Chances are, unless you've spent as much time googling how to get bolder brows as I have, you've never heard of eyebrow embroidery. While this procedure — also known as cosmetic tattooing, semi-permanent makeup, pigment embroidery, 3-D eyebrow embroidery, or microblading — is quite common in Singapore and Malaysia, it hasn't quite caught on here in the United States.
When you think of eyebrow tattoos, you probably think of those straight lines, often bluish-gray or some other weird color, that look like they were drawn on with a crayon. That's not what they are. Eyebrow embroidery is semi-permanent pigment that's pushed into the surface of the skin with a fine blade to mimic the growth of your already existing hair (if there is any, that is) and create bolder, natural-looking brows. This requires no tattoo gun, no ink, and no bleeding or downtime — in fact, it looks best when a pro does it by hand. When it's done right — like the work of the now Instagram-famous cosmetic tattoo artist Shaughnessy Keely (disclaimer: she's completely booked) — you can hardly believe it's not real hair. Sounds too good to be true, right?
I first came across eyebrow embroidery on one of my many searches for a permanent solution to filling in my brows. Though they tend to have a nice shape, my eyebrows are naturally thin and faint (thanks, genetics!). I guess not everyone can have natural Cara Delevingne brows. But with the right products from Anastasia Beverly Hills, I was able to fill them in daily in a natural-looking way.
My friends and coworkers would never have guessed they weren't my real brows — in fact, I got almost daily compliments on my dark arches. Only I knew that they'd wash off in the shower at the end of the day, to be filled in the next morning to face the world again. I didn't even go to yoga or the beach without my brows colored in. Ex-boyfriends have teased me, saying, "Come on, go put your brows on." So when I stumbled upon Tina Lee Skin Care on Yelp, I knew I had to find out what this procedure was all about — and, of course, that meant trying it myself.
But that didn't come without endless research and months of hesitation, reading tons of reviews, looking for before-and-afters, and searching for anything that could assure me I wasn't insane for wanting to go under the knife to achieve perfect eyebrows. The only people I told that I was doing this were my mom and my best friend. Everyone else would've just called me crazy.
The truth is, I started to understand why some women decide to go for that nose job or boob job — there comes a point when you can't take an insecurity any longer, especially if you know that there's a safe alternative available. Here's hoping that my experience can cut down on someone else's weeks of questioning and second-guessing, because this is the real deal.
Read on to see exactly what it means to get your brows tattooed.