The Ultimate Guide To Cosmetic Brow Tattooing
The rise in popularity of natural full and bushy brows has sparked an increase in the cosmetic tattooing industry, and thanks to modern microblading procedures, you can now achieve more defined brows with fine strokes of pigment delivered via microneedles, that resemble the look of actual hair.
If you are after a full look that is beyond your natural reach, it is so tempting to just get it sorted once and for all (for a couple of years, at least) and avoid a daily brow application.
Social media is full of before and afters with the promise of perfect brows and the terms such as microblading, powder, ombre becoming part of our brow vocab!
Clearly some people have received, or at least are concerned about, bad ink jobs which highlights how important choosing the right cosmetic practitioner is for so many reasons!
So, we have put together some key things that you will want to know before taking the plunge into the getting new inked brows!
Where did it come from?
In the early 80s, cosmetic tattooing was often performed by regular tattoo artists and the colours were often bold and harsh with fuzzy edged lines that became even more hazy over time.
These days trained cosmetic tattoo specialists focus on achieving a subtle more natural looking transformation using techniques such as microblading, microshading and ombre.
Cosmetic tattooing uses a range of soft coloured pigment rather than the ink that is used in body tattoos.
Which technique is right for you?
What is it exactly?
Microblading (feather touch brow tattooing) is a process where hair strokes are created by manually etching pigment into the skin. It's performed by hand with a manual tool and has a softer finish than microshading and ombre.
The strokes create the appearance of fuller, very natural brows and can help enhance shape, depth and structure of the brow.
During the initial consultation, your cosmetic practitioner will discuss your goals and measure up to suit individual needs. “We look at your face as a whole, when designing a plan, the goal is to create a natural look that creates balance and harmony across all areas of the face” says Lisa Sproule, Nurse Practitioner and Cosmetics Injector at Quay Aesthetics & Spa.
Healing time and does it hurt?
Typically, eyebrow tattooing takes between 7 and 10 days to heal. It is good to note that, unlike body tattoo ink, the pigment is applied superficially to create a semi-permanent look that will generally last between 18 months to two years, fading over time.
We suggest the tattoos are maintained every 9-12 months to keep them looking really fresh!
The rate that they fade depends on the individual factors including general health, genetics, sun exposure, whether you use retinoids and hydroxy acids, and how oily your skin is.
Depending on what your pain threshold is like, some people liken the sensation to a tiny prick, others describe it a more discomforting jab or even the pointy end of a pair of tweezers being dragged along the skin. .
Numbing cream will be applied to the eyebrow area, so it should be relatively painless for most people but if you do tend to have a low pain threshold we suggest taking some painkillers an hour before your treatment.
Lisa says that most of her clients “are surprised that it the pain factor is quite minimal and the results are definitely worth it.”
The main risks include allergic reaction, scarring and infection as basically anything that breaks the skin can increase our risk to infection.
However, when you choose you professional cosmetic practitioner it is usually quite a safe procedure, the Australian Health Departments regulations for hygiene and sterilisation procedures for treatments that penetrate the skin penetration.
If you are prone to allergic reactions, it would be worth finding out what type of pigment will be used in advance.
Organic pigments are more likely to cause allergic reaction and fade faster, which synthetic pigments made from iron and zinc oxide having a lower risk of allergy.
As always if you have known allergies you can request a patch test, and it is recommended that you avoiding anti-inflammatory medication (aspirin, ibuprofen) and alcohol during the week leading up to your treatment.
It is also important to note that eyebrow tattooing is not advised while pregnant or breastfeeding, due to infection risks, and the skin is more susceptible to pigment darkening during this time.
What to expect…
When you first get them done the colour is rich and severe, you may even think they look a bit too much!
But don’t worry, this is totally normal and the pigment will fade by between 30-70% in the first week leaving your with a more natural and subtle look.
Eyebrow tattooing requires a minimum of two treatments with the initial consultation being where the most of the work is done and the follow up perfection session doing just as it says.
This must be done between 4 and 6 weeks after the initial service and is the opportunity to refine, fill in any gaps, alter the pigment colour or shape if required.
Who is qualified to perform the procedure?
Cosmetic tattoo practitioners should be qualified and registered for skin penetration with their State or Territory.
Choosing the right cosmetic practitioner is an important decision and you should do your homework when researching tattooists to make sure you really are getting what you pay for.
Lisa graduated from her Masters of Nurse Practitioner Degree at Queensland University of Technology in Queensland 7 years ago, prior to this she was a Registered Nurse with over 30 years experience.
Lisa is passionate about achieving natural looking results for her patients and believes that cosmetic injectables should never be obvious or over the top.
With her innate attention to detail and natural eye for aesthetics, Lisa considers her approach to cosmetics as works of art, her patients being the canvas, each and every one unique and beautiful.
Her aim isn’t to change the way a person looks, it’s to enhance the features and beauty they already have. This minimalist approach is what attracts her loyal client base.