Make It Permanent
Removable make-up is so last season!
What’s your morning routine like? If you’re one of those people who can just get up, run a brush through your hair and leave the house, then that’s brilliant.
But for most of us, it takes a little more time to get ready in the morning–and for many, applying make-up is a time-consuming chore we could do without.
Permanent and semi-permanent make-up has been around for a while, but it’s getting better all the time, and these days the results are outstanding when it’s done well.
If you’re unsure what it involves, or how it works, then wonder no more. We have the low-down on all the latest techniques – and our Editor very kindly put herself under the microblade to give you a real-life report of eyebrow make-up. The sacrifices we make!
It used to be so simple – you’d pluck your eyebrows with tweezers to the shape you wanted, and that was it! These days, the options are seemingly endless.
Of course there are techniques, such as threading and waxing, which are both more or less the same thing as tweezing, but with a more professional finish. HD brows are one step up from that, and the process involves having your eyebrows shaped and tinted. They last longer too, around 5-6 weeks.
But there are many ways now to get a more permanent solution, which means your eyebrows hold their shape for anywhere up to two years.
It can be done purely for cosmetic reasons, but it’s also a great solution for women undergoing chemotherapy.
‘When women lose their hair, it’s tough – it can make them feel less than feminine,’ says Shelley Aubrey-Steadman, who runs WOWBella in Tring. ‘One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is being able to help those women feel better about themselves – and giving them eyelashes and eyebrows definitely helps.’
But of course anyone can have semi-permanent eyebrows – and, as the shape of your eyebrow can really help define the shape of your face, you need to make sure you’re using someone who really knows what they’re doing.
Shelley has been doing it for five years, and has had some incredible results. She explains what it involves.
‘Permanent, or semi-permanent, make-up means that the molecules of the pigment are placed permanently in your skin. So, although they fade, they’re always there and just need topping up every now and then.’
There are three ways to get the pigment into the skin, and each method is used according to the needs of the client:
- Machine – this is often used if someone has hardly any brow of their own, or they want a more defined look.
- Softap – this is a manual method, which is less aggressive and gives you more control. It also gives a softer, more natural finish.
- Microblading – this uses a row of needles, called a microblade, which is pulled across the surface of the skin to create realistic hair strokes.
Usually the machine is used if the client has hardly any hair coverage on their own brows, and is combined with microblading or softap for more shading.
Appointments usually last around two hours, and then a follow-up appointment is needed six weeks later. How long it lasts depends on the age of the skin, hormones and many other factors, but a year is average.
If you spend ages honing your eyeliner skills every morning – or, like me, scrape a blunt kohl pencil across your eyes while grimacing – then this could be a good choice.
It uses the same pigment as the eyebrows and the colour can be matched to your skin tone, but it’s almost always done manually for accuracy. Nobody wants a machine waving around in front of their eyes!
You can choose how dramatic you want your eyeliner to look – make sure you choose carefully, as you’ll have it for at least a year!
There are many different shades of semi-permanent lip colour to choose from, and the best way of getting one you’re happy with is to try a few different lipstick shades and try to match it from your favourite.
‘Lips are slightly different because they’re a muscle and the skin is different,’ explains Shelley. ‘It usually takes three sessions instead of two to get the colour right, but once they’re done they last ages.’
This is a relatively new treatment, but uses the same techniques and pigment to create an areola around the nipple. This is for women who have had to have a mastectomy or breast reconstruction surgery, and a range of shades and tones are offered to match the skin.
Tried and Tested
Shelley offered to show me how it works first hand. Luckily my eyebrows were perfect for this kind of treatment, as they have decent hair coverage but are slightly patchy in places.
First I went along for my consultation, which involved a patch test of the dye, and Shelley talked me through the process from start to finish. She explained exactly what each method involved and what to expect, and then why she had chosen the colour she had.
Two days later I went along for the treatment. Before arrival I had to apply a little bit of anaesthetic cream, available from the chemist, and cover it with cling film, which I held in place with kirby grips. I was glad I only had to drive from Berkhamsted to Tring because it was an interesting look.
On arrival Shelley talked me through the procedure again.
And then we got going. First she drew the shape of the brow she wanted to create, which in my case involved filling in the mid-section that was particularly patchy on the right brow. Once she was happy with the shape the treatment began.
At first I was really surprised to feel nothing at all. As she worked from the middle outwards, I started to feel a bit more sensation – just on the mid-section where it needed the most work was the most sensitive part. But it wasn’t painful, just a little uncomfortable, and only for short periods at a time. Each brow only took about 10 minutes, and then it was done! The result was amazing. I went from patchy, impossible-to-manage brows to full, shapely ones in a little over an hour.
Shelley was very keen to make sure I understood the aftercare routine which, although simple, was necessary, and involved wiping the brows with clean water every half hour for the first two hours and applying a vitamin A cream, and then every hour after that for the rest of the day. This is just to stop any scabs forming and the brows from drying out.
Shelley is so professional and everything is done so meticulously you feel confident from the very start. She’s also lovely to chat to, which helps!
I still need my follow-up treatment in a few weeks’ time, but I’m thrilled with the result and will definitely be maintaining these now.
www.wowbella.co.uk, 07923 646387. Most treatments cost £250. If you book after seeing this, please be sure to tell Shelley!