brow busi­ness

Drop that arched brow. Skep­tics, be­lieve: Mi­crob­lad­ing is the best thing that has hap­pened to eye­brows since Cara Dele­vi­gnge.

Preview (Philippines) - - Beauty Feature - BY JAE DE VEYRA PICK­RELL

I wouldn’t consider my­self as a typ­i­cal beauty girl, but I do have a very pre­cious re­la­tion­ship with my eye­brows, hav­ing dis­cov­ered early on that shap­ing them im­me­di­ately gives my face a cer­tain feel, a cer­tain at­ti­tude. For as long as I can re­mem­ber, I’ve tended to their nat­u­rally sparse ex­is­tence ev­ery morn­ing, will­ing them to grow thicker and look more vis­i­ble on their own, oth­er­wise with the help of a bat­tery of brow prod­ucts through the years.

While scrolling through In­sta­gram a few months ago, an un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously cropped photo of well-groomed, well-combed brows stopped me dead in my tracks. It was a spon­sored post about mi­crob­lad­ing, ap­par­ently the big­gest thing that has hap­pened to eye­brows since Cara Dele­vi­gnge’s bushi­ness put ours to shame in 2011. I have no clue how In­sta­gram tapped into my deep­est, dark­est de­sire for full arches since #eye­brows had never been in my In­sta his­tory, but that mo­ment proved IG’S creepy bril­liance at tar­geted mar­ket­ing, and one that had me googling un­til I was con­vinced enough to let some­one take a sharp blade near my eyes.

Mi­crob­lad­ing is as­so­ci­ated with the less sci­en­tific-sound­ing, more deco­rous phrase “eye­brow em­broi­dery,” but don’t con­fuse it with the scrag­gly, Sharpie-es­que eye­brow tat­toos of yore. Though mi­crob­lad­ing is es­sen­tially sim­i­lar to an eye­brow tat­too in that pig­ments are de­posited into in­ci­sions on the sur­face of the skin, where it dif­fers is in its verisimil­i­tude. While eye­brow tat­toos tend to be opaque, arched frag­ments that of­ten turn a weird tinge of blue over time, mi­crob­lad­ing mim­ics ac­tual hair—their di­rec­tion, growth, color and thick­ness—re­sult­ing in “tat­toos” that look as feath­ery as the real thing.

Given that artis­tic tech­nique is clearly of ut­most im­por­tance, I chose Mo­moi Supe of Strokes for his mi­crob­lad­ing ex­per­tise (starts at P14,000, Green­belt 1; cel. no. 0916 774 9497), and not least be­cause of his back­ground in makeup artistry and in­te­rior de­sign (the cos­metic un­der­stand­ing of faces is an ob­vi­ous win­ning fac­tor for any mi­crob­lad­ing artist, but an ed­u­ca­tional com­pre­hen­sion of pro­por­tions is a huge bonus as well). Mo­moi has been prac­tic­ing mi­crob­lad­ing since Novem­ber 2015 and has trav­eled ex­ten­sively and trained with ex­perts from Russia, Ger­many, Is­rael and Sin­ga­pore.

Be­fore go­ing un­der Mo­moi’s blade, I con­sulted with Sean Clores of Strokes, who’s in charge of shap­ing clients’ arches. This con­sul­ta­tion is the most im­por­tant part of the mi­crob­lad­ing process that you can ac­tively be a part of: While Sean will mea­sure your face and map out your ideal brows ac­cord­ing to the phi ra­tio, it’s ul­ti­mately up to you to de­cide how you want your eye­brows to look like. I was very spe­cific with mine, com­ing in with my brows drawn so they could see how I usu­ally do it.

Once we set­tled on the shape and place­ment, a strong top­i­cal anes­thetic was ap­plied to the area, and while wait­ing for it to take ef­fect, I dozed off on a La-z-boy in the ad­ja­cent room while an­other aes­thet­i­can gave me the Yumi Lash Lift (de­tails at left). Af­ter wak­ing up with glo­ri­ously curled lashes, un­der Mo­moi’s hands I went.

Is mi­crob­lad­ing painful, you ask? More weird, I’d con­fess—i could feel the blade carv­ing its way into my der­mis with an icky scrap­ing sound, but there was no pain what­so­ever, just an over­all un­set­tling sen­sa­tion, amped up by know­ing what Mo­moi was do­ing to my face. I could feel ev­ery stroke, but Mo­moi made me feel at ease by chat­ting me up the whole time, and it was to­tally fine for me to move my face and re­ply since the brow blueprint was al­ready drawn right there on my face.

Mo­moi fin­ished the first batch of in­ci­sions, pig­ment was de­posited (I brought my fave eye­brow pen­cil so they could ap­prox­i­mate the shade), then a sec­ond go was done. Af­ter a few rubs here and there to ab­sorb ex­cess pig­ment, I was done. I tried to quell all blar­ing thoughts of dis­as­ter as I sat up and inched my way to the selfie-lighted mir­ror— can you feel the an­tic­i­pa­tion?!—and when I saw my­self, I just went, “Oh. My. God.” Not only did I look like I had sprouted per­fectly grown strands on my brow bones, the area also wasn’t red or in­flamed con­sid­er­ing what it just went through. I felt so good, I didn’t hes­i­tate to go out for drinks right af­ter! The top­i­cal anes­the­sia did wear off af­ter about an hour, and I had to tell peo­ple not to make me laugh be­cause I didn’t wanna lift my brows as they felt ten­der and sore. But that was it for the pain—to­tally neg­li­gi­ble.

Af­ter­care con­sisted of the Sof­tap Re­cov­er­all Oint­ment, which sealed in the pig­ment, and mois­tur­ized and healed my skin. I ap­plied it nu­mer­ous times daily dur­ing a strict seven-day pe­riod, when I was also for­bid­den to wet my arches, per­spire too much, or pick at any scabs that in­evitably formed on the area. I did the af­ter­care rit­ual with the same re­li­gious fervor I did draw­ing in my brows, and weeks later, I still get sur­prised when­ever I catch my per­fectly arched self in the mir­ror first thing in the morn­ing. I made a cer­e­mony out of putting my brow prod­ucts away, which I hope not to use again in the next year or two when my new brows could last with proper care.

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