Last fall I did something I thought I’d never do: I got a tattoo on my face. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with visible tattoos – obviously – but for the most part I’d rather keep the artwork confined to places that I can cover if I really need to. But this latest one hardly even counts as a tattoo, since it’s on my eyebrows.
Yup, I’ve been talking about it for a couple years now and I finally did it! I’ve found some really good brow products to deal with my sparse brows along the way (NARS Brow Perfector, Sephora Retractable Brow Pencil & Anastasia Brow Wiz being some of my favorites) but honestly I got tired of the hassle. I don’t really like going out with no brows since I happen to think I look much better with them, but the time it takes to draw them in and get them even really adds up. Luckily I found a great artist locally (shout out to Permanent Cosmetics by Leah!) so I decided to take the plunge. And pictures. Lots of pictures.
My natural brows aren’t quite as disastrous as they could be, but they don’t start until about a half inch in from the inner corner of my eyes. They’re also different heights and shapes. Honestly, there’s not much to brag about, except I do like the color, I guess?
Immediately after 1st session:
Apologies for the bad photo but by the time I got finished I was feeling lazy :-/ The tattoo process was pretty much like most other tattoos I’ve had, except she started off my putting a numbing cream on my eyebrows. The artist drew in the shape she recommended, and from there we tweaked things until we had something I liked. One of my goals was to even them up a bit, so she added volume to the bottom of one brow and to the top of the other. They’re still not perfectly symmetrical, but I didn’t want to go too thick – you can always add more but you can’t really take it off.
Once she started tattooing (and this was a machine process, not microblade) it took maybe 30 minutes or so. It was uncomfortable, but not really what I’d call painful. Obviously there was a lot of redness afterward, which hung around for about a week. For a bit I was actually concerned that the ink color was too warm, but once the redness in my skin died down it looked closer to may actual hair color. I’ve always been warned that they’ll look super dark at first, but I guess since my brows are black anyway (and I normally use a dark brown pencil on them) it wasn’t that noticeable. In fact, the next day my friends claimed they couldn’t even tell.
For aftercare I did pretty much the same routine I always do – I used my regular moisturizer and kept my brows covered in a thin layer of Aquaphor for a few days. They did itch like crazy starting on about day 3 or 4, and flaked a bit, but nothing too crazy.
Healed after first session:
One main difference between this and a regular tattoo was that instead of getting it basically complete in one session, she went a little bit lighter. Once it healed, the front part that’s naturally bald wasn’t as dark as the rest of my hair, and the color pulled out in a couple small spots. But that’s why there are two sessions!
After 2nd session:
The second session happened about a month later. It was pretty much the same as the first. It didn’t take quite as long since the shape was already defined, and I didn’t have nearly as much redness. It looked pretty normal, in fact.
Once my brows healed completely, this is how they look! The hairstrokes are softer and a smidge lighter than my hair since I didn’t want my brows to look too ‘done’. I do still add a bit of brow powder over them when I do a full face – partly to make them look more defined (I feel like my face looks naked now, without my glasses), but mostly because I always end up getting foundation all over the inside sections.
After the healing period, there’s not really a lot of upkeep. I do put sunscreen over my brows now to keep them from fading too much, and I try to avoid getting any tretinoin on them when I do my evening skincare. Basically doing everything I can to avoid fading them. Since the lines are very fine and in a place that’s always exposed to sunlight, I expect to need a touchup with a year or two anyway though.
Bottom line, am I glad I did it? YES! I love the fact that I don’t have to have the internal debate about whether to do my brows every time I leave the house, and even when I add product it’s super fast because the shape is already there to follow. I don’t really do #IWokeUpLikeThis selfies, but it’s nice to know if I did, it would look like me!
Have you ever done permanent cosmetics? Any regrets, or do you love it as much as I love mine?