By Jessica Pigza
With summer makeup on the minimal side, having a strong brow can make a big impact. Thicker, fuller brows have been on trend for a while now, leading to an explosion of temporary and semi-permanent solutions to enhance your brows. For some, they need only to tame what they already have, while others may need a little more help. Anyone remember the thin brow trends of the 90s? With so many products and procedures available, sometimes it’s hard to differentiate what exactly each one does. Below are five of the more notable methods plus a bonus.
As with anything that’s meant to last past your nightly face washing, take your time and make an educated decision when it comes to picking who will be enhancing your brows. Additionally, you should read reviews and look at pictures of their work. Furthermore, having pictures of how you’d like your brows to look is extremely helpful. Your eyebrow tech should spend a good deal of time talking to you about how you want your eyebrows to look. However, if they want to jump right in, that is a red flag to get out! Remember, everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Thankfully there are many options to choose from. Let’s get started!
1. Powders, Gels, and Serums oh my!
Probably one of the most common and lowest risk, ways to enhance your brows is to fill them in with an angled brush and powder or apply the colored gel or pomade with a brow wand or spoolie. There are also kits that provide you with a few different color choices allowing you to create a more dimensional, natural-looking brow. While these are only temporary solutions, they allow you the flexibility to try different fill methods and change the look of your brows daily.
- Totally temporary, meaning less risk if you mess up or don’t like the way they look
- Very budget-friendly
- You can change the look of your brows daily
- Painfree, unless you accidentally poke yourself in the eye, Ouch!
- Because it’s totally temporary, you’ll have to reapply daily
- It may take a while to master the perfect brow but remember, practice makes perfect
Another slightly more permanent solution is applying a growth serum to your existing eyebrows to boost their length and fullness. While this does create a natural look with little maintenance, you do have to apply it nightly to clean skin. Once desired fullness and length are achieved, then you can back down to once every other day. These products not only help promote eyebrow growth but also help stop brow hairs from falling out, leading to fuller-looking brows. The downside is that once you are no longer using the products, brows can look thinner from excess hair loss, but it is only temporary until your brow hair loss/growth cycle goes back to normal.
- No maintenance brows
- Budget-friendly especially compared to semi-permanent application processes
- Must be applied daily or every other day
- Once you stop using it, you may experience even thinner brows, temporarily
2. Brow Lamination
Brow lamination is a pretty new process that creates a shiny, smooth-looking brow. This semi-permanent technique is also referred to as a ‘brow perm’ and does not use any type of needle to enhance your brows. The process uses the brows you already have, pulls them in a more verticle direction, and reshapes them to make them look their fullest. This process is perfect if you have long, unruly or curly eyebrows.
First, a lifting cream is applied then your brows are brushed up. Then, another neutralizing cream is applied to help keep the brow hairs in place. Lastly, moisturizing oil is applied to help keep the skin from peeling. To enhance this process, you can also add tinting, which is usually done at a second appointment as to not overexpose your eyebrows to too many chemicals. Just like a perm, you need to keep them dry for 24 hours after application then you’re good to go!
The upside is that this is a painless process requiring zero needles and works with the brow hairs you have. Downside, it only lasts for roughly six weeks as your brow hairs will naturally fall out depending on where they are in their lifecycle and grow back in their natural position. Also, there is the potential that the perming cream could lighten your brows requiring immediate tinting. This treatment is not recommended for someone with a skin condition or super sensitive skin.
- Painfree application process, cream could cause light tingling
- Approx 30-60 min application time
- Cost is relatively less at $50-$100 per session
- Only lasts 4-6 weeks
- Could lighten your eyebrows
- Could cause skin irritation, not recommended for sensitive skin
- Brows may still need to be brushed back into place but won’t need filled daily
3. Ombré Powder Microshading
While this process is known by a few different names, powder fill, microshading, or stardust brows, but the technique to enhance your brows is still the same. Unlike microblading which using hair-like strokes, this process involves the application of thousands of tiny little dots tattooed onto the brow area to create a build-up of color. This process creates a more solid, graphic brow structure. Microshading has been around for many years. Previously though, it did not have the best reputation for creating a natural brow but recent improvements to this application technique boast a more natural brow with a lifespan of 1-3 years with a few touch-ups. What also makes this process stand out is that it’s perfect for those with oily or sensitive skin. This process can also be combined with Microblading for a more natural look.
