I’ve been well aware from the start that my eyebrows are not symmetrical, and to combat this I usually just fill them in and redraw the shape in areas I need to tweak, as I’m sure many of you do. Also, the gods have graciously blessed me with super thin hair (yay!). Because of this, my eyebrows are also super fine, and this caused them to look patchy and sparse, when really I had a good amount of hair there, but they were too fine to make my brows look full. It seemed I was destined to wake up every morning and use various brow products to perfect my eyebrows and create those masterpiece arches. I became good at doing them, but naturally this took a good chunk out of my morning routine.
So when I had the option to get my eyebrows tattooed I thought, why the hell not? I’m always up for trying new things and if it can cut down my morning routine by 10 minutes every morning, as well as give me that perfectly symmetrical and dense shape I’ve always wanted, then it’s a no brainer!
There are various forms of brow tattoo procedures, but I went with the feather brow tattoo, also called feather touch tattoo or microblading. They are a semi-permanent solution to your brow woes and are especially convenient for those like me who fear commitment. The tattoo will last anytime between 12 months to 2 years, depending on the person. Essentially, the procedure introduces hundreds of tiny super precise strokes of an iron-oxide based pigment into your skin that are aimed to mimic the natural look and direction of hair growth. Iron- oxides are an inert compound, innocuous and non-reactive: meaning they are safe, stable, and harmless. The tattoo penetrates only to the epidermis, the first layer of the skin, and by doing this it creates a semi permanent brow that actually looks like your natural brow – only better – but without the lifetime commitment should you wish you change the colour or shape of your brows later down the track. Your natural skin cell turnover cycle will eventually eliminate the pigment.
I got my brows done at Exotic Beauty and Brows in Adelaide. You can find them on Facebook here as well as Instagram here. This modern, in-home salon is run by two gorgeous women Liz and Jess. They have extensive experience in the beauty industry, especially in feather brow tattooing. They were super professional and hygienic from the moment I walked in, and made me feel really comfortable when I was totally shaking in my boots.
Briefing & Colour Matching
From the start I was given a whole run down of the procedure by the girls, including how it was performed and what it involved, making sure I was perfectly aware of what I was signing up to. They exuded their wealth of knowledge about the procedure and asked me specific questions about my skin type and what medications I was on (if any) as these factors can affect how the tattoo holds in the skin. They advised me that the effects of the brow tattoo are mostly dependent on the person getting the treatment, and that it works differently for everyone. Some people can hold the pigment really well with minimal fading, whereas other people may have skin that can ‘push’ out the pigment and it may fade really quickly. Oily skin people like myself are more prone to excessive fading *sigh*
During this time, Jess matched a pigment to my natural brow colour, making sure it also matched my hair colour. In the end, I was given two choices, and I went with the lighter shade which was called ‘Dark Toffee’. A numbing cream was applied to my eyebrows to de-sensitise them to the tattooing so that the procedure wouldn’t be as painful.
Next up is perhaps the most important and the longest, yet the most exciting part of the procedure, because this is where your brows for at least the next 12 months are designed!
Enter Jess, the resident brow designer complete with all the tools of the trade. Liz and Jess make the perfect team, Jess will draw the perfected brows on your face, and once you are happy with your shape, Liz is the technician that performs the tattooing. Jess was really precise with her brow design. She used the 3 basic rules of brow shaping to first sketch out the foundations of the brow shape.
This step is really important as it creates the brow shape that works best for your face shape. She then whipped out all these instruments that measured each brow to make sure they were perfectly even and symmetrical. Meanwhile, Liz is overlooking the design procedure to confirm the brow design.
Once they finished the first round of drawing my eyebrows, I looked in the mirror and had the chance to make any changes to the shape, width or length of my brows to suit my own desires. There are a few iterations of this cycle to get to the final design. The good thing is, is that they provide you with the foundation of your shape but you have the final decision on what you want your brows to look like.
