While brow trends come and go, full and fluffy brows remain a constant goal for many. Of course, we can quickly spruce up our sparse arches with pencils and powders, but there are also more lasting brow treatments we can experiment with. Eyebrow extensions, in particular, are one of the latest in-office treatments to gain buzz. Ahead, we asked top brow experts to explain everything you need to know about the brow-boosting procedure.
What Are Eyebrow Extensions?
Eyebrow extensions are much like lash extensions. According to Richardson, they're ultra-fine synthetic fibers designed to create a brow entirely. "[Eyebrow extensions] are customized to suit each client's needs," she explains, noting that stylists will use a variety of fiber lengths to create realistic, plush brows.
Unlike lash extensions, though, eyebrow extensions aren't solely adhered to existing brow hairs, Healy points out. "Eyebrow extensions are attached to a mix of existing eyebrow hairs and to the skin itself," he reveals.
Benefits of Eyebrow Extensions
Eyebrow extensions make your dream brows possible. "The stylist will be able to create wider, thicker, darker, longer, and [more] arched brows," Richardson says.
Additionally, Healy says that eyebrow extensions make for more realistic-looking arches altogether. "Eyebrow extensions make the brows look fuller with a bit more definition and framing around the eye," he says. "They also tend to look more natural compared to a pencil or powder cosmetic because you are placing faux-3D hairs in those sparser areas."
Due to the ability to create natural-looking brows, eyebrow extensions are popular among those who experience severe patchiness, Healy says. However, since they're not long-lasting, they tend to only be a top pick for special occasions. "Eyebrow extensions are great for nights out, photoshoots, events," he shares. "There's not much longevity, but they are great for creating a [temporarily fuller, natural-looking brow]."
How to Prepare for Eyebrow Extensions
Since eyebrow extensions are applied to the natural brow and the underlying skin, it's best to attend an appointment with bare brows. "Arrive with clean, dry eyebrows free of skincare, suncare, or any other cosmetic brow product," Healy says.
The one exception to this rule is if you want to show your brow specialist your desired brow look. In that case, Richardson says that it's okay to come with a powdered brow, as it can easily be wiped away with makeup remover.
If you experience dryness around your brows, Richardson says it's a good idea to exfoliate the area before treatment, too, so that you won't feel the need to in the days and weeks that follow. One more thing: If you have any irritation or breakouts around your brows, Healy says that it's best to hold off on eyebrow extensions until your skin calms down.
What to Expect During Eyebrow Extensions
The eyebrow extension process mimics the lash extension process. When you arrive, you'll be asked to lie down, and the specialist will prop your knees up so that you're as comfortable as possible during the 1- to 2.5-hour application process.
Richardson says before any fibers are adhered to your brows, your specialist will walk you through a consultation to determine the desired shape, fullness, and tint. "The application is pain-free, and you will be able to open your eyes to see the magic being created," she adds. Logistically, the brow fibers are simply glued on. Each fiber is individually placed to create your optimal brow shape.
Eyebrow Extensions vs. Microblading
Eyebrow extensions and microblading are two ways to create fuller-looking brows. Where extensions are best for creating hyper-realistic arches for special events, microblading is an excellent choice for those looking to have fuller-looking arches for years.
"Microblading is a more permanent solution than eyebrow extensions," Healy says. "However, microblading is a tattoo process and can be very damaging to your eyebrows, whereas the eyebrow extension process involves medical-grade adhesive and strategic placement of faux hairs. Although medical-grade adhesive isn't necessarily great for your brow area, it won't cause any long-term damage like microblading can."
The downside is that brow extensions typically last only a week or two. "Because brow extensions are attached to existing brow hairs and the skin itself, they tend not to last long," Healy says. Because of this, he says that the treatment isn't as widely requested. "They're not very practical, making the service a lot less popular and lesser-known compared to other brow-accentuating treatments," he admits.
Potential Side Effects
Eyebrow extensions are generally considered to be safe and harmless. That said, there's always the chance that you have a glue allergy. Because of this, Healy says it's best to do a skin test with the glue before undergoing the treatment to ensure it's worthwhile.
Another potential side effect of brow extensions, or caution, is that they may begin to shed almost immediately. "Clients that need the extensions directly on their skin [due to thinning brows] shed much faster," Richardson says.
And, on a less serious note, there's always the chance that you'll get addicted to the appearance of brow extensions, Richardson jokes. "[You may ]want it to be permanent," she admits, noting that long-lasting brow extensions require constant touch-ups.
According to Richardson, eyebrow extensions can cost between $200 and $475 depending on the specialist’s skill level and the degree of fill-in your brows need. Considering the results only last up to two weeks, this treatment is quite an investment.
Richardson emphasizes the importance of being gentle with your brows to get the longest lifespan out of your extensions. "Avoid sleeping on your face, applying makeup [on your brows], and rubbing the area," she urges us. Additionally, Healy says it's advised not to get them wet for roughly 48 hours post-treatment to ensure the glue has adequate time to dry.
The Final Takeaway
Eyebrow extensions involve adhering ultra-fine synthetic fibers to your brow areas to help add texture, shape, and fullness. However, they come at a cost (expect to pay $200+), and the results only last up to two weeks with proper care. Richardson says that the best candidate for eyebrow extensions is anyone looking to enhance their brows for a special event, such as a wedding or reunion. For longer-lasting brow enhancements, consider microblading, tinting, or lamination.
Article by Rebecca Norris for byrdie