Full and thick, arched and always immaculately groomed - very few people are blessed with the perfect eyebrows.
With the surge in popularity of permanent makeup however, the game has changed.
Over the past year, more and more people are investing in feather touch tattooing to enhance or reconstruct their natural brows.
Also known as 'hair-stroke brows', 'microblading' & 'brow embroidery' - the feather touch treatment uses a tiny row of needles to scratch carefully crafted lines into the skin to mimic natural hair growth.
Long gone are the days of chunky, sharpie-filled-in looking brow tattoos.
Highly-skilled trained professionals now use only the best tools, colours and techniques for natural and blended definition.
We sat down with [Lash Noir]'s Rebecca Hutchinson who is leading the way in brow tattooing, to discuss everything you need to know about the next generation of permanent makeup.
What is feather touch tattooing?
Feather Touch Tattooing is a semi-permanent treatment where we implant pigment into tiny hair strokes. We create these hair strokes using a special tool that scratches the skin.
How does feather touch differ from other cosmetic tattooing techniques?
It's not done with a machine, but instead what we call a micro blade. It fades out to natural skin after a period of time and doesn't discolour like traditional cosmetic tattoo. It's also applied in hair strokes to eliminate a block colour look.
How does the formula differ to that of traditional tattoo ink?
It's semi-permanent, and has really in depth variations in tone and depth of colour. We choose each colour according to your hair colour and skin colour to ensure they blend seamlessly with your natural brow.
What is the consultation process?
During the consultation we measure and balance your brows. We get a feel for your expectations surrounding desired look, and we talk you through how different strokes work to achieve different results, as well as how they best blend with your natural brow. There is a reasonable amount of aftercare which we discuss with you too, including what's required for upkeep of your brows.
How do you decide the look and shape of a brow tattoo?
We like to roll with what you've got to ensure the most natural result. We have a few techniques based on the features of your face that we use to design the brow, and determine correct size & placement.
How many sessions are required?
For someone with reasonable brows to begin with you're looking at two treatments, for a brow reconstruction you would need three sessions to ensure nice colour layering.
Are touch ups necessary?
Due to the semi-permanent nature of the treatment, ink will fade out over a course of 12-18 months, so if you'd like to keep them going we recommend a single session touch up at around the 12 month mark.
Why has eyebrow tattooing had a recent surge of popularity?
The technology and colours have reached a point that the result is 10x better than ever before, as well as there is a new generation of highly skilled permanent makeup artists going overseas for training and bringing their skill back to New Zealand. Social media is no doubt playing a part in spreading the word too.
What reasons do people have for wanting brow tattoos?
There are so many reasons for wanting this treatment, some clients have little to no natural brow, some clients have plucked undesirable shapes over the years or have had a "threading accident", then others are just wanting a filled in brow without layers of makeup.
What are some common misconceptions about brow tattoos?
Lots of people think we shave the entire brow off in order to tattoo it on, this is not true! We want as much natural brow as possible so we only conservatively shape them prior to the appointment- Feather Touch brows are super natural and blend seamlessly with your own brow.
How long will they really last?
12 months looking good before you need a colour refresh.
What happens during the procedure?
We start with a medical consult to ensure you're fit to have the treatment done, followed by a topical numbing cream so you're nice and comfortable during the treatment. We then go onto the measure and design process, and work with you creating a template that you feel comfortable with. We then set the shape & choose the colour before starting the process.
How safe is the procedure?
If you meet the medical requirements and aren't on any of our "red flag" medications & aren't pregnant its 100 per cent safe. There has been a lot of media coverage surrounding issues with MRI scans, however our inks are all Oxide free so this doesn't apply to our treatments.
Tattoos tend to change over time. What can you expect from the lifespan of brow tattoos?
That's the beauty of the treatment; you can change it as soon as once a year if you change your mind on it!
Is it really worth the cost?
Absolutely, brows are incredibly transformative & in my opinion are the most defining feature on the face.
How much does the procedure hurt?
We use a topical numbing cream an hour prior to the appointment, it's not painful however it certainly is an odd sensation.