9 July 2018

My Semi-Permanent/ Tattoo Brows



Semi-permanent eyebrows have become a very popular trend as we are now a beauty nation obsessed by eyebrows, with me being one of those people. Eyebrow Tattooing, Microblading, Semi-Permanent Brows etc ... have been around for a while but techniques have most definitely improved where once having semi-permanent eyebrows translated into 'painted on brows' but now thanks to new methods, brows can still look like your own. There is also a big difference in the technique used to achieve this as I found out through my own experience that I am sharing with you here, having recently had my own brows made semi-permanent

I have wanted this done for years because being so fair my brows take a lot of work, so the thought of having them there all the time was my absolute dream. Having worked in the beauty industry for a long time myself, I know how important it is to do your research and a procedure like this isn't cheap and sometimes finding cheap is the worst thing you could do. I have seen some scary looking brows in my time so the fear of having those stopped me from doing it; that was until I found the best of the best .... brow queen, Lauren Keegan. 

I stumbled across Lauren's Instagram about 2 years ago now and was blown away by her portfolio of work to the point where I thought 'this is too good to be true'. Her work was the best I had seen so I instantly got in touch only to find that her wait list was long, plus she was based in Liverpool so getting over there wasn't going to be easy so I kind of lost hope. However, I still stalked Lauren's amazing work on IG and watched her grow until I found out she was doing dates in London creating more availability so obviously I got in touch again,. We then made a date and I think it was the best date I ever made. My years of brow stalking finally paid off and I couldn't be any happier than I am right now!

Since mentioning that I had my brows done on social media, I received so many questions about them so I shall explain all in detail as this was not microblading. In Lauren's opinion (and now mine) this technique is much better as you can see below! FYI there is nothing on my brows below, zero product, just all Lauren's spectacular work!

My Semi-permanent Brows, by Lauren Keegan
ABOUT LAUREN.
Lauren Keegan is one of the UK's most elite semi-permanent Eyebrow Technicians. She carries out all of her treatments at her home based clinic in Liverpool and travels to London regularly where she works in Marylebone, which is where I went for my treatment. Lauren's natural flair for brows is what led to her being in such demand and boy she is surely that! She even now offers training sessions for anyone looking to get into the business themselves and I couldn't think of a better person to be trained by. Below you can see a little of what magic she works as well as the different styles of brow that she offers too like natural Hairstrokes, Hairstrokes and Shading to add more impact and an Ombre Powder effect for those who like a very strong brow look. 

OK, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS METHOD AND MICRO-BLADING - 
PLEASE READ!
In Lauren's own words .... 'I do not microblade, not one of my brows are done using a microblade or the microblading method. Yes I'm trained in it, but I'm also trained in machine method which I prefer hands down. The reason being is due to the healed results of my brows and the trauma that microblading causes to the skin. There's some amazing microbladers around the world, but it's extremely rare. Microblading is done using a hand-tool, similar looking to a pen/pencil. At the end of the tool is a blade consisting of a number of minute needles in a row. The blade is dipped in the pigment an then "scratched" "etched" into this skin with the blade. Machine method is very similar to that of a body tattoo in terms of the actual method using a machine, only we do not go as deep in the skin as a body tattoo, we use pigment and not ink. The difference between ink and pigment is that the molecules in pigment are larger and less tight than that of ink molecules, and so pigment breaks down in the skin quicker than ink. Helped by the fact pigment is not implanted as deep in the skin as ink. 

For me, microblading causes too much trauma to the skin compared to machine method, which in turn can create scar tissue at a quicker rate. One of the supposed benefits of microblading over machine is that the finished results are more natural looking. This may seem the case, however all pigment in the skin disperses at different rates during the healing process. Precision using the needles I use with my machine produces extremely natural results anyway, which is why so many people assume it is microblading. There's also a huge myth and I've even seen celebrities saying that microblading isn't a "tattoo" or isn't as "permanent" etc when in fact, it's EXACTLY that, a tattoo, permanent to an extent depending on technique. You’ll also notice how many more microbladers there are now training is much cheaper than machine training so the market is becoming even more saturated. Do your research".

