BROWS: Microblading Method
Microblading (also known as the hair stroke method, eyebrow embroidery, microstroking, 3Dbrows etc) has become incredibly popular in recent years, I think in some part due to the trend for thick yet bushy and natural looking brows. A very natural, lifelike looking brow can be created using the hair stroke method, which essentially is using the combination of tattoo needles that forms the shape of a blade to create lots of little hair like impressions by implanting pigment in lines mimicking hair under the skin. The advantages are that it does look very natural, like real hair. It is perfect for people that already have quite good hair coverage, and for those who want to fill out gaps in their eyebrows where hair is missing, because the strokes can be made to mimic the natural hair present in color, thickness and angle. In younger skin, it can even work very well for creating a complete brow where little to no hair exists. This is because the action of ‘stroking’ the needle through the skin to create a ‘hair like’ mark does not actually implant the pigment as deeply as the powder fill method. It usually needs to be retouched more frequently than the powder fill method, as it fades more quickly (particular hair stroke brows done in lighter colors). So if for you, the most important factor in your cosmetic tattoo treatment is longevity, I would probably not opt for the hair stroke technique alone. Also, in older skin, or skin that has been aged prematurely from sun exposure, the hair strokes do not stay in the skin as well defined as in younger, more elastic skin. So for mature clients, I would often recommend the powder fill, or hair strokes over an initial powder fill treatment, for a better result.
BROWS: Microshading Powder Fill/ SofTap & Traditional Method
The powder fill method involves the application of thousands of tiny little dots of pigment, inserted into the skin, gradually building up a color and a defined shape via hand tool or tattoo gun. It is the more traditional method of cosmetic tattoo, and the pigment usually lasts longer when applied in this manner, as it is deeper in the skin. However, many people are fearful of this method looking too ‘solid’ or unnatural, because it does indeed have a more defined, solid look than hair strokes alone. This technique combined with the hair stroke can soften the appearance.
The powder fill/block tattoo has in previous decades got quite a bad name for itself, as in many older style facial tattoos you see these days, the pigments used were not really suitable for cosmetic tattoo (a in, blacks used in eyebrows fading to blue or green) cosmetic tattoo pigments have come a really long way since then, and pigments for brows are blended browns, blondes, and taupe’s and all extremely natural looking, A fantastic compromise between the two methods described above, is having an initial powder fill treatment in a slightly lighter pigment that you would like for the final result, followed about 4-6 weeks later by a slightly darker hair stroke application over the top. This, in my opinion, is a great way to achieve a natural hair stroke look, but with better definition and longevity than hair stroke on naked skin. Two treatments (initial, and retouch) are offered in all of my pricing for eyebrow cosmetic tattoo, so it does not actually cost anymore to have these two methods done subsequently to create this look.
Does it hurt? (you can see from the above video that pain is minimal)
It varies between person to person, some people experience a little discomfort during the first 5-10 minutes of the treatment, but once the area has been numbed effectively, feel very little or nothing at all. I myself have had my eyebrows cosmetically tattooed, and found it was like a light, annoying scratch for the first few minutes, after which I couldn’t feel much – it was a lot more bearable than I had thought! This controls any pain significantly. Some clients choose to take pain relief tablets before the appointment but for most, it’s not really necessary and not advisable.
What does the Cosmetic Tattooing process involve?
The cosmetic tattoo procedure involves depositing pigment into the skin, using either a hand tool or a small pen-style machine which rapidly inserts small quantities of the appropriate color pigment progressively in the required area with the expertise of a competent and skilled professional. The pigment remains in the skin indefinitely although the color may fade due to aging of the tattoo, health or environmental factors, eventually retouching may be required.
How long does it last?
There is no definitive answer to this one – it is dependent on many factors, such as: • the pigment used – darker pigments i.e. black and very dark brown last a lot longer than lighter shades. • The density of pigment – i.e. a treatment that has been reinforced with a second adjustment appointment will usually be longer lasting • Environmental factors such as exposure to UV light. Tanning and not using sun protection will fade cosmetic tattoos faster • Your health and overall individual physiology – some people retain pigment extremely well Generally, the treatment is considered permanent; in many cases (especially eyeliner and very dark brows) you will always have some pigment in the skin. A touch-up treatment is recommended every 18-24 months for most cosmetic tattoo treatments.
Generally Microblading Last upto 2 years, while Ombre, Microshading and Machine Methods can last upto 3-4 years.
Am I able to see what it may look like prior to starting the process?
The fact that I’ve been Makeup Artist and Beauty Educator for over 19 years, it made it easier for me to naturally find the shapes that best frame the face. There are basic guiding principles for creating the perfect eyebrow – measurements involving the spacing and the relationship between space, angles of the face, and the nose and eyes as to where the brow should begin, end, and where it should arch. However, there is a great variance between difference faces and what brow suits each – there is no one ‘perfect brow’ for all. I will take some basic measurements of your face, look at symmetry (no one is perfectly symmetrical, not even supermodels!) and work out the best way to balance your face. I will usually ask you to come to the appointment with your brows drawn on exactly as you like them. I find this is a good place to start, as it shows me what you are used to, what your personal makeup style is, and your color preferences. Sometimes some subtle changes are made to the shape and color, if I think this could achieve a better result. I will always show you the drawn shape before I begin tattooing, for your approval.
