Cleopatra was said to have her face framed by her dark eyebrows, regarded as a reflection of power. Actress Elizabeth Taylor who once played that role, who was rumoured to be a brow fanatic, also wore a similar striking look.
Eyebrows can make or break a face, and make you look older or younger. No wonder eyebrow tattooing became such a fad that’s still in vogue today. What’s changed though, are the techniques which are now kinder to the skin and more natural-looking.
Embroidery or microblading, whichever name it goes by, has been around for years, but according to Shawn Goh who offers the service at BrowLuxe Studio, it’s only been in the last decade or so that this technique gained popularity in Malaysia.
If your eyebrows are sparse or thinning, or you just want a brow update, this is a good bet as it’s subtle, relatively painless with great results.
An older method known as feathering, is similar to microblading, but the hair strokes used are not as fine or well-defined. This treatment is said to last longer and give a fuller, thicker look.
Traditional eyebrow tattoo methods offered a permanent solution and involved the use of a normal tattoo needle. This called for the needle to pierce into the skin in a tapping motion, either by hand or machine.
If done poorly, you would be stuck with brows you hate for life, and in some cases where poor quality pigment was used, it would fade to ugly bluish or greenish shades. Thank goodness cosmetic tattoo pigment was later introduced for a more natural shade!
Microblading makes use of an ultra-fine blade to cut short realistic-looking hair strokes and pigment is implanted beneath the surface of the skin. It takes all of 15 minutes to do the job.
The art of drawing the perfect brow, or rather, one that you’re happy with, however, takes much longer, and Goh will only proceed when the client is satisfied with the shape before going ahead with microblading.
“Everybody has different features – one must also take into account the changes to the brow when a person is frowning or raising her eyebrows as different expressions affect the shape of the brow,” he explains.
As with any tattoo, the use of needles or blades calls for an experienced hand and caution. The shape of the brows is painstakingly drawn by hand, and the blade disposed after each use, even if the same client returns for touch ups, to ensure hygiene and cut risks of infection.
“It takes about a week after the colour has settled and the wound has healed properly to see the final results. Down time is about four days to a week. In the meantime, you shouldn’t scratch or pick at the scab. Avoid sun exposure, swimming and exfoliation which might affect the healing process and end result,” Goh adds.
Microblading is only semi-permanent because a much smaller amount of pigment is used compared with other eyebrow tattoos. The effect can last between 12 and 24 months, depending on your skin type and how it takes pigmentation, and usually one free touch-up is included about a month after the initial procedure.
What’s surprising to know is that quite a few men get their brows microbladed as well.
“Most men wouldn’t be caught dead with make-up. Microblading is an easier, hassle-free option for guys as it looks natural and makes a huge difference in enhancing one’s looks, especially for those who might have very little brow hair, either naturally so or due to illness and ageing,” says Goh, adding that some men also prefer having a man’s hand at the end of the blade as the end result is more masculine.
Prices range from RM500 to more than RM2,000, depending on where you go. The best part is you can change the shape of your brows every two years, if you so desire, for a fresh new look or to stay in trend!