Whether you maintain them with the help of a stylist, draw them on at home, or let them grow wild; the statement eyebrow business is booming and shows no sign of stopping. I went to The Brow Doctors at Nirvana Aesthetics to find out what Microblading – the latest semi permanent eyebrow procedure – is all about and whether I am now officially “on fleek”.
My eyebrows: a teenage horror story
Back in the 90s, we didn’t have the luxury of decent make up, let alone accessible semi-permanent make up. You were either a deathly pale porcelain goth (guilty as charged) or an orange pan stick Oompa Loompa (also guilty as charged – it was a long decade). Yes, we gave birth to the shitty dark lip liner that all the pouting tattooed It Girls of Instagram are currently rocking. Except we didn’t make it look good. After all, this was the era when Debbie and Gemma from Byker Grove hairsprayed their fringes around a Coke can for extra hold and maximum curve, FFS.
One thing that didn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar in my teenage years was eyebrows, and I suffered particularly badly from this beauty oversight. The runt of the litter, and lacking in my siblings’ Mediterranean colouring, I was doomed to sport nigh-on-invisible eyebrows and transparent eyelashes for all eternity (think Ed Sheeran with a scrunchie). Over the years I tried everything – slicking them down with clear mascara, colouring them in with Rimmel eyeliner (please don’t judge; I was a mere child), and dyeing them with a DIY tinting kit which basically meant my brows went from ‘sperm under a microscope’ to ‘furry tadpole’ in the space of 12 minutes and an obligatory patch test.
Where to go for microblading
Enter The Brow Doctors at Nirvana Aesthetics on Liverpool’s answer to Harley Street, the very elegant Rodney Street in the Georgian quarter, and more specifically Sophie: eyebrow miracle worker extraordinaire.
Now first things first: this isn’t one of those sponsored post things. I’m a paying customer at Nirvana and have been for some time. They’re a fab one stop shop offering loads of aesthetics and beauty treatments: brows, eyelashes, Botox, lip fillers, teeth whitening, and heaps more. You can even get your hair and make up done there. But when you receive a service that’s really good, it’s worth spreading the word and the good vibes. And the eyebrows are really really good.
I’ve been to Sophie for HD Brows (a process of plucking, threading, waxing, colouring and leaving you looking absolutely bloody amazing), and for semi-permanent tattooed brows (as it says on the tin, with a different ink and shallower needle than regular body tattoos) and most recently for the much talked about Microblading.
What is microblading?
Having seen Before & After pics on Instagram I knew I had to have it done. After all, it’d been 18 months since my brows were tattooed and they’d faded sufficiently for me to have them re-tattooed or to try this new technique of Microblading. I made an appointment with Sophie (whose diary is busy for a reason – waiting lists can be long but oh so worth it!) and waited for the big day.
Turns out, I hadn’t watched the YouTube videos quite closely enough as Sophie had suggested and it wasn’t until I was lying down covered in numbing cream that I realised that microblading involves an actual blade. Yes, apparently the clue’s in the name. Who knew? A tiny scalpel-type tool is used to introduce pigments into the outer layer of skin. Sensation-wise, it’s not the nicest thing I’ve had done to my face, but it’s not that bad. I’m pretty wimpy and I’d say it’s comfier than blood tests or bikini waxing.
After about an hour the process of little inky scratches was all over and the results were outstanding. It’s not until you have a fresh pair of brows that you realise what a difference they make. They bring out the colour of your eyes, they make you look instantly groomed and made-up, and – when you don’t have to faff around with them every morning – are absolutely life changing.
|Freshly microbladed eyebrows by The Brow Doctors at Nirvana Aesthetics, Liverpool|
You’re packed off with all the necessary aftercare instructions and a special cream the consistency of vaseline, and although there’s rules about sunbathing and picking at them (both are big no-no’s) you are good to go until your top-up appointment 6 weeks later. I found that my brows began to go darker a few hours after my initial session but I was still able to go out in the evening with a few touches of make up around – but definitely not ON – the brows themselves. As the skin gradually shed over days and weeks they revealed their intended lighter colour, which was what I wanted because I’ve got quite fair brows.
If you have a look at The Brow Doctor’s Instagram page you can see videos, Before & After images, and all the subtle variations of styles – there’s no ‘one pair fits all approach’. If you’ve got fair, sparse or no eyebrow hair at all (perhaps as a result of alopecia or chemo) then this technique is perfect, and botch jobs from other salons can be fixed too. Better still, make an appointment for HD brows before you take the plunge to get a feel for the salon and to meet Sophie. You only have to hear the rave reviews from everyone in the waiting area to know you’ve come to the right place. I wouldn’t trust anyone else with my eyebrows – if only she could work her magic on my coke can fringe and scrunchie…