Will they shave off all your eyebrows!?
This was the somewhat fearful and totally off-the-wall response by my husband when I decided to take the plunge and have my eyebrows ‘feathered’ (as in, tattooed).
The short and obvious-to-me answer was ‘Heck no!‘ but it got me thinking that perhaps his reaction was shared by more than a few curious kiwi’s who remember the ‘solid line’ brows of old.
So, I decided to share my experience in the hope that you might find it informative.
This post by the way, is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.
So…what are feather touch brows? As I understand it, it is a method of applying a hair stroke-esque tattoo to the skin. The feather-strokes are applied to your brow line to mimic the appearance of real hair, resulting in a more full and natural-looking eyebrow. The application is lighter and less permanent than a tattoo (in the traditional-sense).
How long does it last? Again, it varies but the suggestion is anywhere from 1 year to 5. As it is lighter than a tattoo, the ink will eventually fade with time and wear and will likely need to be re-applied annually to keep them looking fresh!
How long does it take? The session I attended was a 2-hour session. This is discussed further below.
What made you want to do this? A lot of reasons and a mistake that I have been paying for since 1998 called ‘overplucking‘. I have been a fan of the art-form for a while now but had never been ready or able to do it (hence why I never actually booked). Fast forward to a birthday and hitting a few unexpected bumps in my motherhood journey and I guess on a bit of a whim I just wanted to pick myself up, so I decided to book.
Who did you choose and why? I didn’t anticipate just how long the waiting lists were both here and abroad but in many ways I’m glad because it forced me to think outside the box and be a little spontaneous for a change. A good deal on flights and a bit of clever thinking meant that I could also tie this experience in with another one that I had been wanting to do with hubby since before baby(ies) which was to visit Melbourne.
The Brow Artist: Instagram is a really great place for finding and showcasing talent so it felt like fate when I stumbled across (and fell head over heels for) the work (and style) of Montana Inez. Who, as it turned out had just released a few extra appointments, one of which I was able to nab!
The Process I think it’s fair to say that every artist’s process is unique but for a comprehensive rundown of Montana’s (faq’s, costs, nitty-gritty) you can head here .
The Consultation (Design, colour, position): This is where I got to sit down with Montana and communicate my thoughts. In essence I wasn’t wanting a really bold brow but a really natural look that looked inconspicuous and that I could darken myself or leave as is. I have sparse brows that make me feel a bit (ok ‘a lot’) self-conscious without powder so I just wanted to be able to head out the door with little or no makeup and not have that ‘exposed’ feeling.
I took inspiration pictures with me and I also filled in my eyebrows so Montana could see how I normally did them. If I could offer advice here, it would be to think about your face shape and not get too carried away with ideals. I mean, as great as Bambi Norwood-Blyth’s eyebrows are on her, they’d look a bit ridiculous on me!
Once the desired shape,colour and position had been decided, the ‘hair stroke’ tattooing began.
The Application (Montana applying the hair strokes):
So, what did you think? As you can imagine, I was like…
Did it hurt? For me, there was definitely an element of pain (about a 4 out 10) but it was short-lived and kept to a minimum with numbing cream. Though I didn’t need a break, I was able to (and encouraged to) take one if needed.
What did it feel like? When the hair strokes were being applied, it felt a bit like a scratching sensation. Yes, at times and in certain places the scratchy feeling was a little more intense than in others but I was still able to hold a conversation. My eyes watered a little towards the end though!
How long did it take? This was a pleasant surprise. The appointment is 2 hours long and so I assumed that most of this time would be spent applying the tattoo but a lot of that time was actually spent consulting with Montana on the shape, design, colour and placement, which being a ‘details’ person, I liked very much. The application of the hair strokes were only a small part of the process which will no doubt come as a relief to people with low pain thresholds!
The stages of healing afterwards (as nicknamed by me):
Stage One: A day after my brows had been done I was a bit taken aback by the intensity of them as they appeared more bold than I’d normally go for during the day. Haha, in fact the image of ‘angry birds‘ did spring to mind and while Montana warned me to expect them to be much darker and not worry, well naturally I freaked out a little (on the inside)! During this time, I went for a bolder make-up look so that they didn’t appear as ‘strong’. Looking back, I think I was just getting used to having that much brow because let’s face it, I went from ‘zero’ brows to ‘hero’ brows in 2 hours! The boldness lasted for about 7 to 10 days and after a while new skin started to appear over the hair strokes (again, normal).
Stage Two: After 10 days, my brows started to soften and the old flakes of skin started to drop off. It sounds a bit dramatic and eeew but it wasn’t too bad, they just looked a little ‘dandruff-like’ at times eek! Montana’s recommendation throughout the healing process was the ‘do nothing’ approach (don’t pick, or add makeup or interfere with the natural healing process) so I stuck to this advice, though at times it was hard (especially when they began to itch!).
