beauty

I got my eyebrows tattooed on – here's what happened

By Sangeeta Kocharekar July 1, 2017
EYEBROW FEATHERING

It changed my face. Literally.

I’ve always had eyebrows issues. Up until a few years ago, I felt cursed to be born with big, bushy brows, and was constantly attempting to whittle them down to what I felt was appropriate for my face. Key word here is attempting.

I shaved them. I over-tweezed them. I bleached them. In short, I could not keep my grubby mitts off them. Now, all I can say is thank god for Facebook's untagging feature.

However, my view on eyebrows changed a few years ago when celebrities the likes of Cara Delevingne hit the mainstream, rocking a pair of au natural brows. These days, with big brows everywhere, it's hard to believe that Cara's made a bold statement, but trust me when I say they did.

CARA DELEVINGE

Girls like me who'd emerged from the 90s with over-plucked patches and a scar from a razor nick where hair now stubbornly refused to grow (just me?), were left scrambling to adapt. I let my brows grow out, instructed waxers to only "tidy" up my natural shape, and filled them in on my own every day with pencils. And for a couple years, that seemed to work. 

But living beachside and being low-maintenance (read: lazy), I found myself rocking my patchy eyebrows more often than not. I'd vaguely heard of eyebrow feathering, also called micro-blading or cosmetic tattooing, through friends, and began to consider it. As I'm all for investing in one-off treatments that will save me time and money for years to come, I decided to go ahead with try it out.

See? It wasn't just me. 

My first attempt at feathering was through a bargain deal purchased on Groupon. Sneakily, the beautician only told me at the appointment that I'd most definitely need a second session for the results to last, and that the second would need to be paid full price. I didn't go ahead with the second one and, as predicted, the tattooed brows from the first session quickly faded. 

Then recently, a year later, I had the opportunity to try again. This time, it was with someone who I'd later discover to one of the best in the city: Ursula at Feather Brow Couture in Sydney's Botany suburb. I jumped at the chance.

The experience was strikingly different to my first. The salon was beautifully-lit and beautifully-decorated. Ursula greeted me with brownies and a glass of champagne, and then proceeded to spend the next couple hours getting everything painstakingly perfect ahead of the actual feathering. She chatted to me about what type of brows I was after, groomed them to a tee, and took loads of 'before' brow pics. 

Next, she applied the numbing cream for 45 minutes, giving me a lash lift in the meantime – which two months later, is still going strong. Then came the actual feathering. I didn't feel a thing as Ursula used a thin razor-like item to create a tiny slice in my brow and fill it with semi-permanent ink. I left with a tattoo after-care cream and strict instructions to keep the brows coated in it for 10 days. At night, I was to apply a thick layer and then cover with plastic wrap. 

While my brows were darker and more defined than I'd have liked as I walked out the door, I knew from the last experience this was only temporary as the ink colour fades and turns a few shades lighter when finally exposed to water. This faded colour will be the one that'll stay.

Also, they were far more natural-looking in this ink-setting phase than the first time I'd gotten them done so 10 days of slightly-too-dark brows were bearable. Sleeping with the plastic wrap – I put a sleeping mask over it to keep it in place – and having to avoid water coming into my brows in the shower was probably the hardest part.

Here I am with my 'before' patchiness and straight 'after' the tattooing and lash lift.  

Going back for my second session – the recommended 30 days later – Ursula said my skin had kept most of the ink, apart from two little patches in my arches. She advised me to be super vigilant this second time around with the aftercare cream, ensuring I was using enough to really rub into the whole eyebrow.

Now, I'm 10 days out from my second session and I feel like my new brows have changed my face entirely. Without a scrap of makeup on, I look 'put-together'. I've even had friends message me complimenting me on my 'perfect' brows. Naturally, they wanted to know everytihng about the process. Here's what I told them.

Should you go to the first appointment with coiffed brows?

No. I'd originally thought I should get them waxed beforehand to show Ursula the shape I wanted, but, luckily, decided to go with them untamed. This gave Ursula a better idea of the brows' natural shape and allowed her more flexibility in the shape.

Does the feathering hurt?

Not at all. Ursula was careful to leave the numbing cream on long enough for the intial feathering, and then again, when she went over the area again. All the while, she asked me if I could feel anything.

How long does it last? 

The ink is semi-permanent so three to four years. Ursula explained that you wouldn't ever want the ink to be permanent because the face is always changing and as you age, your eyebrows naturally drop. The length of the results also depends on your skin type – some hold ink better than others.

Realistically, how many treatments do you need?

Definitely the two at least. Don't make the mistake like I did and buy a one-session treatment at a discount price – always opt for a package. If you're spending hundreds on the first session, why not shell out a bit more to double the length of the results? Ursula's all-inclusive feathering package includes the grooming consultation and three sessions.