First, let’s go over the process of regular brow lamination. Think of this treatment as a chemical relaxer or perm for your brows: “[It’s] a brow styling technique that involves the process of the use of a perming and fixing solution to chemically straighten out the brow hairs and achieve a perfectly-set shape with a gel like finish,” says celebrity brow stylist Melanie Marris, founder of Brow Code.
Once the hairs are more malleable, the artist can move them to cover gaps or scars, fluff them out to make them wider, or, in my case, brush them to add volume and lift. Essentially, it’s like using an extra-strength brow gel that doesn’t go away with a face wash.
However, just like when one gets a perm or relaxer, that chemical process can take a toll on your strands over time—the brow hairs are especially vulnerable to brittleness and breakage, given that they are typically much finer and more sensitive.
Enter, “baby” lamination, a process that only treats the first inch or so at the start of the brow. “The area which normally grows in an upward direction is laminated, and the rest of the brow is left natural,” Marris explains. “This lamination method results in a subtle, more understated effect for everyday wear, while still achieving a clean, polished appearance.” And because you only treat a portion of the brow, the process doesn’t impair as many precious hairs.
She compares the treatment to babylights, which entails super-soft, tiny, and finely woven-in highlights for a very natural hair color. It refers to the width of the highlight, similar to how baby lamination refers to the placement of the perming solution.
That being said, you could generally think of “baby” lamination as any softer, step down procedure. For example, celebrity brow artist Kristie Streicher, founder of KS&CO, offers a “brow lifting” service that involves a gentle keratin solution to relax the hairs and lift them upward (essentially, a lamination). When I received the treatment, however, she took note of my thin, sensitive arches and decided to leave on the solution for only a fraction of the allotted time, so as to not cause breakage. I consider this a “baby” lamination as well, since it involves tweaking the process with brow health in mind.
I still reaped the benefits of a regular brow “lift” or lamination—the treatment just better fit my own, sensitive hairs. And let me tell you: My brows have never looked fuller.
While regular lamination has been popular for ages, “We’re finding there is currently a huge trend in baby lamination at the moment,” Marris adds, perhaps as folks prefer flexible, softer brow looks as opposed to flattened, straight arches. The baby lamination gives you a bit more freedom with your brows and keeps them healthy—which, in turn, makes them appear even fluffier.