If there was only one step in my beauty routine I could complete before a public appearance of any sort it would be filling in my brows. There was a point in time where I would’ve said putting on lip gloss, but as beauty trends change, so have my priorities, and right now brows are in — and they have been for a long time.
“We started the thick brow trend in 2014 with heavier makeup, now we are focusing more on the hair and styling the hair,” said René, founder of Brow Down studio and the man behind Cardi B and Lizzo’s fabulously curated brows.
Of course, none of us is in the public eye nearly as much as either of those ladies. But as social media becomes an increasingly important aspect of everyone’s personal branding, so has the desire for a perfect pair of brows.
“Now that we’re on screen all the time it’s almost like we’re all on television now,” said Kim Roxie, founder of LAMIK Beauty. “And so now it’s like, I need to do something to my brows so my face doesn’t look washed out.”
Given the significance brows have taken on in recent years, we decided to tap these two browsperts (get it?) for their knowledge on filling in, taking off, and perfecting one of the most important features on our faces. Here’s what we learned.
Why Brows Matter
Eyebrows don’t get nearly as much attention as say, undereye bags and fine lines, but the way you style your brows can dramatically change your entire face, and even make you appear younger, René said.
“I would consider brow lamination as a part of anti-aging because as we get older our brows get thinner. And being able to have a fuller brow meant for your face shape can really change your features and overall look,
Kim echoed that sentiment, saying when it comes to brow shape, “It’s all about framing your face. Your brows frame 75% of your face.”
Of course, not everyone is looking for their brows to turn back the hands of time. For some, grooming is merely about personal preference and an expression of personal style, as it should be Kim added. “The secret is in bringing your swag to your brow,” she said, pointing out that no matter how long it takes to figure out the perfect look for you, “Do not be defeated.”
To Tweeze, Thread, Or Wax?
Like brow styles, grooming methods fall in and out of trend. In the ’90s it was all about tweezing, then threading was the craze, and now waxing and more permanent solutions have taken over. Less important than what method you use to groom your eyebrows, however, is who you’re entrusting to do it, said Kim.
“It totally depends on who’s doing it. I know people who use the razor and go to the beauty supply – I ain’t mad at you.”
To determine which method is best for you, there are different things to consider such as pain tolerance when it comes to methods like threading or skin sensitivity, which can be irritated by wax.
“In terms of threading, many go with that because waxing has gotten such a bad rep,” René said. “It just depends on who the artist is. I’m loyal to Épillyss. It is a wax that is very natural. It is a lot more gentle on the skin.”
If you’re interested in tweezing at home, a guide of some sort can help. “We started doing little Eyebrow Maintenance Kits so people could do it at home when they had to do it themselves [during Covid-19],” Kim explained. Her kits come with a spoolie to brush brow hairs into place, tweezers to grab stray hairs, mini-scissors for trimming, and brow stencils to help achieve the perfect shape.
If you saw Lizzo’s TikTok post on getting her brows laminated and wondered what she was talking about, you’re not alone. In short, René explained the grooming method is like a perm for your brows.
“So brow lamination is a chemical treatment that’s done to the brows and what it does is it opens up the follicle and it manipulates the follicles so you can move it in any direction,” he said. “It’s great for people that have really thin brows because It makes them thicker with keratin. It’s great for people who have really coarse brows because it gets them to go in any direction. And If people have thick, kind of coarse, unruly brows it just really helps with smoothing. It’s essentially a straight perm for your brows.”
Brow Lamination originated in Russia and quickly spread across Europe, making its way to the United States just a little over a year ago. René, who has been in the beauty industry for 14 years, is an educator on the technique and also performs it on clients in his studio in downtown LA which he opened four years ago.
In total, the lamination process takes about an hour to perform, and as with a keratin treatment for the hair on your head, there are some restrictions regarding aftercare. “Normally when you get your brows laminated you don’t wet them for 24 hours,” René explained. “After 24 hours your brows will be nice and straight and fluffy. But when you comb them up they will stay that way. You do see an instant result.”
As for maintenance, René recommends getting lamination every six weeks, similar to most women’s hair relaxer schedule.
In comparison to other techniques, microblading is considered more of a semipermanent brow solution that involves using a tiny needle to deposit pigment onto the skin.
“Within the microblading category, there are several different styles that we offer in the studio. One is microblading which is more of the hair stroke style. Ombre is more of a dense, fuller looking brow. Combo brow is normally hair strokes in the front and the tail is more defined,” René explained.
As far as outcome, “Everybody’s results are a little bit different,” he said, pointing out it takes about 10 days to fully heal from the procedure, with retouching happening approximately once a year. “It’s really about lifestyle, how oily you are, how dry you are, of course if you’re doing the aftercare and not, like, scrubbing your brows.”
Like with threading or waxing, microblading is another one of those procedures you don’t want to let just anybody try on you, Kim said.
“I’ve seen more people get it wrong than get it right,” she said when it comes to the technique. “The person who microblades also needs to know how to shape brows really well. It should go together.”
When we think about hair loss and conditions like alopecia, most attention is paid to the hair growing from our scalp, but that loss extends to other areas of the body, including eyebrows.