Now that the final brow design is drawn, I was layed down on the salon bed while Liz tattooed my brows in. The instrument is like a pen that has a sterile head attached to the end. This head is single use only so you know you are not getting a needle that was previously punched into someone else’s skin. One thing I do feel the need to comment on is the hygiene of the salon. All the necessary precautions were taken to ensure the procedure was as sterile as possible, including the use of hair nets, face masks, gowns and gloves. The tattoo head has several tiny needles protruding, and this is what gently scrapes the skin open for the pigment to sink in. Those needles are the ones that create the tiny hair strokes in your brows for that natural, hair-like look.
After the first round of feathering, a colour wash was applied to my brows to ensure the colour sunk right in. I was then sat up and the girls examined the first round of feathering to assess what areas need further tattooing, and what needs to be more defined.
After Round One
At this stage I also got to take a peek at my brows and decide whether I wanted anything changed. Another anaesthetic was applied to my brows at this stage as well. This one was stronger than the first numbing cream and could only be applied once the skin was broken for effectiveness. This is used to ensure my comfort however, the anaesthetic didn’t work well on me and I felt everything! Although I wanted to flinch one or two times, the pain wasn’t bad and I made sure that I kept very still, as Liz said that any sudden movements could cause injury to myself or draw strokes where I wouldn’t want them.
This cycle of feathering, colour washing, and re-drawing of the brows is performed a few times over to ensure that I was happy with each step of the feathering. During this cycle I noticed the girls were so precise with every stroke and were very meticulous in their approach to give me the perfect brows. The whole tattooing process probably took about 30 minutes in total.
Aftercare and Follow-up Appointment
Immediately after the tattooing procedure, the brows were quite dark and the tiny hair strokes were harder to see. My skin became really red around the brow area, but I have friction skin allergy so I kind of expected this. Most people don’t go so red but I guess I’m just unlucky. The feather tattoos can fade up to 40-70% during the healing process. All feather brow procedures must heal, peel and fade and this process can take up to 10 days to complete. Itching and flaking will appear in the first 7 days after treatment, and I am on day 4 today but have experienced no flaking and just a small amount of itching. It’s important at this stage that I don’t pick at any scabbing or scratch my eyebrows as this can ‘pick’ off the pigment from my skin and not to mention could cause scarring. I have to apply a thin layer of Bepanthen 3 times a day to make sure the area stays clear of infection. I also have to refrain from a few activities to ensure my healing process is near perfect. I can’t swim, exercise or participate in any strenuous activity, I can’t wear makeup on my eyebrows which I don’t need to do anyway now, and I cannot cleanse my face as I usually would. Instead I use a cotton pad with cleanser to wash my face.
Because of the healing cycle, it is necessary to have a follow up appointment 6 weeks after my initial treatment so that the girls can assess how my skin has taken to the pigment. This touch up session or ‘perfection session’ as the girls like to call it, is pretty much the same procedure as the first round of tattooing, but it allows them to go over my brows for the final look. For example, if it fades dramatically or lightens too much, they can darken the brows, or if there are areas I feel like I want to tweak, it will also give the girls a chance to do this so that I am 100% satisfied with the final brow shape. After my first treatment, I can already notice a slight difference in the shape of the front of my brows and I would like to get this corrected at my perfection session. I am also considering changing the colour to a darker, ashy pigment as this pigment I currently have may be too warm for my natural hair colour but I can’t really assess this until the healing and fading has completed.
Before and After
Feather brow tattoos can cost a lot of money, but are relatively cheap compared to some of the other brow tattoo methods such as the powder-fill method (more of a block tattoo). This treatment is valued at $350 which may seem like a lot of money but for the effects I think it’s worth it. Also, I have seen other salons charge up to $1000 for their feather brow treatments so I think this is a good deal for the service I received. The follow-up appointment is also included in the treatment price so there are no further charges.
I’m super happy I took the plunge to get a feather brow tattoo, so far I am loving the experience and I loved the treatment I received from Liz and Jess at ‘Exotic Brows and Beauty’.
Because it takes a while to see the final result, I’ll be making another post in about 6 weeks to show the progress of my tattoo and discuss the follow-up appointment. Stay tuned! Also, if you end up deciding to get the feather brow treatment from Liz and Jess, please let both them and myself know that you read my post. I’d love to hear about your experience!