If I knew then what I know now, I’d tell my teenager self “don’t over pluck your brows”. My oh so cool ultra thin brows in the early 90’s not quite so cool when I wanted to grow them and they wouldn’t grow back.
About 10 years ago, my beautician at the time said do not touch your brows and we will try and get them into some kind of shape. From that day, I’ve had them waxed and tinted and only plucked an odd white one out. Leaving them to the care of experts.
At the grand old age of 42 I discovered make up. Having watched YouTube videos, having the perfect brow was the start of any make up routine. My dressing table is now cluttered with various brow products which I have tried. Slowly getting more confident and liking how a fuller brow framed my face.
I had toyed with the idea of permanent makeup, my current beautician has had it done and I’d always admire them . I was scared of having it go wrong and being on my face F O R E V E R. But then my friend Amy got her brows filled in and she looked incredible. So I asked where she went, she said Alysia Parkin I checked her out and booked an appointment with her immediately.
The first thing Alysia explained to me is that permanent makeup isn’t actually permanent. Rather than using ink like in regular tattoos, permanent makeup uses thicker, less concentrated pigments. This pigment fades over time, so if you commit to permanent makeup, you need to go back every three years for a touch up. If you decide you don’t want permanent makeup anymore, it will just keep fading, eventually becoming barely visible. It is really important to use good quality inks, as cheaper ones can turn ginger.
At my consultation, Alysia drew eyebrows on my face with regular makeup until we agreed on a shape. She drew something much more arched and bigger than I normally drew on myself, explaining that an arch is a better shape to have as you age, since it keeps your eyes looking big and open. We went back and forth on the look, she never pressured me into anything; when I told her I needed it less bold, she redid it, explaining all the time. It looked weird to me having such a full brow staring back at me. Then the colour was decided.
There are two main methods of permanent eyebrow makeup: micropigmentation (typically done with a machine) and microblading (applied with a hand tool and ideal for creating light, wispy hair strokes). Both result in eyebrows that look like eyebrows, because it’s not a big slash of color; your artist will draw on individual hairs.
If you have a regular tattoo, it feels pretty similar: It’s not the most painful thing in the world, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it was licked on by kittens, to quote Rachel Green from the series Friends. It feels like what it is: Someone dragging a needle across your skin. Alysia explained what she was doing each step of the way, so I was never surprised by a feeling or touch.
The whole process took about 2 hours, but it felt like it went by really quickly.
I went to look in the mirror to inspect my new brows and burst into a huge smile at how amazing my brows looked. It looked as if I’d had a face lift. Within a few minutes, I could barely remember what my old shape had looked like, because this one just looked so right on my face.
The hardest part of getting permanent makeup turned out to be the healing. Over the course of the next week, the top layer of skin turned itchy, scabbed, and then flaked off — for the first couple of days I had to bathe the area with a cotton wool pad soaked in cooled boiled water. Then twice a day apply some oil with a cotton bud. All I wanted to do was scratch or pick my face. Picking off the scabbing can lead to uneven healing, a mantra I repeated in my head countless times a day.
You’re only half done once you’ve healed from that initial procedure. Four weeks later, your artist will have you come back for a touch-up. You can’t skip this, as she’ll use the time to fill in any areas that healed unevenly and adjust the color if you don’t love how it healed. In my case, Alysia took my brows a bit darker and bigger. She said I’d come back and ask for this. After that, you get another week of oh-my-god-just-let-me-pick-my-face, but then you’re really done! (Well, until you need a touch-up in a few years.) The only regular care you need to give them is moisturizing.
I lost count of how many compliments my brows have got, from both people who knew what I’d done and people who didn’t. People saying there is something different about you but not knowing exactly what. I can also just live my life now. When I have an itch on my face, I can scratch it and not worry that I’m wiping off half a brow. When I go running or to HIIT class, I can wipe my face freely and know I’ll leave class looking like a (red-faced) human.
I’m so glad that I’ve finally had this done. Completely love my brows. Thank you Alysia.