My Semi-permanent Brows, by Lauren Keegan
This is just a tiny example of Lauren's amazing work and the different looks she can create using the same method. She most recently launched her very own line of brow products (as below) to coincide with what she knows best of course, brows! I have to say having newly tried the concealer and brow pomade for when I want to really define my brows even more, these products and brushes are superb and rival many a luxury brand (watch out Anastasia Beverly Hills!). There is good reason why this lady is in such demand! 

My Semi-permanent Brows, by Lauren Keegan
On meeting the lovely Lauren, I could see she was 100% focused so basically just got on with it, as all good professionals do. There was some paperwork to fill out beforehand and then we had a little chat about the look that I wanted but I just let Lauren work her magic and do what she does best. She mapped out my brow shape and then got to work. We settled on a medium brown shade with hairstrokes and shading style to give my brows shape and fullness. 

My Semi-permanent Brows, by Lauren Keegan
THE TREATMENT.
This process is called Semi-permanet eyebrow tattooing, a 3D brow treatment which involves depositing a high grade pigment into the dermal layer of the skin with a needle, giving the illusion of real hair by drawing on tiny hair-like strokes. Any form of tattooing is permanent but by drawing only tiny hair strokes means the ink shall fade faster than a body tattoo, which is why it is semi-permanent and not permanent. A lot of the result depends on how you look after them in the long term too. 

Did it hurt, I hear you ask?
Actually no! It does depend on your pain threshold but if you are used to being plucked and waxed, your good. Lauren applied numbing cream to both of my eyebrows beforehand but  started work straight away so by the time she got to the second brow, the cream kicked in. The only way I can describe the feeling is a stinging tickle. Honestly it's like plucking your eyebrows so just be prepared for your eyes to water but after about 10/15 minutes the numbing cream helps a lot and I felt hardly anything so it was not painful at all, just a little uncomfortable to start with. It definitely wasn't as bad as I thought let's say and after only about  40mins, we were done! Overall it took about an hour which really surprised me just how quick the whole process was. Surprisingly I wasn't red at all afterwards just a little white from the numbing cream and upon seeing my new brows for the first time, I was instantly in LOVE. I mean I was like couldn't stop looking in the mirror type of obsessed.

Be prepared for dark brows! So after your treatment your brows look a lot darker than your final result because the pigment needs to settle and will fade over the healing period. Personally I loved the dark look and was hoping they didn't fade too much! Lauren explained how my brows at this point looked a 'reddish' brown (as you can see) which is actually blood coming to the surface because you have just had a needle in your skin, but this warm look literally disappeared 1-2 days later. Straight after my treatment I did in fact  jump on a plane back home to Monaco and even standing in the bright duty free shopping lights, my brows didn't look odd at all as I was so conscious I would get funny looks! 
My Semi-permanent Brows, by Lauren Keegan
AFTERCARE. 
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN HEALING!
After my treatment, instead of explaining everything just for me to walk out and forget, Lauren gave me an aftercare pack that she puts together for every client with full instructions of the do's and dont's for the next few weeks along with an after care brow lotion. I found this so helpful as I kept referring back to her notes every time I had a question! I will say that aftercare is vital to your end result having gone through the steps myself, it really is the most important part.

You shall be healing for 4 weeks after your treatment as effectively you have a wound that needs to heal so in short, leave your brows alone. The first two weeks are the most crucial where you need to stay out of the sun and use an Spf50 at all times as this shall protect the pigment from fading. You must also avoid sweating meaning no working out, saunas, facials, exfoliation, no picking, scratching, touching and most importantly ... NO getting your brows wet. This means hygiene is key.

