UPDATE March 2016: Well. Months and months after having this done I can finally say it’s completely faded around a year later. It lasted far, far longer than I thought and I’m so impressed. Although the treatment isn’t offered any more, have a read to see how she works, and to get an idea of how professional and pleased I was with Geraldine.
Rewind back to 2009. I’m in Thailand. Krabi, to be precise. I’d just kicked the boys’ butts by snipering a pretend man at a long distance shooting range on my first try, something they had all failed to do. I was proud. Feminism was winning. I was winning. Once the session was over, I hopped on the back of a motorbike, foolishly leaving my helmet hanging over my arm, not securely fastened to my head, with the wind in my hair and bare skin catching the sun’s warm rays. But wet roads and a rickety bike was only going to go one way, wasn’t it.
I woke up on a Thai travel agent’s sofa covered in blood, with a broken head, broken arm, and missing a tooth. To say I looked a treat was an understatement. A few hours later, and after having the left side of my body cauterised and stitched back up by the most talented of Thai surgeons, the only real long-term issue was going to be a three inch scar under my hairline, a false tooth and a chunk of missing eyebrow. I got lucky.
Ever since that motorbike accident, I’ve been forced to pencil in my eyebrows. It’s a chore I’m sure many of you share. Whether it’s through poor diet, over-plucking (hey, pencil-thin eyebrows were what the 90s was all about) or other causes of hair loss, misshapen and wonky eyebrows will befall us all at some point in our lives. Some ladies are lucky, and the hair will grow back. For others, like me, those once-treasured follicles will never return.
Generally, there are only two ways to perfect those peepers; pencilling in your desired brow shape (great until you decide to go swimming) or getting your eyebrows tattooed. One option is very temporary, the other can be scarily permanent.
Thankfully, Karen Betts, make up artist to the stars and now permanent make up consultant to the Katie Piper Foundation, has a solution to our eyebrow woes. It’s called Brow Blush, and is a temporary way to see how permanent eyebrows will look, without being stuck with them for years down the line. For around 4-5 weeks, you can have awesome arches before deciding whether the 365 day option is worth a punt. After describing my accident and tattooing fears, I was invited along to give it a go. The results were something else.
I popped over to Karen’s Harley St clinic, handily located a short jaunt away from Oxford Circus tube. My brows were to be placed in Geraldine’s hands, a softly-spoken South African Elite permanent make up pro with 11 years’ experience. She could tell I was nervous from the off, so took extra time to explain the process (no, we don’t shave off your eyebrows, yes, we do use anaesthetic, no, you won’t be given a Scouse brow) and settled in at reception.
I’d pencilled in my arches as usual, which gave Geraldine an idea of the style I liked. She then applied a numbing cream and left me for half an hour while it took effect.
Once my time was up I was shown into the suite. It’s a beautiful room, with high ceilings, while walls and a bed with lamp in the middle. It looked clean and sterile, which is always nice when hundreds of tiny holes are going to be pricked into your face. She removed all traces of pencil to see what they really looked like. The scar had changed the shape of the arch, so using a ruler, she pencilled in a new defined brow, plucked away the odd hair for shape (as it lasts four weeks, she’s careful never to remove too much so it leaves bald patches when it fades) and checked to see if I was happy. Any changes can be made to the template, but with someone as experienced as Geraldine, she nailed it on the first attempt.
I was then asked to lie down on the bed while she colour-matched the ink to my natural hairs. She again checked all was ok, showed me the needles were sealed and sterile and started the process.
As my eyebrows were numbed, I actually didn’t feel any pain, more the vibration of the needle. My eyes didn’t water, and I didn’t sneeze (which happens sometimes apparently). Shocking really, as it’s a sensitive area. Each individual lash line was tattooed on so as to make it look as natural as possible. Once one was done, more numbing cream was added while she set to work on the other. Then each brow was tattooed over once more and that’s it!
The entire process took about an hour, although if you’re nervous like me Geraldine will happy spend a bit more time calming your nerves.
I looked in the mirror straight after and was so surprised. Even though the dye used was slightly darker it looked ridiculously natural. Where I used to have pencilled in shapeless brows, they’d been replaced with delicate arches framing my face and giving me, in my opinion, a whole new look. There was minimal redness, but nothing shocking at all. I happily went out that evening without looking like I’d just had a face tattoo.
I was handed a little pot of aftercare balm and told to use it about four times until the evening. After that, the only real aftercare is to keep hands/make up/lotions/cleansers off for a week to prevent infection. Geraldine said it’s best not to use any exfoliatiors on them as this will reduce the length of coverage.
Even if after this you opted not to give permanent brows a go, this is a great way to get a good template for when you get those pencils out from the bottom of your make up bag. As for me, permanent is the way to go. I’ll be booking in later in the year
Sadly, the Brow Blush treatment isn’t on the menu any longer. But Geraldine Viljoen is an Elite Artist with over a decade of experience in permanent cosmetics. I’d happily recommend her to my mum and sister, and will definitely use her for my permanent treatment, which is being booked for Spring 2016.
I’ll update you all on twitter with progress as I near the four week mark. I just know once they begin to fade I’ll be itching to get them done again.
Oh, and here’s the squeamish bit:
|1. Me, sniping. 2-4. Me, literally thirty seconds later. Note the missing eyebrow, alien-head style bump and zombie-blood eye.|