Permanent make-up, particularly for brows, has become far more mainstream, with A-listers including Madonna, Angelina Jolie and Gwen Stefani known to be fans, yet the thought of effectively tattooing one’s face is daunting for most until you realise just how many people are doing it. Good semi- permanent make-up looks natural. As the procedure has developed, so too have the materials used, and techniques have advanced to a point where the results can be seamless. The number of trained technicians who deal with such procedures has increased immensely in the last couple of years, and as women’s lives become busier, there’s little to wonder. According to international statistics, in their lifetime women spend one year and three months of their lives applying make-up! Removing the need for shaping and filling in brows is a time-saver. After all who doesn’t want more minutes in the day?
Search for the perfect new brows
Don’t think of semi-permanent make-up as a way to buy the brows you’ve always wanted. You may have your eye on Cara Delevingne’s or Sadaf Kanwal’s full statement brows, but unless you have that template naturally, having them tattooed over your originals will look fake. Opt for a more natural-classic shape that’s slightly angled to perfectly frame your face. Follow a beauty icon with great brows to match who is working with the brow shape she already had. This will give you a good example to model after. It is also a bad idea to follow trends, as cosmetic styles change. Do not adopt a trendy look that could look dated in five or 10 years’ time. Similarly, we all love thick brows right now, but experts wouldn’t suggest getting this shape tattooed as it’s a very thick heavy brow and in a few years to come, as fashion changes, so will our taste in brow shape. Always stick to a classic brow shape in line with your own, which will be timeless.
Take the plunge
Once you have decided on the new look and picked the right technician, it’s time for the procedure. Following a consultation where the desired results are discussed at length, the brow area is numbed with mild anaesthetic cream to ensure you feel more comfortable. The technician then draws on the brow lines and you approve them before the needle is finally applied. It can feel a little sensitive in parts, but the predominant sensation is a mild buzz. Some people even fall asleep during the procedure, which takes around 60 minutes. Then you see the initial result.
Tip: Don’t freak out on how dark brows look at first. They will look noticeably darker than the shade they will become as the area is temporarily scarred. It takes around one to two weeks for them to fully heal.
For 72 hours following application, you may experience flaking skin, swelling, redness, tenderness, dryness and itchiness in the treated area. In this time it’s essential that you do not pick, peel or scratch the skin as this could cause scarring, infection and uneven pigmentation. Apply Vaseline as a protective cover and do not expose the healing skin to direct sunlight, tanning beds, Jacuzzis, saunas, salt water, chlorinated pools, direct shower spray, hot water, or any other skin creams or ointments.
After four weeks, you return to your technician to have a top-up treatment to even out the colour and fill in areas where the pigment hasn’t taken. Another healing phase follows and your new brows should be ready for their close-up just a few weeks later. Following that, top-up treatments are required every 12-18 months to maintain your new look. There’s just one other thing to do now: throw away your brow pencils! Ladies who have tried and tested the procedure have been thrilled to see the final results in around three months’ time, and are definitely saving considerable time their make-up routines!
An expert brow technician explains how to avoid the pitfalls of semi-permanent make-up. Read on:
· Any treatment in which a needle is used has potential risks. It is important to make sure your semi-permanent make-up is being applied in a sterile environment; check that the needles in your treatment are new and sealed in their packaging before use.
· Though rare, the pigments used can cause an allergic reaction. Make sure the therapist is using pigments containing iron oxide (rather than regular tattooing pigments) as this has been shown to be the safest pigment.
· Applying semi-permanent make-up requires a great deal of skill and knowledge of the materials used. If the wrong pigment is used, eyebrows can come out the wrong colour, sometimes even red or blue! Lines can also be put in the wrong place. Make sure you go to a reputable technician with training, experience, certificates and licensing, and ask to see examples of their work before committing.
· Make sure the salon or clinic has a licensing permit to carry out semi-permanent make-up, which shows the premises have been inspected and that the permanent make-up artists’ paperwork, training and methods of practice have also been checked and approved.
· Beware of discount deals at first glance, these offers may seem attractive, but the price should affect the quality of a technician’s training equipment and skill.
· Sun exposure will cause semi-permanent cosmetics to fade, sometimes giving them a reddish tone. To avoid this, always wear creams with a high SPF.
· If you’re planning to have a chemical peel, MRI scan or other medical procedure involving your face, inform your doctor about your semi-permanent cosmetics in case of complications.
· The biggest and most common risk in any cosmetic procedure is being disappointed by the results. Your technician will draw on the brow line before proceeding with the pigment. Only go through with it if you’re 100 per cent happy with the look.
· In the weeks beforehand, if you don’t already wear brow pencil, start applying some in the style you want to get used to the heavier, fuller look. Do you like it morning, noon and night? If you think it looks ridiculous for going to the pool in, you’ll probably feel the same about the semi-permanent brows that you can’t wash off.