Image: A Current Affair/Channel 9 (screengrab).
So when a beauty salon in Brisbane offered to permanently tattoo her eyebrows, eyeliner and lip liner for just $300 — a treatment that can easily cost upwards of $2000 — she leapt at the chance.
At the beginning of her appointment the 49-year-old mum requested a “light” and “very natural-looking” result, even demonstrating her desired look with makeup.
However, when Malargic emerged from the Slacks Creek establishment she could barely recognise herself. “When I saw my face in the mirror, it [was] terrible. I look like a clown,” she recalled during an episode of A Current Affair last week.
“Is this natural? No.”
The first indication Malargic had that the tattooing wasn’t quite right came seven hours into her treatment. She caught a glimpse of her reflection in a mirror and was shocked to see that her eyeliner tattoos were uneven — one eye was straight, while the other was “dropped”.
Watch: Meghan Ramsay explains the effects of low self-esteem. (Post continues after video.)
She also recalled being in “terrible pain” throughout her appointment, and claimed the therapist squirted an unknown liquid in her eyes that caused them to become swollen and sore.
However, when the tattoo practitioner offered to re-do the lopsided eyeliner free of charge, Malargic accepted — and another seven hours later, she was horrified by the final result.
Her distress is understandable. As you can see, the thick eyeliner sits well beneath her natural waterline, the lip liner is patchy, and the inked eyebrows are severe and unnatural.
When performed correctly, permanent makeup can look subtle and natural. Unfortunately, however, Mary Malargic is not the first customer to receive a botched job.
Just last year, two cases from the UK received worldwide media coverage — one woman had effectively been left with "four eyebrows", while another was devastated when her request for light, feathered eyebrow tattoos resulted in two solid black lines being inked on her face.
These are extreme cases, of course, but the lack of industry regulation here in Australia could raise the risk of unsatisfactory results.
As cosmetic tattooist Evelyn Orford told A Current Affair last night, practitioners who perform cosmetic tattoos in this country are not required to have a tattooist license.
"There is a lot of this unskilled, inexperienced work that's being done, and it is leaving people quite disfigured in some ways," she added.
For this reason — along with the fact that laser tattoo removal is expensive — it's vital to have a consultation with a cosmetic tattooist before undergoing any treatments.
Orford also recommends finding a practitioner whose work is focused on cosmetic tattoos, rather than offering a huge range of services.
Have you ever had permanent makeup? What was your experience like?