My First 2 Weeks ...
I had to clean my brows with boiled water that had cooled, onto cotton pads twice a day for 14 days as this helps prevent heavy scabbing which leads to a better healed result. I also had to apply the brow ointment 3/4 times a day to keep the area clean and moisturised. I wont lie, this part was a faff. Simple things like showering, cleansing, putting on makeup was a chore; I put the shower cap over my brows, avoided the brows when cleansing my face and wore minimal make-up ... all for the greater good and worth it for the end result! 

In this time, prepare for your brows to itch. My god, my brows were driving me crazy being so itchy but I found that the ointment really helped to calm the feeling. My brows didn't scab at all, instead dry skin just shed away gradually (sorry dry skin alert - below!). I have seen people who did micro-blading get heavy scabbing which has then pulled all the pigment away with it so they are left patchy which is why this technique is better I feel. 

My Semi-permanent Brows, by Lauren Keegan

My 4-6 Week Healed Results ... 
Over the 4 week period, your brows will fade before they get darker. This is because new layers of skin shall form over the healed skin so the hair strokes need time to come back to the surface. I really noticed this to the point where I panicked as the inner corners in particular had really faded even though I had been so good with my aftercare, but Lauren was of course right when she said give it 4 weeks because in that time they did indeed come back through darker. I was very relieved! I did notice they were a little dry and that dry skin was making them look faded so I simply used a little coconut oil on a cotton bud to help hydrate the skin and it worked a treat yet didn't effect the pigment. 

After 6 weeks, I was in awe of my final result and I love how my brows still look like my brows, just better. I find myself inspecting all the tiny hair strokes as it truly amazes me how clever this is. I love the shape, the thickness, the darkness, the fullness it has added .... everything is spot on. Before now my brows always needed filling in on a daily basis as even though I tint them, I would still need to define them which took a good 10 minutes every day, but now I wake up and do absolutely nothing .....it's a dream!

My Semi-permanent Brows, by Lauren Keegan
As I mentioned the only thing I do now is tint my brows but having had the tattooing underneath means that even when my hair fades, they still look amazing. In fact I don't have to tint them half as much as I used to but when I do (around 4-6 weeks) they look brand new all over again. I even get ready a whole lot faster than before which has thrown the husband into turmoil.  These brows have seriously changed my life, all thanks to Lauren.

My Semi-permanent Brows, by Lauren Keegan
One of the pro's that sold this treatment to me even more was the fact that top up treatments are only needed roughly once every 12 months to simply keep the colour depth and shape. Lauren does offer a follow up 4-6 months after your initial treatment (£30) to simply make any adjustments you may wish to such as thickness as it is possible to go thicker once you have had your initial treatment done or to fill in any gaps etc but this is totally your choice.

Without a doubt, one of the best beauty procedures I have ever done. The reality of not having to do brows or spend ages getting them to look vaguely the same is life changing! No one even suspects that I have had them done because of how natural they look. 

My Semi-permanent Brows, by Lauren Keegan
So, my advice to you if you are thinking about doing this is DO it .... oh and let Lauren be the one to do so. Even if you are sensitive to usual tints and products, or have no eyebrows at all or you have maybe been through an illness .... anyone can have this done. Apart from ultimately being low maintenance, this really builds confidence and can make a huge difference to how you feel in yourself. Brows have a lot to answer for. 

COSTS/BOOKING!
As I mentioned, it isn't cheap but if you want the best then be prepared to pay for it because cheaper is not always the best option. Lauren has two price lists; one for Liverpool and one for London as she has to cover travel costs, all of which she shall send you should you be interested but for London you can expect to pay between £495 - £545 depending on what look you choose, then from £150 - £195 for a once a year touch up. On the grand scale of things, it is worth every penny if this is something you have been wanting to do for a while. 


If you are interested in this treatment, contact Lauren here and you can check out more of her work on InstagramDisclaimerThis is not sponsored; I paid for the treatment myself with some discount as I agreed to share my full experience on the blog; after having stalked her for so long!



I am scheduled in for a follow up appointment next month so stay tuned - 
What do you think? Your feedback is welcome! 










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