How do you decide on the shape?
No free-styling here! This method provides us with the most accurate measurements that are custom to the frame of your face. The following video gives a descriptive version of how we get those measurements.
Who benefits from cosmetic tattoo?
People who don’t want to spend their time applying makeup
People who need to look good every day for work and are expected to maintain a certain level of grooming
People who enjoy sports, swimming and the beach
Those suffering alopecia and hair loss from medical treatment
Those who suffer bad eyesight who have trouble applying makeup
Those who just don’t like the ‘made-up’ look and want to look great in no time
Those who are always in a rush and feel that applying makeup is a luxury they just don’t have time for!
People who have been chemo free for at least a year and have been cleared by your oncologist.
In short, just about everyone!
5 years ago, after deliberating the decision for years, I had my eyebrows cosmetically tattooed. It was the best thing I ever did for them – no more fiddling about in the mirror trying to get one just like the other – that frustrating feeling when you’re rushing to get out the door, but you know they aren’t perfect (or, you forget to draw one on in your rush!).
What is the difference between powder-fill/solid brow and hair-strokes or feathering for eyebrow tattoo?
Powder-fill gives a more defined, solid appearance, and is usually a longer-lasting option, whereas hair stroke, as the name suggests, involves cosmetic tattooing on tiny lines/strokes in a design that gives the appearance of hair. Hair-strokes alone, with no background, do require more re-touching than other methods. A good, longer lasting option can be a combination of these, where a lighter powder-fill will be done at the first appointment, then hair-strokes over the top, to give texture and a realistic, hair like appearance. We can discuss these options and what would give you the best result and your consultation.
How long does the procedure take?
Normally between 1-3 hours, depending on the treatment you are having. Often, for eyebrows, the longest part of the appointment can be the consultation and actually drawing on the brow shape – I will always spend time getting them as symmetrical and as close to perfect as possible, with your approval before any cosmetic tattooing begins. The actual tattooing rarely takes longer than 45-60 minutes. When you make your appointment, we will discuss the time needed and make sure there is plenty of time for you to ask questions and for us to discuss the look you are after.
What should I expect after the procedure?
Immediately after the procedure you should expect the area to be a bit tender. Light swelling may occur. For certain techniques and dependent on your skin type, we provide you with an ointment to apply twice a day, morning and night for 5-7 days. Healing is different for everyone. Scabbing usually occurs for upto 14 day. Please attempt not to pick the scab, if you do so it will result in gaps and spots. Please keep your ointment to use for your touch-up procedure, if it was given the 1st time. **Although results can vary from person to person, this is what I experienced from the recent Ombre brows I did on myself.
Can it be removed if I change my mind?
Technically, most cosmetic tattoos can be removed with specific laser treatments, however it can be quite difficult and many treatments are often needed. As such, I would go into the treatment with the view that it is permanent. If you are ambivalent and really unsure as to whether it’s something you would want in 2 or 3 years time, maybe take some more time to consider. Or, if you are committed to the idea but unsure of the look, go with something less dramatic and lighter – for examples, a thin top liner, or lighter brown hair stroke brows. Remember, it is quite simple for me to retouch a treatment and make it thicker or darker – but impossible to do the opposite. You can always go darker/more dramatic at your adjustment appointment!
Is it a safe procedure?
Yes, very. The cosmetic tattoo machine is one of the most hygienic available, either a disposable hand tool or a small pen-like device that uses completely disposable parts. All needles, tubes, chambers, caps, casings – anything that comes into contact with clients, are brand new and sealed prior to your treatment. Our salon is clean, hygienic and compliant with all California Department of Health requirements.
Is there a possibility that I may allergic to the pigments used?
Allergic reactions to the pigments are incredibly rare but a possibility. The pigments brands used are trusted, long-established USA made brands that have been on the market for decades. The pigments contain iron oxide that is already present in the human body, so highly unlikely to cause a reaction. In regards to patch tests, this can be arranged, and is recommended if you are concerned/are a highly allergic individual. However, – as an allergic reaction can sometimes show after 2 weeks, but sometimes 5-10 years later (this can be due to hormones/medications or simply unknown) a patch test can be rather ineffective. Most clients do not request a patch test.
Why is it important to go to your touch-up (2nd/adjustment) appointment?
I feel that two appointments are necessary to create fantastic, long-lasting brows, particularly for the hair-stroke method that seems to be the most popular at the moment. In the first appointment, a shape is established, color saturation occurs, or the first set of hair-stokes. The second appointment is to reinforce the pigment (fill any spots where color did not take as well, or where hair-strokes faded, as they can do), often using a slightly darker color, to give a more realistic, 3D appearance. Sometimes, for eyeliner, minor swelling can occur, and a second appointment is needed to make minor shape adjustments to complete the final look. Often however, it is not. You don’t have to come to you second appointment if you feel it’s unnecessary. However, I highly recommend it, particularly in the case of hair stroke brows. They will last longer if you come in a second time – and there is no additional charge for this. I want you to be walking around with the best set of brows that I can give you – and ones that last a reasonably good length of time!
