beauty

TRIED & TESTED: "I got my eyebrows tattooed with a freehand blade. Here's how it went."

Mamamia’s Tried and Tested series is your review of the latest to hit our desks in beauty, health and wellness. You won’t find any #sponsored content here, just honest, relatable and independent advice. This week, Lifestyle Writer Charlotte Begg tried eyebrow tattooing. 

Until this year, I've never really thought about my brows.

I've gotten them waxed maybe twice and I'll pluck the stray hairs whenever they get out of hand (I know... you shouldn't really pluck.)

And every day, I'll fill them in with some brow powder and brush through clear gel. That's about it.

Watch: Here's how to do a brown smokey eye to pair with filled-out brows. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

But even though it's a minimal process, I spend far too long doing it. So I was intrigued about what I could do to simplify things even further.

A few months back, owner of KOHL Beauty, Colette Weston, offered for me to try her freehand brow tattooing treatment. And I couldn't say yes fast enough.

It's cut my morning routine in half and makes me look way more put together when I go makeup free. 

Before I share the before after after pics, here's a quick explainer of exactly what the treatment is and what you need to know.

1. What is the KOHL Beauty brow?

The treatment I went for at KOHL Beauty is Colette's freehand fill. It's one of three brow options at her salon.

"There's freehand ($595) - which focuses on filling out smaller areas of sparseness in the brow. Generally good for people with thick brows already, but who who want some areas filled out a bit more," Colette explained to Mamamia.

"Signature brow ($695) is our mid-level treatment and is most commonly needed. It uses our freehand design technique where we add stroke work into the brow that mimics your natural hair flow but the strokes we add are custom designed to create brow trickery," she continued. 

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"We add it as an optical illusion in the brow to enhance fullness and improve balance and synergy between the brows. The difference between signature and freehand is the amount or type of work that is needed. We often see clients who have spent years over-plucking (hello '90s brow) who need more work to restore what would have been there if we hadn’t succumbed to the tadpole brow trend. 

It can also be for where strokes are needed throughout the whole brow rather than just one or two small areas which we could fill using our freehand fill."

Finally, you've got the complete brow ($795).

"This is our highest level and is for clients who have very little to no brow at all. We often see clients who have suffered a medical condition such as alopecia or are post-chemo, and opt for this," Colette said.

2. How does the eyebrow tattooing work?

Colette's style of brow tattooing is vastly different from anything I've seen on the market. 

Typically, brow tattooing can look quite unnatural and heavy on the brows. And usually, it's done with a stencil or pattern.

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Colette doesn't use either, but instead, uses a tiny blade to individually apply strokes of tattoo to mimic your natural hairs. So she basically adds extra hairs in the areas where they are sparse or missing.

The design will differ on each client as no two brows are the same, and the treatment is done over two sessions so that the brows can look as natural as possible. 

3. How long does eyebrow tattooing last?

The eyebrow tattooing can last from six to 12 months depending on your age, the design you decide to get done, how much hair you naturally have and how you care for the tattoo.

For freehand clients, it's generally 12 to 18 months. For signature, it will last around 12 months. And complete brows will need touch-ups between six to 12 months. 

4. What’s the aftercare for eyebrow tattooing?

Caring for brow tattooing is fairly straightforward. But you need to follow the rules so they don't fade.

During the first two weeks, it's imperative they're kept dry. Therefore, no gym sessions, swimming or saunas during this time. KOHL also provide an antimicrobial ointment to apply. 

Besides that, don't touch them and let them heal! 

5. Are there any risks or side effects?

With most beauty treatments including this one, there will be risks depending on where you go. 

If your artist is unexperienced, you could get the wrong shape or colour. Or worse, they could cut the skin too deep, which can lead to discoloured ink, scarring or infection.

So make sure to choose your artist wisely and read plenty of reviews and recommendations first.

"Undoing a tattoo is so much harder so never rush your decision to get it done. Make sure you connect with your artist and you’re comfortable they understand your brow brief. If not, don’t do it or I'll probably be seeing you for a pretty painful removal," Colette said.

My eyebrow tattooing before and after.

Now that's out of the way, here's what happened when I got my brows tattooed by Colette.

My eyebrows are naturally very light in colour and pretty sparse around the edges. I usually make them darker and fill in the empty areas. So I went in to get the freehand fill to fix that. 

Going into the treatment, I was pretty excited and calm. I didn't really register that this was the first tattoo I was getting (sorry mum) and it was going on my face. 

On my way with my makeup free brows! Image: Supplied.

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When I arrived, Colette and I discussed what I was getting done, I chose the colour that I wanted (a light brown, nothing too dramatic) and she applied the numbing cream. 

(It was about now that I realised that I was getting a tattoo with a blade. On my face.)

I'm exciting but quietly freaking out. Image: Supplied.

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After that, she got me to lie down on the bed and we got ready to begin! 

The whole process took just under two hours and I'll be honest, it was a little sore. Basically, Colette would cut strokes into my eyebrows and then pour dye into them. The cutting of the blade was a little painful (probably 3/10 on the pain scale) but the worst part was the sound of the blade cutting on my face. Think fingers scratching on a chalkboard. Not nice.

Here are some photos of the whole process.

My brows before. Image: Tahnee White.

The slicing begins. Image: Tahnee White.

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Adding strokes on one side, while the other marinates in dye. Image: Tahnee White.

The strokes that mimic my natural brow hair. Image: Tahnee White.

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After the process, my brows looked quite dark and striking in person. But nothing too crazy or shocking.

My boyfriend picked me up from appointment and said they looked great (he would tell me if they looked terrible, I promise) and we went to the shops. They weren't red or sore at all.

My brows immediately after. Image: Supplied.

In the week following the tattoo, my brows were pain-free. There was no redness and I felt completely comfortable going out in public. The only time they looked a little hectic was when they started scabbing from day seven to 10. 

They were also a little dark for the first few weeks (which is totally normal) but again, nothing crazy.

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My brows when they started scabbing. Image: Supplied.

Four weeks later, I was back in the chair to see Colette for my touch-ups. It took less than an hour and she just added some extra strokes. 

This time, I knew there would be a tiny bit of pain so I was ready for it. But surprisingly, it didn't hurt! 

Here's me while they're healing (for the second time) wearing makeup, but nothing on my brows. Image: Supplied.

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My brows now (with only clear brow gel). Image: Supplied.

Final verdict.

All in all, I love my brows now. They require absolutely no effort in the morning (I'll reach for my clear brow gel and sometimes my tinted eyebrow mascara if I want something a little darker) and look full and fluffy.

Personally, I love how this has shortened my everyday makeup routine by cutting out my eyebrows, and makes me look put together with zero effort.

I do have to acknowledge that eyebrow tattooing is pricey, but considering how much time and energy it's saved me, I think it's worth it. Would I do it again? Absolutely. 

As someone who goes makeup-free basically all of summer besides filling in my brows, this has eliminated that and made my life a little easier.

It's been a total game changer. 

You can catch up on more from our tried and tested series here:

Feature image: Supplied.

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