The actual procedure to tattoo eyebrows can be an exciting but nervous experience. For some, it might be seen as a positive step towards a new life, a new outlook, and an opportunity to change the way you feel about yourself. Others might feel a little more skeptical. This information will help prepare you for what to expect before, during, and immediately after the procedure in an attempt alleviate any concerns, and help make the experience of permanent makeup application as smooth, comfortable, and successful as possible.
Phase 1: Before You Go/ Pre-Preparation
In preparation of your appointment, there a few simple suggestions that will help decrease the risk of problems, infection, or poor results later on.
- Make sure you have clean skin. As an invasive procedure, it is essential to clean the face and brow areas thoroughly to limit any possibility of bacterial infection.
- Do not pluck or wax the area for at least 3 days before your procedure to tattoo eyebrows. Again, any irritation could create an increased risk for infection. Also, the area will be sensitive and swollen after application, so to have broken or sore skin will ensure a miserable experience.
- Electrolysis should not be performed on the eyebrows for a week prior. This will create severe sensitivity in the area.
- Do not wear eye makeup. Tattoo ink smears as its applied, and wearing any make up at all complicates the procedure and increases the possibility of poor results.
- Do not dye your brows before this procedure for several days. The artist needs to see where the eyebrow hair is actually sparse, and dying obscures those areas which increases the risk of incomplete coverage.
Phase 2: Prior To The Procedure
Communication is key! As such, a conversation with your certified permanent cosmetic professional (CPCP) before the procedure is essential. The two main points to focus on are color and shape of the permanent eyebrow.
- Color – A critically important aspect of your discussion when deciding to tattoo eyebrows is color. Color should be carefully selected mutually, based on age, skin type, hair tone, and of course, personal preference. Experienced cosmetic artists should already have a good grasp of what colors are appropriate.
- Shape – If you have a specific shape in mind, it is also a good idea to discuss this with your tattoo artist first. She/he should be happy to follow your guidelines. If you feel more comfortable letting the artist create a shape for you, ask to see what she plans to do first. You do not want to surprised or horrified at the shape she has tattooed. Communicate first and save the headaches.
Lastly, make sure you discuss goals, types of instruments to be used, the techniques she/he will be applying, types of inks to be used, and desired expectations, to see if you are both on the same page. A good technician will listen to the client’s ideas and input, and do what they can to alleviate any fears or concerns.
Phase 3: In Office Preparation For The Procedure
The preparation for the procedure includes a “trial run,” where the technician will draw the proposed brow design onto the brow for the client to approve. Different facial features and eye shapes will be analyzed to help determine these designs. The client should be entirely content with color shape and position, before committing to any work. Because all corrections and mistakes need to be assessed during this eyebrow designing phase, it can be the most time consuming aspect of the entire eyebrow tattoo procedure. Well crafted shape and design can not only help enhance your eyes, but bring out overall facial features as well.
The next step is cleaning and numbing of the skin on and around the eyebrows. First a cleanser is used to wipe any excess grime, dirt, or makeup away. As mentioned, this prevents infection. A numbing cream is then applied directly onto the tattoo area and around the perimeter of the eyebrows. The cream needs about 10-15 minutes to take effect. This will help control what is called the “flinch and squeeze” brow reflex. Your CPCP will then wipe it off and the tattoo process begins.
Phase 4: During The Procedure
When the actual tattooing takes place, a small sterile needle is secured into the tattoo gun, and the motor is powered up. Tattoo ink loads differently depending on the type of tattoo gun used. Some instruments might require dipping the ink directly into the ink dispenser before application, while others have a preloaded ink cartridge inserted into the gun itself (others still might use the Tebori technique popularized in Japan ). The vibrating tattoo needle is then pressed into the eyebrow area while small amounts of ink are injected or “tapped” into the skin (top dermis layer). The sensation varies from person to person depending on several factors including age, skin type, pain tolerance, type of technique being applied, type of equipment being used, effectiveness of the numbing agent/ topical anesthetic, and the quality of the CPCP you choose. For those with a low pain tolerance, a tattoo feels like a series of repetitive rapid fire pin pricks (not unlike eyebrow plucking). For others with a higher pain tolerance, the feeling is more of an uncomfortable buzzing than anything else. The sensation is strange, especially in the eyebrow area, and especially for those who have never experienced tattooing before, but remember, the area should be mostly numb, and any pain or discomfort, if all other factors are in order, should be minimal and completely tolerable.
After completing one side of your face, the tattoo artist should give you a chance to view the work with a handheld mirror and ask for your suggestions. Make sure to communicate with constructive criticism, and give her/him your honest input. Assuming you have established good communication, which is highly recommended, your specialist should be open and willing to accommodate you. If all is satisfactory, she/he will move on and complete the job. In total, the entire procedure should take about 1-2 hours.
Phase 5: Immediately After The Procedure
Be aware that the brand new ink from a fresh tattoo will appear extremely dark, so don’t be surprised. Over time, the pigment will soften and settle into the appropriate shade. Also, it is highly likely that you will experience some skin sensitivity, redness and swelling for about 1-2 days. You might consider an over the counter pain reliever to help you get through. During the initial healing period, make sure you give the eyebrows approximately three weeks to heal and set, and limit any physical activity (like swimming or saunas) or exposure to direct sunlight that might cause premature fading. All tattoos carry the inherent risk of infection and/or allergic reaction, if pain or tenderness persists for longer that a few days, consult your doctor and CPCP immediately. Lastly, don’t forget to tip your eyebrow tattoo artist, especially if you are happy with their work.
Phase 6: Touch Up Procedure
After approximately 4 – 8 weeks, your eyebrows will have mostly healed during the “shedding” or “scabbing” process. As a result, the initial intensity and thickness will fade, and the desired color shade will start appearing. At this point, you should schedule a “touch up” procedure to fill in any areas needing correction or modification. This follow up appointment should be free of charge, so make sure you discuss it with your permanent eyebrow technician before any work is done, and include it in the initial cost.