When I joined this “niche” part of the beauty industry 14 years ago, I was lucky enough to train with an innovator who had single handedly changed the approach and look of permanent makeup in the UK. At that time, American was at the hub but women in the UK did not want their obtrusive and obvious results so Debra Robson pioneered “subtle”, “natural”, “discreet”.
Until Katie Price permanent makeup was predominantly the domain of mature women who needed help with their eyebrows. Some ventured to eyeliners once over the fear of the process and a smaller number of women, often younger, sought out lip enhancements. Good artists and technicians aimed to replicate what was lost, or should have been.
Jennifer Aniston was the first eyebrow idol that I remember. For quite a few years if any celebrity was mentioned, it was here. Soft, fine, slightly arched and as fair as the individual skin tone would allow.
The first move away from that, for me, was a younger client arriving with a picture of Emma Watson requesting I transform her non-existent brows to look the same as Emma. I sent her away to draw them in daily and get used to the look before committing to the process on a permanent basis. At that time, it seemed like an extreme request.
Permanent makeup was beginning to be known and asked for by name by savvy beauty clients seeking out the procedure.
For me personally, I feel the “Katie Price Brow” was a game changer. Away went all the “natural, subtle and understated” refinement of brows and in came requests from younger clients who wanted the same look. Even those who wanted it done a little more artistically were asking for results to be as black as possible.
And then TOWIE!
In my opinion, this was a double-edged sword for the permanent makeup industry. On the plus side, everyone knew what permanent makeup was, no more explaining and reassuring every potential client. As well as a huge increase in the demand for permanent makeup, so grew the number of people offering the service.
On the negative side, more and more awful results were being seen and far from reassuring those who did not want the “TOWIE look”, the uneducated thought that was a true demonstration of what permanent makeup looks like. Mention lip fillers and women say “Lesley Ash”, mention permanent eyebrows and women were saying “TOWIE”. So, we’d come full circle.
Scouse brow, for me, was the best thing to happen. From the day I heard that term, I was never asked for a “Sharpie” looking brow again. Phew.
A New Chapter in Permanent Makeup
Facebook Forums have opened up a brand new global world of communication and education.
International conferences, competitions, and for the first time, specific trade magazines published in English, have all culminated to make Permanent makeup an international industry with an exchange of ideas and ideals moving at an unprecedented rate.
What this means for the customers is a revival in brows that look like brows. But so much better than that, good artists are creating eyebrows with an artistic flair and hyper realism so far advanced from anything seen or experienced before.
Pigments are improving, providing more stable and predictable results not just at the time of your treatment, but as they fade too. Delivery systems have changed, for years, all technicians I know, including myself, have been trying and testing all sorts of needle groupings and sizes trying to attain the perfect hair stroke. The downside has always been that those crisp fine lines expanded as they healed in the skin. That all changed when Microblading arrived on the scene. The fine hair strokes stay exactly the same as when they are delivered, and depending on the skill of the technician, you may not be able to tell the difference between the hairs and the microblading stokes. In response to this, the machine manufactures developed two superfine single needles that delivered super fine strokes which, when healed, rival the results achieved by microblading.
My personal opinion is that there has been an amazing advancement, mostly due to the influence from new artists, who’ve looked at how you create a beautiful brow in a totally new way. Hyper realism, ombré, powder ombré, combined, s-line, magic shading, fluffy, microblading, microblading and shading, stokes and shadows, powdered, feathered…. are you keeping up?
Whist there is an avalanche in new techniques, (or just the renaming and combining of many of the newer techniques) what we all need to bear in mind, is that whilst your brows should be heavenly, they are part of your face created to flatter and harmonise your beauty.
Credits for Photos
Jennifer Aniston picture from US Weekly
Emma Watson picture from biography.com
Katie Price picture from YouTube
(Traditional Permanent Makeup)
Ombre Brow (Magic Shading)
S Line Brow
Microblading + Manual Shading