We Need to Talk about … Mi­crob­lad­ing The art of eye­brow tat­too­ing

The new way to get beau­ti­ful eye­brows is by hav­ing them tat­tooed. Michelle Hather finds out what it’s all about…

Good Housekeeping (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

My eye­brows and I have had a com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ship. For most of my life I’ve gone au na­turel. Left to their own de­vices, my brows are wildly asym­met­ri­cal, the right one be­gin­ning a good cen­time­tre later than its twin, the left as straight as an ar­row and re­fus­ing to arch. And then there were the breast-can­cer years, when they clung on for dear life against the ef­fects of chemo. By the end of my treat­ment they were patchy, grey­ing and a lit­tle bit … sad.

I took my­self off to a Bobbi Brown tu­to­rial, in which I learnt the art of thick­en­ing with a gel, dark­en­ing with a shadow and shap­ing with a wand. The ef­fect was quite eye­open­ing. Hav­ing groomed and darker brows made me look ready for the day and, dare I say it, younger? But soon the process be­came a chore. What I re­ally needed was per­fectly groomed brows 24 hours a day.

That’s when I learnt about mi­crob­lad­ing, a semiper­ma­nent tat­too. It’s also known as eye­brow em­broi­dery – a lit­tle alarm­ing – but, as it turns out, it’s an apt de­scrip­tion. I was warned the pro­ce­dure was a) lengthy b) painful and c) scary. But, they as­sured me, the re­sults were bril­liant. I de­cided to be brave. Karen Betts is a brow ex­pert who has taught mi­crob­lad­ing to thou­sands of stu­dents. When I meet her, she tells me that Google searches for mi­crob­lad­ing have sky­rock­eted since the start of the year. Any­one can ben­e­fit, even women with­out any eye­brows due to chemo, over­pluck­ing or alope­cia. Many of her clients are go­ing through menopause and hate what the hor­monal changes have done to their eye­brows. She also treats men.

A week be­fore my ap­point­ment, she sends me a patch test to check for al­ler­gies and, re­ac­tion-free, I head for my ap­point­ment. Karen takes many pho­tographs and asks me what I’m hop­ing for. Nat­u­ral, I say, but nat­u­ral like I was 30 years ago. Is it pos­si­ble? She takes a pen­cil and draws her shape like an artist. Next, she mixes her colours, sev­eral shades of my own brown hair. I lie down and steel my­self for the pain, but, hon­estly, it’s not too bad. Karen uses a clus­ter of fine nee­dles to cre­ate her strokes. It feels like I’m be­ing scratched with a pin. As she works, she sweeps on pig­ment plus a numb­ing agent that takes away most of ‘the ouch’.

An hour later, I’m look­ing at my new arches – and I love them. Even at this raw stage, with a touch of red­ness and a slight stain of the pig­ment, they are a rev­e­la­tion. My eyes seem lifted, my face is brighter. Once I’ve had a top-up in a month or so, and they set­tle down, I’m told they will look per­fectly nat­u­ral.

Postscript: and they do! I ac­tu­ally have to con­vince peo­ple my brows aren’t real. So would I rec­om­mend mi­crob­lad­ing? Well, it’s pricey (about R2 500), but the an­swer is def­i­nitely yes.

BE­FORE AFTER

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