I’ve had my eyebrows and eyeliner tattooed for the past several years now and love how clean and precise it makes my appearance. Naturally I have fair hair and pale skin which makes me feel very bland without makeup as my features almost disappear without the definition of brow pencils and liner which I always seem to draw on wonky no matter how much time I take to do it nor how hard I try. Add to the fact that I’m a hectic working single parent and train at the gym several days per week and I’m forever rushing around, sweating and smudging off makeup and putting my needs behind that of my family – it’s safe to say that maintaining beauty is the last thing on my mind throughout the day. Semi-permanent makeup has advanced greatly in recent years refining and perfecting techniques from powder brows to fine hair strokes to subtly create something for everyone through tailoring to individual style – a beauty essential that I couldn’t ‘t be without.
Micropigmentation Specialist Caron Vetter has 25yrs of aesthetic experience within the beauty and surgical industry working closely with a number of top plastic surgeons. She became one of the first to specialise in procedures such as areola restoration and is highly respected within her field which is why I’ve returned year after year to have my SPMU (semi-permanent makeup) done. It can be quite a decision to try SPMU for the first time and just like all cosmetic procedures it’s a treatment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Whilst this is a temporary form of tattoo for which the results will last 12-18months before the pigment naturally fades away, if applied incorrectly, unevenly or with poor technique the results can be unsettling to live with and Caron frequently corrects unsatisfactory work from unhappy patients from sub-standard clinics across the country. Therefore it’s essential to do your research, talk extensively with your practitioner and understand fully the look, shape, size and colour you require before beginning the treatment.
The ethos of Karma House Clinic is ‘Come as you are, leave as you want to be’ and this sums up my experience of their service and professionalism perfectly. I simply telephone to book in for an appointment, drop my children off at their grandparents and arrive peaceful and rested ready for a well deserved pamper. The atmosphere of the clinic is always so calm and uplifting with stunning views of the countryside, state of the art equipment, clean and modern surroundings and bright and cheerful staff who are incredibly knowledgable of the treatments available and always on hand to answer any questions and give worthwhile advice. I look forward to my annual polish-up where I’m transformed from a worn-out mother into a glamourous woman within an hour and it makes the biggest difference to my confidence and daily self esteem. After all, we all deserve to look and feel our best, don’t we?
Unfortunately my natural eyebrows are fair and uneven, they finish at different lengths, the arches are always unbalanced when I try to pencil them in and are patchy in places from where I over-plucked in my teens so I’m an ideal candidate for SPMU. To have my brows measured, corrected, tinted, waxed and pigmented means that they’re always perfectly in place, individually matched to my facial features and bring out the best of my appearance which I could never achieve myself. Likewise having my upper eyeliner tattooed really opens up my eyes and makes me look less tired and washed out and it makes long summer days at the beach or cosy winter evenings on the sofa all the more pristine. It lengthens and lifts my lids to have a dark liner and makes me feel a little more presentable even whether I’m caught off guard bumping into somebody at the supermarket or have just rolled out of bed. To wake up with makeup always perfectly in place is literally life changing, especially as I struggle for time and have no set beauty regime.
I’m often asked on social media about the treatment process, discomfort, healing / aftercare and my recommendations for eyebrow styles so I’d like to address them all here. Cosmetic tattooing, or SPMU, is created by implanting pigment into the skin and can be used for cosmetic or medical purposes as required. In the past I’ve had my eyebrows, eyeliner and lips tattoos to create a more defined and vivid shape and contour and have always had a positive and worthwhile experience of it. I’m very extensive in my research, speaking openly and honestly about my expectations and always view before and after pictures of prior customers to fully understand what is involved and wether or not it’s something I’d like to try. I cannot stress enough the importance of only using highly skilled practitioners as I see so many horror stories of poor practises and botched results which are impossible to hide when performed on the face and become very costly to correct ontop of the initial fee for the treatment. My mother always taught me to do my research and go for quality over quantity and this has always seen me through in life, which is why I’m happy to personally recommend and share the contact details of those who I trust and use for my own cosmetic and surgical procedures.
