As I was bleaching my bathtub the other day, I stopped to ponder whether I’d ever grow out of changing my appearance impulsively. Why, pray tell, couldn’t I be one of those women who gets calm enjoyment out of the same beauty routine each morning? And not the kind who overnights a $12 jar of Manic Panic to dye over her professionally done red highlights just to see what would happen? The thing that happened: I hated the color my hair turned (thank god it’ll wash out) and my bathtub was stained a Pepto Bismol neon pink. But let me tell you about a recent impulsive beauty move that didn’t fail miserably: a little over a month ago, I got my brows laminated.
Brow lamination isn’t anything new, but it was new to me. “Brow lamination,” by the way, is just a fancy term for a perm you do to your eyebrows—the perm solution relaxes the bonds that give your hair its natural texture, and you’re able to reshape them any way you want. Once the solution is removed, your brows look shiny and set in place ("laminated"). I had grown out my meticulously plucked brows to all their wild, natural glory this past year, and though I loved their fullness, I really only loved it when they were coerced into place with clear cement. Traditional brow gels did nothing for my thick, coarse hairs, and I kept returning to a gigantic bottle of Göt2b hair gel if I wanted any hold. I was set to fly to my brother’s college graduation, and the hair gel wasn’t TSA friendly. Ergo, lamination.
I did some research, meaning I Googled places within a 15 minute walk from my apartment and checked to see if any of them had availability later that day. While I might have been more cautious if I was doing a lash lift (closer to the eyeballs), I figured since you can give yourself brow lamination at home, the risk must be pretty minimal—and minimized at the hands of a professional. A place called Lucia Lash had an appointment, good reviews on Yelp, and boasted a special Japanese solution with a gentler formula. I was sold! The price was relatively steep ($80) but not the most expensive option as far as lamination goes.
Lucia Lash is just one room in a shared space on 26th street, with a lifted treatment table and some plush blankets. The appointment included a shaping, but I opted to skip that. And when I asked Mana, my brow artist, if she thought my brows would benefit from a tint, she let me know that the fluffiness added by lamination would fill any sparse holes. I layed down on the table, popped in my Airpods, and caught up on "Still Processing" while Mana got to work. The brow version of a perm smells just as rotten eggy as the original (I’d know—I tried that too) and after she covered my brows with it and brushed them up, Mana covered my forehead with cling wrap. After some time, she removed the cling wrap, brushed some keratin onto my brows, re-cling wrapped the area, and took another break. I was finished with the entire treatment in under an hour. Once she cleaned all the gunk off of my brows and brushed them up to finish, Mana handed me a mirror. They looked…
Crazy! I cannot express the sheer terror I felt looking into that mirror and seeing Eugene Levy staring back. Mana must have sensed my unease because she quickly ran a spoolie along the top edge, tucking the hairs back into an arch. As she explained, I’d have hold no matter which way I brushed them: they didn’t actually have to be fluffed up all the way, like I’d seen in every brow lamination photo on Instagram. But, as the poet Cardi B famously penned, “If it’s up, then it’s stuck.”
With that minor adjustment, my brows looked exactly how they looked when I slicked them into place with gel. Only, there was no gloopy gel or unsightly flakes or anything on my brows at all. I left the gel at home when I went to graduation. And every morning for a month, I used a clean spoolie to magically guide my brow hairs to exactly the placement I liked. Eventually they flattened out and returned to their natural positions—a few smaller hairs at the top maintain a weird kink where the new growth wants to go down and the permed bit wants to stick up, but it’s only noticeable in the super magnified mirror I use to
pick my face do extractions.
I loved the results. Writing this actually reminded me how much I loved them. Why haven’t I re-upped yet? Instead of trying a new something new, I think I’ll book an appointment.
Photo via ITG