What colors/pigments can I choose from?
I have a large range of pigments, however normally I will blend 2 or sometimes even 3 pigments to create a customized color for you. For eyeliner, normally true black is used, but there are other options as well.
How does eyeliner tattoo interact with eyelash extensions?
Unfortunately, eyelash extensions MUST be removed at least 3 days prior to any eyeliner treatment. Complete healing (2-3 weeks) must occur before they should be re-applied. However, for any extensions applied by myself, removal is free – please be sure to book it in a few days prior to your treatment though! The good news is that as soon as healing has taken place, you can have your extensions reapplied. Imagine how fantastic that will be – never having to worry about mascara or eyeliner again!
I am pregnant/breastfeeding, can I have cosmetic tattoo done?
It is not advised. You will be laying flat for quite some time, which could be uncomfortable for you. Also, in case you do get an infection or allergic reaction, there is a chance you can pass it to the baby or transfer it through your milk.
Do you have any special packages for multiple treatments?
I would like further information – could I speak to someone?
Yes, of course! I am very happy to arrange complimentary in-person and/or over the phone consultations or if you need me to answer any questions. Please feel
free to call me at 415.867.3989
BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT…
Prior to your semi-permanent cosmetic enhancement think about the look that you would like to achieve. Cosmetic enhancements normally require multiple applications sessions. To achieve the best results you will be required to return for at least one additional enhancement 4 to 6 weeks after the initial application. It is the client’s responsibility to make this appointment. If client comes for touch up after 6 weeks additional fees may apply.
Be prepared for the color intensity to be significantly sharper and darker immediately after the procedure. This will subside and become softer as the skin heals. This process can take up to 14 days.
*Do not take Aspirin or Ibuprofen or Fish Oil Supplements 1 week prior to or after your procedure. Tylenol is safe to take if needed.
*Do not discontinue any medication before consulting your doctor.
*Keep alcohol intake to a minimum 2 days prior to and after your procedure. If you can avoid all together that is ideal.
*Do not use Retin A or anti-aging skincare products close to the enhancement site 1 week prior to or after your procedure.
*Do not use AHA skincare products close to the enhancement area 2 weeks prior to or after your procedure.
*As with electrolysis the National Blood Service does not accept donations of blood for 1 year after a cosmetic enhancement.
*Waxing treatments should be performed no less than 3 days prior to your procedure.
*IPL Laser hair removal should be performed no less than 2 weeks prior to your enhancement.
*Electrolysis treatments should be performed no less than 5 days prior to your enhancement.
*Eyebrow tinting should not be performed for 2 weeks after your enhancement.
*Simply Gorgeous recommends no waxing for those who have this service. Waxing removes top layers of skin which can effect results. We recommend plucking or threading which we offer at our salon.
AFTER YOUR PROCEDURE…
The area treated may show redness and swelling and the color may look darker and more intense than desired – this is very normal. Additional treatments cannot be undertaken until the area has completely healed and that time frame is at the discretion of the technician. A 4 to 6 week healing time is required before any further work can be done.
In order to let your brows heal well avoid water on the brow area, makeup on the brow area, the gym, a sauna or swimming pool for 7 days. Once the area has completely healed (approximately one week) you may consider wearing sunblock on the treated area to reduce color fading due to the sun although we recommend avoiding sun exposure for 2 full weeks after your services. Once completely healed you should wear sunblock on your brows (applied during your skin care routine) to protect your results from prematurely fading.
Strong chemicals, glycolic acids or peels of any kind may cause lightening of the pigments. Always call and check with your technician if in any doubt prior to usage of these skin products or procedures. DO NOT PICK OR PULL at the treated area as it will result in pigment loss or scarring. We can tell when the area has been picked or scratched at.
*Giving Blood – The Red Cross has suggested that you do not give blood for 6 months following your procedure.
*MRI Scans – This procedure shows up as and artifact on these scans. Some clients may experience a tingling sensation. Please notify your radiologist.
*Injectables – Dermal fillers and Botox can alter the shape of the eyebrows. The client should be advised that injectables should be carried out after a microblading procedure and not prior to.
*Laser/Pulsed Light – Laser or pulsed light hair removal or skin rejuvenation can cause color change. It is important to advise the technician that you have had the microblading procedure as this cannot be rectified with another microblading procedure.
YOU WILL GO THROUGH 3 HEALING PHASES: 1-HEAL, 2-PEEL, 3-FADE
You may notice whiteness or blanching around the area – this is quite normal and will subside with in 12 hours and is due to the lidocaine.
If you have any lymphatic fluid (plasma) or blood weeping from the area you may gently clean the area with saline, cool pre-boiled water and gauze blotting gently dry to remove any moisture.
With clean hands and a cotton swab you may apply a fine layer of after care balm to the treated area.
Repeat this treatment up to 3 times daily if the area feels tight.
Some clients report seeing the ink fade almost completely then reappearing. This is not uncommon and sometimes part of the healing phase.
After the fine scabbing has sloughed away you will see a different hue to the color implanted.