“If you have a condition, you have to sort of work with the fact that you have hair loss, not if the hair will grow back,” said Kim. It was actually hair loss that led her to create her own products after running a makeup shop in Houston for 14 years.
“I had gotten it together with my hair, I was like, I can put a wig on, I can pull that together, but for my eyebrows in the makeup industry, I’m like, oh my God, I need something to finish off my eyebrows and I don’t want that pencil eyebrow look. I wanted something that was more natural, that had organic ingredients so I started using this powder I created. It’s a nutrient complex and it’s made from 80% natural organic ingredients.”
It was particularly important to Kim that the ingredients in the brow powder not only looked good on the skin, but were good for it as well. “It’s about the ingredients inside of it, especially me with hair loss, I want to put something on that’s enriching and nutritious for my skin and not something that’s going to add even more problems to my problem. It’s the first of its kind, clean brow kit, meaning non-toxic brow kit. My mom passed away from breast cancer and I’m very big about the carcinogens in personal care products.”
It’s for that reason her powder is free of talc, which has been linked to ovarian and lung cancer, but it does incorporate castor seed oil and jojoba which have been found to stimulate hair growth.
René shared a similar experience seeing hair loss up close. “My mom is a cancer survivor and lost a lot of her brow. Our artist Jenny at the studio gave her a completely new brow. There are lots of things we can do to grow our brows back. “Revitabrow is something I recommend to everyone. It’s a really great brow serum that helps with boosting growth.”
Styling your brows is hardly as easy as the vloggers make it look on YouTube, and according to René it may be best to take a do not try this at home approach to brow grooming.
“The biggest mistake is taking it into your own hands and not taking it to professionals,” he said. “I always tell my clients to not touch their brows because you would never cut your hair.”
Though Kim doesn’t mind people taking their brows into their own hands, the mistake that gets her riled up is a reminder grooming is often best left to professionals.
“I wish people would stop taking so much hair off the middle of their face. You know between your eyebrows, that space in the middle? Just use your middle finger and take that hair right there where your nose is,” she advised.
Unless you’re a super-fan of done-up brows, at the end of the day, most of us want those strands of hair to look as full and real as possible. And to that end, Kim simply said less is more when it comes to grooming and manipulation. “Let the hair grow in, it’s natural.”
Below is a list of Kim and René’s favorite products for rocking your best natural brow.
1. STUDIO COLLECTION PRECISION BROW PENCILSSource:Brow Down Studio
Speaking on his Precision Brow Pencils, René said, “They are neutral and good for anybody’s brow. I’m not a huge fan of cool colors or warm colors on the brows because sometimes the shades can be off. So using a neutral pencil makes the brows look a lot more natural. I’m all about enhancing the natural brow to be able to see each hair stroke as opposed to having a full thick brow.”
2. LAMIK Eyebrow GelSource:Lamik Beauty
“I’m really big on using the brow gel to make your eyebrows look fuller,” Kim said of her own LAMIK Eyebrow Gel. “I put my brow gel on and then I do my eyebrow kit. My eyebrows look so full. They look so much better now.”
3. LAMIK CELEBRITY BROW KITSource:Kim Roxie
“I created this powder that could sit on our oily skin. I wanted something that could sit on the skin and not slide off,” Kim explained of her Celebrity Brow Kit which comes with either a brow powder or brow pomatum. While the powder is best for normal, oily, or combination skin, if you have extremely dry skin you should go with the pomade, she suggested.
4. HD Brows Brow GlueSource:Brow Glue
As HD Brows, aka High Definition Beauty, said it, “We named it Brow Glue for a reason.” Not all brow gel is created equal, and HD Brows set out to prove that with this “super-strong setting power” gel whose “budge-proof formula locks brow hairs in place all day long (and we mean all day).”
5. PATRICK TA Major Brow Shaping WaxSource:PATRICK TA Major Brow Shaping Wax
PATRICK TA’s Major Brow Shaping Wax has a durable, yet flexible formula designed to set stubborn hairs and create a full, feathered brow. The wax contains growth peptides to support healthy new growth and glycerine and olive oil to condition, soften, and protect the brows and skin.
6. REVITABROW® ADVANCED EYEBROW CONDITIONER & SERUMSource:REVITABROW®
Revitabrow® Advanced Eyebrow Conditioner & Serum is a favorite of René. The ophthalmologist-developed eyebrow conditioner is formulated to address the visible signs of eyebrow aging due to chemical and environmental stressors as well as over-plucking and styling products. The BioPeptin Complex®, which includes peptides, lipids, biotin, and green tea extract, is rich in Panthenol, which helps strengthen brows and protect against breakage.
7. Kelly Baker SWAROVSKY CRYSTAL TWEEZERSource:Swarovsky Crystal Tweezer
If you’re going to tweeze, do so with one of René’s go-tos, which is from Kelly Baker. So far the professional Swarovski Crystal Tweezers ($26) are the only ones available on the site and we’re not mad at it. According to the description, “These tweezers line up perfectly and grab the hair every time!”