Cosmetic tattooing has been around in the Philippines since the '80s. These days, the technology has improved to make the process more bearable, and the results, more natural looking. Cosmetic tattoo services include permanent lip color and gloss, permanent eyeliner, and eyebrow tattooing, the most popular of the three. We spoke to three different women who had their eyebrows done and here are their stories.
Angela, 33, bank VP
Service Done: Permanent Eyebrow Tattoo
Where: Pretty Looks Aesthetic Center
“My eyebrows have always been too light and I look completely different without eyebrow makeup. I never leave home without putting them on, which takes about 5-10 minutes. It’s time consuming, considering that I’m always in a rush when I leave for work in the morning. When I go to the beach, I don’t really have nice pictures because my eyebrows still get washed out despite the waterproof makeup.
I didn’t want to get a traditional tattoo like our lolas and titas have. Last year I went to Pretty Looks for the “s3 eyebrow stranding,” where the ink goes only to the first layer of the skin and it looks very natural. I talked to the technician about how I wanted my eyebrows to look. I was very specific and asked them to practice with an eyebrow pencil first so I could review what they intended to draw before the real thing.
They walked me through the procedure, explained that it would be very dark for about 3-5 days until the ink peeled off, and then it would look normal. I was instructed not to touch or scratch it. They put topical anesthesia for half an hour, and then started putting ink and filling in my eyebrows.
The whole process took about an hour. The anesthesia helped, but I still felt some light pricks. It was a little sore after, but not uncomfortable and no scarring. After it was done, they gave me an after-care pamphlet and antibacterial ointment, which you need to put for a week after the procedure. I got the middle-ranked technician for P17,000, and I paid only for the first visit. The succeeding two touch-ups were free. I’m very happy with the results!”
Joy, 65, retired schoolteacher
Service Done: Permanent Eyebrow Tattoo
Where: At a salon in the US
“I had this procedure done way back in 2003. I wear eyeglasses and can’t see without them, so I could no longer do my eyebrow makeup properly because I needed to take off my glasses in order to do the eyebrow makeup. Get my dilemma? So I decided to have my eyebrows permanently tattooed. The aesthetician first showed me a draft of what she will do with my brows. The whole process cost $400 (about P19,000) and took two hours. She first rubbed my brows with anesthesia. After it took effect, she started pricking my eyebrows with a needle that had black ink. Every time she pricked, she was ready with a cotton ball for wiping in case it bled. I didn’t feel anything because of the anesthesia. There was no scar after. The next few days I had to wipe the tattoo with baby oil to sooth the scabs. It’s now 2016 and I’m still happy with my eyebrow tattoo!”
Chrissy, 27, call center agent
Service done: 3D Eyebrow Shading
Where: The Eyebrowdery
“I got so tired of sharpening my eyebrow pencils and reapplying eyebrow makeup, but I didn’t want to get permanent eyebrow tatts. I heard so many horror stories where girls’ eyebrow tattoos turned red or green after a while, so to be on the safe side, I went for semi-permanent ones. The Eyebrowdery gave me a patch test first to see if my skin got any allergic reactions. When everything was okay, I started with the 1.5-hour procedure. They traced the sparse spots in my eyebrows with hair-like pigments to make it look natural and not too drawn-on. There was some discomfort—the pricking felt like mosquito bites. It’s been almost a year since that procedure, and I’m quite happy with the results. My eyebrow game is always strong! They told me this would last for 2-5 years. The procedure cost me P25,000.”
1. Decide: Permanent or semi-permanent?
Do your research about both types of procedures and ask for advice from friends who have done it. If you’re ready for the lifetime commitment, go for a permanent tattoo. If not, try the semi-permanent eyebrow tatt, which will last 2-5 years. For permanent cosmetic tatts, we found Pretty Looks, Permanent Makeup Philippines, Centro Aesthetica, and Ellen’s Skin Care. For semi-permanent eyebrow tatts, try Browhaus.
2. Choose your shape and shade wisely.
Your eyebrow shape will make or break your look. Your eyebrow arch and thickness should depend on your face shape and features, while the shade should complement your hair color. Be very specific with your shape, thickness, and shade. Ask the aesthetician to draw a draft on your brows using an eyebrow pencil first, so that you could see if you are happy with the look before going for the final prick. Remember that it’s your face. Even with suggestions from aestheticians, you have the final say on your look.
3. Choose a reputable salon or aesthetic center.
Read up on the reviews before spending your hard-earned money. We’ve heard horror stories about girls whose eyebrow tatts turned red or green after a few months, or were unevenly drawn—eep!
4. Follow the post-care guidelines.
The aesthetician will give you a list of do’s and don’ts, such as avoiding wetting, rubbing, and scratching the tattooed area. Follow these precautions religiously to avoid unnecessary scarring and infection.
5. Touch-ups are normal.
Don’t fret if you have to come back to touch up a light tatt. Most aesthetic centers don’t charge extra for post-tatt touch-ups.
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