Eyelash extensions are pretty much de rigueur for any beauty maven. While you may not get them yourself, or only entertain them on special occasions, almost everybody has at least heard of them. Eyelash extensions are synthetic fibers that can be attached to your existing lashes or lash line using adhesive. It makes your lashes look perfectly long, thick, and mascara-d from morning until night and every minute in between.
Eyebrow extensions, on the other hand, are much lesser-known—you may not have even known that it’s a thing! Luckily, you have us to tell you all about it, and so we will: eyebrow extensions are totally a thing, especially if you balk at the permanence or risk for infection with eyebrow thickening methods like microblading or eyebrow tinting, you should get to know them.
What Are Eyebrow Extensions?
Eyebrow extensions are very similar to eyelash extensions. A technician will apply superfine, synthetic fibers to the roots of your existing brow hairs to give the impression of fuller, thicker brows. Because the synthetic fibers are three-dimensional, obviously, rather than just tinting or pigment beneath your skin, they look much more real than other methods of getting bolder brows without makeup.
Who Should Get Eyebrow Extensions?
The short answer is anybody and everybody! If you’d like bolder brows or fuller brows, eyebrow extensions can work for you. You can get extensions to fill out your existing brows, and even extensions to create the appearance of natural brows if you’ve lost your eyebrows due to anything from stress to aging to chemotherapy.
What’s the Process Like?
As we said, the actual process of getting eyebrow extensions is pretty straightforward. Not to make it sound lame, but it’s essentially just gluing synthetic hairs to your brows! The whole process can vary in the amount of time it takes, depending on how much you’re getting done. Most technicians will offer a variety of prices and packages, ranging from just adding a handful of hairs if your brows need refining but not a total overhaul, to a slightly different process where your new brows will be adhered to your skin if you don’t have eyebrows at all. You’ll probably have a good sense of what you need, but if you’re unsure, always ask!
The first part of your appointment should be a consultation. You and your technician will discuss what shape you’re going for, and you should be able to get a good idea of the kind of fibers they're using. The finer the fibers, the more natural the final product will be. Once you’ve decided on a look, you’ll likely have an outline of your brows drawn on with eyeliner or another face-friendly pen or pencil.
Then you’re off to the races! Brow extensions can take anywhere from a half-hour to a couple of hours to complete. Brow extensions can be expensive, but as with most procedures that will affect your face, it’s important to do a bit of research and be sure you trust the place where you’re getting your brows done. If something feels off or you’re just not comfortable, it’s fine to leave!
How Long Do Brow Extensions Last?
This is the one major downside to eyebrow extensions if you’re looking to change your look for the long term. While microblading can last a couple of years and eyebrow tinting can last for weeks or months, eyebrow extensions last for a week or two.
You’ll get the longest wear out of your brow extensions if you avoid touching or rubbing your face, and are super careful around your brow area when it comes to washing your face. Anything that might loosen the adhesive over time is likely to result in losing a few hairs here and there. While it’s not dangerous, of course, it can be annoying if you were hoping to have lush brows indefinitely. For this reason, eyebrow extensions are probably more of a “special occasion” thing for most people.
While the staying power of eyebrow extensions may be a bit of a letdown, it’s balanced out by its relative safety. Any kind of brow tint or dye isn’t actually approved by the FDA just yet, and Microblading or any other process by which pigment is put into the skin can have a wide range of negative side effects if performed incorrectly. If you’re just dipping your toe into the world of brow procedures, it might be comforting to start with something that you know you can remove if you’re not happy with it.
Are Eyebrow Extensions Affordable?
It depends on how much eyebrow you have to extend in the first place! If you’re just adding a handful of hairs to already reasonably substantial brows, you can get eyebrow extensions in the ballpark of $50, depending on where you live, and how high-end the place you’re getting it done is. The price will gradually go up depending on the ratio of your natural brow hairs to the number of hairs you’re adding and can run a couple of hundred dollars if you’re looking to completely create the appearance of brows from scratch.
For this reason also, eyebrow extensions—while amazingly effective and natural-looking—will probably remain in the category of “things you do only when you have big plans”, like getting your hair or makeup done. But hey, if you can afford weekly brow extensions, or perfect brows have priority in your budget, we’re not judging.
Can You Wear Makeup With Brow Extensions?
That’s a hard no! Applying any product to your brows can interfere with the adhesive and make your extensions fall out faster—not to mention the fact that you’ll definitely have to remove the makeup later on, and that process will definitely result in some fake-hair hair loss.
However, if brow extensions are a bit out of your price range, or if this all sounded good until you realized you wouldn’t be able to use your favorite products, there is one particular product that can be really helpful in creating the appearance of brow extensions without the expense or care requirements.
Using a tinted Ultra Defining Brow Gel on your natural, non-extended brows can go a long way toward tidying up your brows and making them appear bolder without any expensive procedures. Even if you feel like brow extensions will be a great option for certain plans or events, learning to apply tinted brow gel effectively can help give you that fresh out of the salon feel any time. Just swipe the spoolie in the opposite direction that your hair grows to fully coat every possible strand, and then brush your brows back into place.
Similar to getting brow extensions, the tint will cling to your natural brow hairs, and create a thicker, fuller look without looking unnatural or painted on. Of course, it’s not going to beat the look of fresh brow extensions—but with the right color and enough practice, you can get pretty close.
If you’re wary of more long-term brow treatments but are looking for something that will give you natural-looking, yet fuller and neater brows without the need for makeup, eyebrow extensions may be for you. While their short lifespan and price tag might make them impractical for weekly or long-term use, if you’re looking to take your look up a few notches for a special weekend or event, eyebrow extensions can take you from zero to 100 fast.
Shop the Look
Your eyebrow extensions are bold enough to stand on their own, so all you need to complete the look is something simple to hold them in place and keep them hydrated and healthy!
Eyebrow Loss: Clinical Review | National Library of Medicine
Use Cosmetics Safely | Food and Drug Administration
Microblading and the Science Behind It | Indian Dermatology Online Journal