Stage Three: By the 2 week mark the flakes had all but fallen off and my brows had settled in to a more natural shade/look. It was a little bit terrifying when a flake would fall off and underneath it was as if nothing was ever there but this was all part of the process and slowly but surely day-by-day day those tiny hair strokes started to return (as if out of thin air!). I am currently in stage three and have many more weeks to go but I love the look so far. Soft, natural and flexible (to darken myself if need be).
My husband and son (I imagine) are also happy that ‘angry bird‘ mum didn’t last very long!
And to recap (currently in stage 3):
Note: The above images are 100% real, unedited and brows untouched.
Okay awesome, so your brows have been feathered, you’re done right?:
So much is documented about the before and straight-after of a feather touch session that it can be easy to assume that once the appointment is over that’s it, you’re done (instant gratification). But in actual fact there is a long process of healing, of taking care of your brows during that time and waiting patiently while they intensify, change and soften.
As everyone is their own canvas the healing and results can be quite different from person to person. Your skin’s ability to retain the colour and I guess in a way, your lifestyle can also play a part which is why it generally takes two sessions (the second being a touch-up) for your brows to look ‘done’. Having said this, some people are happy after one session and some may want a few. So in short, once your first session has been completed, it is a test of patience, of your bodies ability to heal and of following the aftercare procedure to a tee that determines whether you are in fact ‘done’ after the full healing period.
How long did you have to wait for the brows to heal? Every artist has a different take on this but for me, I was advised to wait at least 2 weeks before letting water anywhere near them (swimming, washing of brow area etc). Then from there the healing process (and finished look of my brows) could take anywhere from 4 – 6 (possibly even 8) weeks to reveal themselves fully (I’m still in this stage and will be for awhile longer).
It’s also important to note here that the results can vary depending on the amount of hair you have to begin with. For instance, I have sparse brows and so hair strokes were being created where there weren’t any previously which can result in a softer, more 2-dimensional look. Someone with a fuller brow to begin with is more likely to have a more 3-dimensional look.
Has it all been worth it? For me, yes, yes ten times yes!
I have always had ‘barely there’ brows and so even just a tiny addition of ‘hair’ where previously there wasn’t any, makes a huge difference to my daily life and shortens my makeup routine (which is significantly shorter since becoming Costa’s Mum).
They may not be the boldest brows you’ve ever seen, but I wasn’t wanting bold. I was wanting natural brows that I could get out the door without filling them in and Montana nailed the brief. I also like the flexibility of a softer look because it means I can play around with the shape and intensify them with powder if I’m heading out, but that’s just me.
Will you have a follow-up session? Yes. I had already factored this in (travel plans-wise) and though I likely won’t change much, there are some areas where the colour is a little light (which is to be expected) so I’ll get these touched up while there. My touch up session is also built-in to the price so it makes sense to take advantage of it.
Who would you recommend this to? Anyone with sparse brows who wishes for something more full or if you just like the idea of a fuller brow and the ‘semi-permanence’ of them (and not having to spend an age filling and shaping them).
Who wouldn’t you recommend this to? Most brow artists will have prerequisite’s of who the procedure is best suited to (mostly in relation to your skin type and certain lifestyle factors) but I guess if you are a little on the impatient side then the healing process might be a test for you (and if it is, might impact your results). Also, if you are someone who likes to change your mind or your look a lot, then maybe tread carefully. If you have chosen a reputable artist, they’ll likely steer you in the right direction.
Any last thoughts?
If you’re planning on getting a feather touch brow tattoo, I suggest you do your research. There are plenty of accomplished artists in NZ just as there are elsewhere and flying overseas is by no means mandatory or a give-in. Montana’s work spoke volumes for me (and an appointment presented itself) so I was happy to go to great lengths to get there. Having said this, a good deal on flights helped and she just so happens to live in a city we’ve been wanting to visit for some time so it made sense (and felt less OTT) to tie the two together.
Find an artist who listens to you and whose work and style suits what you’re hoping to achieve. Even if the wait is long, it will be worth it.
Take the time to discuss your expectations so that everyone is on the same page (this is important because you have to live with them, remember!).
Find images of eyebrows to use as inspiration but take into account the shape of your face and your personality (your brow artist will likely tell you if the look can be achieved – and if it could suit).
Be realistic and be patient with the healing process. In my experience, every day after week 2, hairs have been revealing themselves so having the patience to wait it out has been a ‘gamechanger’. And remember, there is always a touch-up session to follow.
And there you have it. I’ll do a short follow-up post with the final results at a later date but in the meantime I hope this was helpful, if not a little interesting.
Have you had your brows tattooed or are you thinking about it? Feel free to share your tips/experiences/thoughts below??
Please note (it goes without saying but it must be said): This post is not sponsored. All results images are untouched and unedited and all opinions are my own. I do not speak for everyone on the subject of feather touch brows (or brow tattoos) nor do I serve as an expert on the subject. I simply wanted to share my experience and thoughts in the hope that someone may find it helpful/useful as an opinion piece. If you are thinking about getting feather touch brows a.k.a hair stroke tattoos done, that is your decision alone to make though I would recommend seeking out the advice of a professional in the field before doing so.