Eyebrows are a funny thing to be “on-trend”. But, from the Nineties’ thin strip to today’s bold and bushy (yet precisely pruned) caterpillars, there’s no denying that they’re one of the most apparent beauty fads. And one of the easiest to get wrong.
So far this decade, we’ve seen soap brows, shadow brows, windswept brows and a handful of others dominate. Laminated brows are now leading the way. If you’ve not heard of them before, chances are you’ve seen them and they may well be part of the reason you’re so drawn to that chic Instagrammer, trendy Tesco cashier or even the woman sitting across from you at work.
First popping up around 2019, it’s a much more subtle look than previous perfectly plucked or big and bushy styles – think Cara Delevigne crossed with Posh Spice – and this year, it seems to be booming.
Essentially, it’s like an eyebrow perm – a term which some people use instead of laminated – which weakens the hair so that it can be pulled upwards in one direction and flattened. The results are semi-permanent and hope to make eyebrows appear fuller, larger and more uniform with no need for micro-needling or colouring. Think of good brow gel results but in a semi-permanent state.
As with most treatments, an average London salon price falls anywhere between £40-£120 according to Treatwell, which is no small sum. So, we’ve rounded up the best at-home kits for a cheaper, possibly more hassle-free alternative to get your eyebrows on fleek in no time.
At-home brow lamination kits are few and far between at the moment, with only a handful of reputable brands offering them online. But, we got out hands on as many as we could to give them a thorough IndyBest testing. Our tester was a complete beginner in at-home beauty treatments of this level, only trusting themselves to wax or paint their nails and leaving everything else to the experts. So newbies are also encouraged to give this a go.
Each kit has (almost) everything you need for the treatment, consisting of very similar creams and tools, and a full set of instructions – which we followed meticulously. Ease of use, feel of the treatment, price and results were all on our list for testing, and each kit was ranked accordingly. But please do note, our tester does have thick, big and bushy eyebrows, so always opted for the maximum time recommended if specified on a kit. These are the ones that came out on top.
Heralded on Instagram as the “boss babes” of at-home brow kits, everything about this kit wowed us. From the stylish packaging to the amount of tools included, it’s hard to fault. And, even better, it comes with both a newspaper-style booklet with easy to follow instructions, cocktail recipes and other beauty tidbits and a QR code for a how-to video for those who prefer to learn visually.
The perming solution does have that hair removal cream-like smell that almost all of the other kits did, which does induce a panic when first applying as, like our tester, you may feel like your eyebrows are about to come off in one fell swoop – fear not, this isn’t the case.
It does take a little bit longer than some of the other kits to apply, waiting between six-12 minutes for each product application, but it is well worth it for results that lasted for around one month and a joyful application process that felt more like a treatment than a chore. We estimate you could do between six and eight treatments with the one kit which is more than any of the others, but it does come with a much heftier price tag when not on sale, so do bear that in mind if on a tighter budget.
There was a close tie between this kit and the Sassy Saints option. For anyone doing brow touch-ups on-the-go or after a smaller, space-saving kit, this is the one for you. Firstly, from a hygienic perspective it can’t be beaten. Each cream needed comes in an individual sachet meaning no double dipping next time you go to apply, and they haven’t scrimped on the amount included either, meaning you can happily apply as much as you need with no worry about next time.
With three sachets for each product there’s enough for three applications and the result did last us the longest, around four to five weeks – so take the “up to six months of treatments” claim with a pinch of salt, as this isn’t the case for everyone. Included in the kit is all of the sachets, spoolies, cotton buds, cotton pads and microfibre applicators – all handy additions – but sadly no clingfilm was added, which was needed for the treatment.
There was a hair removal-like smell from the first cream but no burning sensation or redness occurred, and it is also vegan. The best thing about this kit – apart from the fact it lasted the longest – was that it came with a full-size London Brow keratin boost aftercare serum (£24.99, Londonbrowcompany.com) which we would recommend using with any brow kit.
As both a lash lift and a lamination kit, this is quite the value for money option. Although, we have to stress we didn’t attempt any lash lifting (brows was enough for us to tackle this time around) so cannot provide any feedback on that part.
The packaging was a real help – not quite as sleek as Sassy Saints (£48, Sassysaints.com), but we’ll take it – easily showing every item in the kit for easy prep before starting. The instructions were easy to follow – though, a word of advice, be sure to lay out the brow products only or risk getting confused halfway through treatment. All creams and tools were included too, we just had to add cotton wool pads, buds and cling film.
Interestingly, what set this kit apart from the rest was the use of lash glue to “stick” the brows up and in place before adding any product on, which did make for a much less fiddly process with the creams. But, although the kit claims you can use it more than ten times, we’d say realistically it’s more like two or three as the product bottles are small. No burning or irritation occurred, although the perming solution did again smell like hair removal cream, and the results faded after around one week. If you’re looking to just test it out to see whether you like the look, this may be the one for you.
If you’re after laminated brows but we haven’t quite sold you on the at-home kits then this is well worth a try. A hybrid between a brow pencil and a gel, one side fills in fine brush-like strokes – just be sure to wind it up – while the other features a spoolie with clear gel. It’s incredibly easy to use with none of the risks that come with the kits (just patch test to check you aren’t allergic) but of course, it doesn’t last more than a day and will wash off. Be sure to use the best colour match for your eyebrow colour out of the five shades available for a more natural look.
You may be able to tell from the picture, this was the first kit we tried – hence the non-trimmed eyebrows. So, perhaps unfairly to the kit, a couple of the issues found were also down to user error. But, we would really recommend practising at-home laminating on a cheaper kit before blowing a bigger budget while you still get the hang of things.
It did include everything – cling film, product solutions, spoolies, tools, eyebrow combs and more – for a very straightforward first attempt. All you’d need on hand is some extra cotton buds and pads for cleanups. This one was a little bit irritating when on, slightly burning our tester’s skin, so we had to remove all of the product after three minutes, and it did have the strongest smell. To reduce this you can trim the eyebrows down to avoid the solution going on a larger area of the face, and regularly sweep any excess product on the skin away with the cotton buds.
Given the fact it wasn’t on for very long, it did only last our tester for a few days, and – as seems to be a common theme with these kits – please don’t take the “can be used up to six times” to be gospel. We’d say two to three uses is probably as far as it will stretch.
Similar to the Revolution laminate gel and pencil duo (£7.99, Boots.com), this NYX option is great for those who aren’t quite ready to jump in with two feet but still want to achieve the final look. We did pop the gel in our handbags for touch-ups whenever each semi-permanent kit started to wear off, and it did extend its lifespan for a couple more days which was incredibly helpful.
Of course, it only really lasts for one day, but to experiment with the look, that certainly isn’t bad. The coloured pen was very easy to use and is much less scratchy than a pencil, giving fine hair-like strokes thanks to its micro tip.
Unlike any of the other kits full of countless tools, this one has really paired it back to the bare minimum, which, if you like things nice and simple, is definitely easier to get your head around. Four creams are included – three with very hygienic pump heads – one spoolie and one microfibre mini bud, so we did have to add our own cling film and cotton pads again.
Similarly to the Wow Lashes kit, you set the brows in place first before perming – making it a little bit less fiddly to apply the other products – and the creams actually smelled nice, which was a big change from the others. Each cream is considerably larger than the other kits so we would say this could actually be used for a good number of uses. The results lasted us for a couple of weeks, which we weren’t too mad at, but to keep them looking really full, we would recommend topping up with brow gel.
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