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Take a Brow

Eyebrows are a big deal. They frame the eyes, offer expression, add facial dimension and, in general, are for many a profound part of beauty confidence. I am a brow warrior, always checking out brows and staying current with the trends – though my brows haven’t changed shape since I had them done by Anastasia herself about 40 years ago. My own brows are thin-ish and straight, with a small arch on the outside edge of my iris and a small tail. They are in pretty decent shape, with some sparse spots, though age has wrecked havoc on hair growth, causing my brows’ tails to disappear some. I have to use brow products (powder and gel) to fill in the gaps and add a proper tail every single day. That is all getting ready to change. The latest brow wizardry is microblading, semi-permanent brow tattoos, and I’m in.
Though microblading falls under the category of permanent cosmetics, it’s semi-permanent, with its own process and equipment. Even the more “permanent” tattoo process known as “powder brow” has been updated considerably with new techniques, training, blades and inks. But make no mistake, both methods (microblading and powder brow) aren’t to be taken lightly. It is tattooing, with very fine needles used to deposit ink replicating hair strokes on your face. The artist is slicing the skin in an area that tends to be thin, so no surprise there can be pain and hygiene is paramount.

The most important thing to do before booking an appointment is to do your research. Do you want to get this work done at a spa or tattoo parlor? How much training has the artist had? How hygienic is the work area? Do you see an autoclave (tool sterilizing machine) or are disposable units being used, and are they being disposed of properly? Are there examples of finished brows available?

Recently, I saw a before-and-after picture of my friend Christal’s re-done eyebrows. After years of over-tweezing and two scars, she tried everything to “correct” the situation: pencils, powders, stencils, pomade and multiple combinations thereof. Once Christal had gone super-skinny with her brows there was no going back, no matter how long she let her brows “grow in,” and the shape became a problem. Enter LPN now nurse-aesthetician and brow guru, Robyn Champagne Scianneaux at Wicked 13 Tattoo. After Scianneaux’s microblading services, Christal now has expertly shaped, even and beautiful eyebrows she describes as “easy to maintain” and “big confidence boosters.”

Scianneaux began doing permanent cosmetics years ago, and when she learned there was a newer, better process for eyebrow tattooing, she started looking into classes and training but found none local and had to go out of state. She has attended many classes, gone through a lot of training and has a very specific two-step process for microblading. She uses the more expensive – but more hygienic – disposable units and premium inks, and is extremely committed to her craft, often the go-to gal for cancer patients or people suffering from alopecia.

Microblading takes two sessions, six weeks apart. The bulk of the magic is in the three-hour first session, where Scianneaux considers age, skin type, coloring, etc. She then “maps” the brows with a specialized ruler and selects pigments to ensure proper coloration. The eyebrows are designed, approved by the client, then numbed with top quality numbing cream before the artwork begins. Scianneaux described the pain as “Minimal. It felt more like scratching.” The second visit is for touch-ups and usually takes less time.

The results are stunning. Gorgeous, symmetrical, full eyebrows that require little care once healed (seven to 14 days) and can take regular cosmetics, if desired. Scianneaux is generally booked well in advance, and to minimize any pain (some claim the process is more painful than Christal described), she advises to no Botox, Retin-A or any Retinol product for four weeks prior to microblading.

Having beautiful brows takes work and can be pricey. Microblading services around town range from $300 to $1,000. If you decide to ditch the products and go for tattooing, do some homework, plan ahead and remember that microblading is semi-permanent; the color will fade with time.

By the time this goes to press, I’ll have had my brows tattooed. Stay tuned for a report on the results.


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