home brow shaping. A woman shows her brows towards the end of the process
Almost there... This is what my brows look like before I tidy up the shape edges and finish them off with wax. They are much thicker and fluffier than the brows I started with! The end result will look more natural than laminated brows.

If you want to read more about brow shaping, I recommend this excellent feature by Shavata Singh.

I'm planning on hosting some free, virtual coffee mornings. If you fancy one where we all have a go at our brows at the same time, give me a shout. It could be fun!


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Apr 02

Where is the picture of the last results. It ends at 'almost there.'

Replying to

I'm really sorry about that. Definitely an oversight on my part. The next time I do it, I will try to remember to come back to this post and add one. Belinda

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