- Good for oily or sensitive skin
- Lasts 1-3 years with touchups
- Not too painful as dots are applied instead of blades being pulled across your skin
- Can be combined with Microblading or Nanoblading for a more natural look
- Expensive, prices can range from $300-$1000 depending on where you live and tech’s experience level
- The solid, bold look this technique offers is not for everyone
Microblading uses a small, sharp instrument that consists of 10 to 16 fine needles configured into a blade shape to draw hair-like ‘tattoos’ onto your brow area. Unlike a tattoo though, microblading does not last forever. The results will last up to three years with touch-ups required every 12 months. In addition, the whole microblading process takes place over two sessions scheduled 4-6 weeks apart. Lastly, before you’re able to see the final product, there’s a healing process you must go through first, it usually takes about a few weeks. While the process isn’t considered painful, the scratching sound made by the application tool can be considered annoying so bringing a pair of earbuds and your favorite playlist may help. To read even more about this process check out Alison’s Microblading experience HERE and how she felt about it a year later HERE.
- Creates a very natural-looking brow mimicking hair-like lines
- Works on all skin tones
- Can create fuller-looking brows even if there’s not much to start with
- Once initial healing care is done, virtually maintenance-free
- Lasts up to three years with yearly touchups
- More on the expensive side ranging from $500 – $2000
- Hearing the scratching of the application process can be annoying
- Lots of aftercare and it can take weeks for brows to fully heal
- It takes two sessions
Nanoblading is a new brow treatment that uses an ultra-sharp nanoneedle that mimics the diameter and dimension of real hair on the skin to enhance your brows. It’s like microblading, only using a single ultra-fine and more flexible needle to create an even more natural-looking brow. This semi-permanent treatment won’t last forever, however, it does boast around a three-year lifespan requiring only a yearly touchup. The process of nanoblading typically consists of three visits, a consultation in which a test patch is done to ensure you aren’t allergic to the dye then two separate application appointments usually scheduled 4-8 weeks apart. After your first application appointment, you’ll still have great-looking brows you won’t mind showing off, the second appointment just helps to fill them out even more.
- Causes less trauma to the skin vs. microblading
- Lasts up to three years
- Good for oily and textured skin
- Very natural looking
- Able to be more precise with hair-like application
- Perfect for people with naturally thin eyebrow hairs
- Long application time, between 3-4 hours
- Expensive, because it’s so labor-intensive it can cost between $500 and up to $2000 depending on where you live
- Consists of 2-3 appointments to complete the process
Bonus: Henna Tinted Brows
A natural alternative to enhance your brows is henna-tinted brows. Henna is a natural, plant-based dye. During the henna application process not only are your eyebrows tinted but so is the skin underneath, creating a powder fill look. Contrary to henna tattoo application, the henna used for your eyebrows comes in a variety of colors and will not turn your brows orange or oxidize over time. Furthermore, the process is fairly quick with a session lasting about 30 minutes. In some cases, the brow is outlined using barrier cream. A henna dye is then applied and lines are cleaned up with a q-tip. The dye will sit for 10-20 minutes, and once removed, the tech will finish shaping your brow. Not all henna application products are created equal, so again, look at before and after photos and find the color that works the best with your brows.
- Henna is a natural, plant-based product
- Won’t dry out your brows
- Application session is approx 30 min
- If you’re feeling confident in your abilities, there are DIY henna kits available
- Henna brows can encourage hair to grow back fuller
- Great at tinting all hair colors even gray
- Not horribly expensive with cost ranging from $35 – $125
- Tint only lasts 6-8 weeks
- Lasts even less time on oily skin