I think it’s safe to say that most of us have a thing or two about our appearance that make us feel a bit self-conscious. For me personally, one of the two biggest things for many years have been my eyebrows, or lack thereof. (The other being weight, but I’m working on that one and making some progress there too – future post about the local doc helping me soon.)
I made the mistake of over plucking my brows back in junior high and they just never really grew back in. In fact, they just became more and more sparse. I’ve tried hair growth vitamins, serums, not touching my brows for long periods of time, etc. but nothing helped them grow back. Each morning, the longest part of my get ready routine would always be drawing on eyebrows using various cosmetic products from pomades to skinny pencils, powders to markers – whatever worked and didn’t make me look like I’d used a Sharpie. (Though I’m sure there were many days that I failed at that.)
The process of literally creating eyebrows each day was not only time consuming, but costly, as my favorite brow pencil ended up being $21 a pop (Anastasia Brow Wiz in Caramel). And, even with products labeled as waterproof, when you have almost no brows of your own, swimming, working out at the gym, being outdoors in the summer – all become mildly nerve wracking as you fear you may soon be talking to someone, then later notice in the mirror that your eyebrow had smeared half off, or worse yet, was dripping down your face. Also, as a blonde, it was challenging to find a color dark enough to show up and match the few brow hairs I have (I’m naturally blonde, with dark eyebrows since childhood) yet not so dark that it looks odd to wear without a full face of makeup. So, this often meant having to put on semi-full makeup to go to the gym. (Lame!)
After dealing with this situation for over half of my life, I finally decided to look into getting my brows done permanently. A friend send me a few Instagram photos of another friend’s brow work and I was amazed at how natural the tattooed brows looked. I’d mostly ever seen scary looking Sharpie-type tattooed brows in the past and had little hope for it being a natural looking option for me. After yet another couple of months of burning through pricey brow pencils I finally made an appointment for a consult with artist Lisa Marie at Liquid Fetish Permanent Cosmetics.
Lisa is an experienced artist (in many forms! she owns her own dance studio, paints, performs and specializes in whimsical and watercolor tattoo designs) who combined her background in cosmetology and tattooing to quickly become a natural in permanent cosmetics. She quickly gained skills during her training and mastered advanced level procedures with ease, so I was happy to have the opportunity to have her assess my pathetic brows and give me some hope – which she thankfully did!
During my initial consultation, Lisa and I discussed why I wanted the procedure, how I wanted my brows to look and discussed color and shape. I completed a questionnaire to assess whether permanent cosmetics were a good idea for me, given my personality, then we set an appointment for the procedure.
I counted down the days until June 5th, when I had my appointment, and nearly skipped into Liquid Fetish located on Broadway just North of Tuolumne in Downtown Fresno.
Once in Lisa’s room, she had me fill in my brows as I normally would so she could see how I liked the shape. Then, she took measurements and helped me make them even more even that I typically could to ensure my brows started, stopped and arched where they naturally should. She was very careful in this process and took her time, which made me feel very comfortable and confident that I’d be happy with the outcome. When it was time to begin the procedure, Lisa used a special marker to mark where to draw the hundreds of tiny little hairs she would be making for me and wiped away my brow pencil. Next, she applied a numbing cream and allowed it to take effect for 20 minutes before beginning.
When the numbing cream had finished kicking in, Lisa began the procedure, using a special and more delicate device than a typical tattoo needle to delicately draw “hairs.” Once the skin was broken, she was also able to apply a secondary numbing lotion, that was even more effective. Prior to the second lotion, the discomfort was bearable, but not what I’d call “fun” (but certainly tolerable) and after the second, it was a completely painless experience.
The entire procedure was time consuming. Lisa worked tirelessly creating brows for me, a hair stroke at a time for several hours – stopping so we could look in the mirror together and decide if more strokes we needed. This collaborative process was very reassuring and helped me know I was getting a look I’d be very comfortable wearing everyday.
Once the procedure was finished, she applied a little Vaseline and we set a touch-up appointment (included in the procedure’s cost) for six weeks out. She explained that permanent cosmetics are a two step process and a touch-up allows the look to be refined. The results after the first appointment should never be considered the end result, only the result after the touch-up and healing process should be thought of as the true outcome. (After going through the experience, I fully agree.)
Healing was a little tricky the first week – I couldn’t put any makeup in the area and had to apply Vaseline to keep the area from becoming dry or scabbing as it healed. My face looked shiny near my brows (not so cute) and I had to wash my brows with anti-bacterial soap. Note: if you consider having this done yourself, do NOT just wash your whole face with anti-bacterial soap – it dried my skin badly and caused my to break out, since my skin was trying to over produce oil to make up for the dryness. Lesson learned – and I did not repeat this mistake during healing from my touch up. After the first week, I was able to slow down on the Vaseline and put makeup pretty close to the area (just without touching it) and I looked a lot more normal. I stopped noticing anything odd in the mirror, other than the fact that I had eyebrows I didn’t have to draw on!
Throughout the healing process, the ink darkened a bit, then lightened, then actually darkened again before settling on a medium depth of tone. Lisa explained everyone heals a bit differently, but the colors change as your skin heals and that patience is important. There were a few times I thought, “Oh, this part is uneven!” or “Is the pigment even in this area? Or is it gone?” but had I just waited – I would have seen it would all end up healing beautifully.
I had my touch up just a few weeks ago, and my brows are already fully healed. They seemed to heal faster from the touch up than the initial appointment. I had very minimal pain/redness either time after the procedure (which surprised me) and the shiny Vaseline look was probably more disturbing.
I am SO pleased with the final result of the procedure and Lisa’s work, that I really felt strongly that I needed to overcome my insecurity about sharing this experience and my own photos, because I know I’m not the only one who struggled with a lack of brows and a fear of permanent cosmetics coming out unnaturally. The hair stroke brow technique yields a very natural look and I can’t recommend Lisa at Liquid Fetish more. The cost of the procedure was around $300 (which may very depending on your specific needs) not including tip (don’t forget to tip your artists people!) but that’s a relatively very small price to pay compared to how much I was spending on brow products over time and the amount of time I’m saving now each morning! (Not to mention that rate is up to 5 times less than I’ve seen in other areas like LA and San Francisco, so we’re spoiled here!)
If you’re interested in finding out more about permanent cosmetics at Liquid Fetish (much more than just brows – check out their webpage and Facebook photo gallery!), text Lisa at 559.907.3440. I’m so glad I did!