To perform the SPMU eyebrows, eyeliner and lipliner treatment a small handheld machine is used, much like having a tattoo, which buzzes, is dipped into pigment and scratches at the surface of the skin. Prior to treatment the skin is cleansed and numbed with a topical cream to make the procedure as comfortable as possible which takes around an hour from start to finish including the consultation, measurements, treatment and receiving the aftercare and information pack. The first time that I had my eyebrows and eyeliner tattooed I was concerned that it may hurt, despite the fact that I have over 40 regular tattoos across my body, but the more you do it the less you notice it. I’ve always had numbing cream for my treatments but at most it feels like trying to scratch an itch when you have false nails on, it’s more a sensation of slight pressure than any pain or discomfort in my opinion. The more times you have it done the more you get used to it and the less it’s even noticeable; now I simply close my eyes and listen to the soothing music throughout my appointment and it’s over in no time.
The difference between an ordinary tattoo and SPMU is the product used to create the results. Regular tattooing uses ink and semi-permanent tattooing uses pigment, the reason for this being that fashion and style changes with time, hair colours switch and big, small or shaped brows will come and go. To have bold black eyebrows with a golden spray tan in your twenties may look ridiculous when you’re slightly less daring in your eighties and require finer hair strokes to replace individual lost hairs so this form of temporary tattooing allows adjustments to be made year on year to ensure the results are always natural and relevant to your lifestyle. There are no templates, permanent fixes or cutting corners – it’s a process that is carefully used and reviewed every 12-18months much like a mobile phone contract.
Prior to treatment you have to remove any makeup around the area, as well as taking out false lashes and contact lenses for eyeliner. Have a good snack beforehand to keep your blood sugar levels up or you may risk fainting or feeling unwell which has thankfully never happened to me. For lip liner treatments if you’re prone to coldsores it’s likely to cause a breakout so take necessary precautions to avoid this, I’ve never had a cold sore so it doesn’t effect my lips at all. Immediately after the treatment the eyebrows, lips and eyeliner will appear very dark and vivid in colour – much like when you get extra dressed up for a night out, it’s not a subtle look. However you shouldn’t panic as this only lasts whilst it’s healing and the colour will fade gradually to it’s final result within 4-6weeks time, lightening most noticeably after a week when the scabs come off. To start with the skin must be kept clean and dry for 48hrs before a healing cream is applied for five days to prevent the scabs from coming off too soon. Much like grazing a knee the skin has been punctured by the fine needle and needs to heal, therefore it’s essential not to pick at it or rub it but to let it come away naturally or it will pull out the pigment and make it heal unevenly. Seeing as pigment is used it darkens the scab to the colour of the eyebrow or liner so that it doesn’t look like a wound, therefore to anyone who sees it you simply appear to be wearing bolder more noticeable makeup.
The treatment typically takes place in two phases whereby the pigment is applied and left to heal to the final colour followed by a second follow up appointment around 4-6wks later to correct and confirm the shape, size and shade as you have time to live with the results and decide if you’d like to make any changes. I always return within 18months for a top-up treatment, or colour-boost as it’s also known, which adds more pigmentation to the skin after it begins to fade and on this occasion I decided to widen my upper eyeliner on the outer edges for more definition as well as combine a powder brow for the body of my brows, blending into individual hair strokes at the middle which is highly fashionable this year. The top-up procedure is simply maintenance and costs less than the original treatment as it takes place in just one session rather than two spaced out between healing; however if you leave it too long between top-ups you may need to start over in order to build up enough pigment in the skin so it’s well worth keeping a check of timings.
Immediately after treatment I’m free to carry on my day as normal and nobody usually notices that I’ve had anything done – aside from having gorgeous dark eyebrows and perfect eyeliner of course. It’s also handy to combine treatments and have multiple procedures done at once as discounts may sometimes be applied for having top and bottom liner together or lips, eyes and brows at the same time. You may think that the colour is too intense and couldn’t possibly get any lighter with healing but it does, it’s just a time to embrace the boldness and accept a little extra sass in your style temporarily – I literally always miss the darkness when it heals and want it back again but having blonde hair I’m happy for my brows to stay a warm brown colour once healed. Like with any tattoo or graze to the skin you should always avoid swimming, sunbathing, taking hot baths and showers or using saunas for 14days to minimise the risk of infection and maximise healing. The inclusive aftercare kit comes with a healing cream similar to Vaseline with a booklet and contact information to explain all aftercare and answer any queries. It’s wise to avoid using rough towels or skincare products on the immediate area and after a few days the scabs will naturally start to fall away revealing the lighter pigment beneath; et voila, perfect, pretty and pristine makeup 24/7 – I’d never be without mine!