'The Brow' is having a big moment and we've all realised that it's time to leave overplucked, skinny brows in the nineties and noughties. Ever since Cara Delevigne graced editorial pages, brows have been big news and there's been a huge boom in brow products on the market.
When Nicole from Olivia Cole Cosmetics got in touch offering me an opportunity to try micropigmentation (i.e semi-permanent eyebrows!) I decided to give it a go! The thought of not having to spend up to ten minutes every morning drawing on and perfecting my brows seemed like a very worthwhile investment. Here's how I got on!
What is micropigmentation?
Micropigmentation is a semi-permanent makeup method. It uses a similar mechanism to a tattoo needle and implants the colour deeper into the skin in the dermal layer. It produces a much more natural looking effect than microblading, and they are often refferred to as 'powdered brows'. Micropigmented brows last up to two years and unlike tattoo ink, the ink is designed to fade. The result is softer, natural-looking brows.
How is it different to microblading?
Microblading uses blade strokes to simulate hair strokes on the brow, then ink is implanted into the top layers of the skin.
You will have a total of three appointments for your brow procedure: a consultation, the main procedure and a top-up. The consultation will explain the process and answer any concerns you might have, as well as doing the all-important patch test. The main procedure lasts around two to three hours. After four weeks you will then have a top up to complete the process.
After my consultation appointment and patch test, I was good to go! On arrival, Nicole helped me decide on the shade of ink. We went for a light taupe brown that was slightly darker than my natural shade but matched my hair colour. It's always advised that you choose a lighter shade initially because you can go darker when you have the follow-up appointment.
Then we applied some numbing cream to the brow area. While this got to work, Nicole went about mapping about my brow shape, marking where I had drawn on my own brows with my makeup. I was very happy with the natural shape of my brows, so this didn't take too long at all. Nicole outlined what was already there and lengthened them slightly on the outer edge. This part of the process can be time-consuming but is super important as you can change it as much as you like - after all your brows are going to be there for a while!
I then put on a very attractive cap to keep my hair off of my face - not the finest I have ever looked!
Once I was happy with the shape, it was time to begin! To start, Nicole outlined the shape with a 3-point needle. This would create a softer, natural looking edge to the brows as they healed. To fill in my brows, she used a 1-point needle which created a stronger line. The technique uses a mixture of dots and small strokes to create a natural effect.
Obviously, there is a level of discomfort to it, but the 'pain' was so much better than I thought it was going to be. I already have a tattoo on my ribs so was used to the sensation of the needle, but this felt no worse to my eyebrows being plucked. It felt a little sharp at times, particularly when the 1-point needle was used, but Nicole continued to use numbing cream throughout the procedure which made it much more comfortable.
The whole procedure took around an hour and a half in total. I think the laying still was the most uncomfortable bit for me!
Once the brows are finished, they look very dark and harsh but don't panic. Over the next few weeks, they fade up to 50%. They also appear a little bigger because your brows will swell slightly, but this goes down after a few days. In terms of caring for them after the treatment, you simply use a tattoo healing cream for a few days then leave to dry heal.
This photo was taken the day after micropigmentation. As you can see, they are very bold, dark, and a little swollen.
After about a week, they started to properly heal. They scabbed over and I was left with very patchy eyebrows for a few days! You can't pick at the scabs, as annoying as they are as otherwise, you could end up ruining the pigment and leaving the final brow really patchy. I just used a clean brow spoolie to keep the flakes of dead skin from looking too gross! It was a little scary as they were scabbing over because, in contrast to the colour underneath, it didn't look like the colour had taken at all. However, the 'scabbing stage' only lasted about three to four days and by about day ten, they were well on their way to healing.
As you can see by day ten, they had healed really nicely. The colour had faded quite significantly, but throughout the month it got a little bit darker as my skin healed more. I was already enjoying not having to worry about drawing my brows on in the morning!
After four weeks, it was time for my follow-up appointment and top up. This was to fix up any inconsistencies in the shape, asymmetry and to go a darker shade if I wanted to. It turned out that my skin had taken the ink really well and the shade pretty much matched my hair colour, so we used the same colour ink again.
The picture above shows my brows the day after the top up. As you can see, the colour is a lot stronger, but still look natural and soft. They have faded a little bit more since then, but I haven't had to use any additional product other than a slightly tinted brow gel to keep them in place. The better you look after your brows over the next few years, the longer they will last. This means putting SPF on, and limiting use of AHA based products (chemical exfoliants) so they don't fade as fast.
I am super happy with my brows, and I'm so glad I took the plunge! A set of permanent brows costs £250 from Olivia Cole Cosmetics which if you take into account how much you might already spend on maintaining your brows (tinting, waxing, etc) it makes a lot of sense. And no one can put a price on how much time you're saving in the mornings. For someone with really light brows, this is a godsend, but even if you already have dark brows, it can add a lot of depth to them.
This treatment was provided free for review purposes, but it is something I would pay for myself.
Olivia Cole Cosmetics is based in Milton Keynes. You can find contact details and more information here: oliviacolecosmetics.business.site.