Don't panic! What to do when your brow tattoo is a disaster

Who doesn’t want to wake up with brows that are always #onfleek? Very few people are blessed with genes that give them perfect brows; the rest of us have to spend quite a bit of time and money looking for the right products and applying them to shape our arches into perfection. And that’s if you’re lucky enough to even have brows to shape - some women have such sparse hair growth that their eyebrows are barely visible or are too short to create a proper arch.

Whether you’re in need of actual eyebrows or just want to be able to head out in the morning without scrambling to get your brows on, eyebrow tattoos are a practical solution to consider. The procedure promises a good set of well-defined brows that require very little to no maintenance that last for about two years. Imagine all the time you could save every morning!

Some real talk, though: not all brow tattoos are created equal. Some people may even cringe at the mention of “brow tattoo”, thinking of all the harsh black or weird green solid blocks of color sported by older ladies who’ve opted to have them permanently tattooed. The technique and technology for eyebrow tattooing has since evolved to something a lot more natural-looking (often called feathering or embroidery) but if you’ve had the misfortune of getting stuck with perpetually bad brows, it’s not the end of the world! We talked to brow tattoo expert and Suesh owner Sheryll Kim (who did great work on Kim’s tattooed brows) and her sister, makeup artist Suzzane Tan, about how to save your brow tattoo disaster.

Photo courtesy of Sheryll Kim

Photo courtesy of Sheryll Kim

Houston, we have a problem

While it’s easy to ditch a bad product or regrow overplucked arches, the permanent or semi-permanent nature of brow tattoos can leave one feeling hopeless. Some experience tattoo mishaps like discoloration, use of the wrong color, multi-tailed brows (more on this later!), improper placement, misshapen or uneven arches, or having a solid stroke of color that looks like you went over your brows with a marker. Discoloration (often once-black ink that has turned green) is particularly common with permanent tattoos as exposure to sunlight and chemicals in skin care can affect the dye. If the tattoo artist doesn’t follow the natural shape of your brows, you may even end up having two brow tails!

Sheryll has seen quite a lot of these mishaps and has had people come to her asking for help with correcting them. Choosing a reliable artist is very important for an alteration that can last a long time. She shares, “If you’re thinking about having your brows tattooed done permanently, you have to ask past clients about their experience and see the finished look. It's bad enough to have a semi-permanent tattoo that looks wrong, and it's worst for those who have it done permanently. Bad brow tattoos are very easy to spot when they're not done properly or the shape is not right for the face.”

Courtesy of Sheryll Kim

Courtesy of Sheryll Kim

Get your fix

Just like dark circles and ugly zits, makeup is a great lifesaver. “Concealing should do the trick, or drawing over the tattoo,” says Sheryll. Suzzane recommends using concealer correctors (like these affordable pots from Suesh) to cover it up, and applying dimensional eyebrow makeup. To make it all come together, she recommends, “Choose the closest color to the tattoo, or a shade darker to conceal the old tattoo.”

If you’re looking for a more lasting solution, you may be able to cover it up with a new tattoo. For errors that aren’t too glaring or tattoos that are fairly light, color correction may be done to cover up the old tattoo. But if you’re worried about another mishap, your best option is to have the permanent tattoo removed via laser in skin care clinics.

Semi-permanent brow tattoos, like the ones done by Sheryll, are a bit easier to deal with. Suzzane says, “You can opt to have skin peeling to quicken the fading.” Since you can’t correct errors like wrong placement, solid lines, or an obvious failure in color matching by simply putting another tattoo over it, you have to get rid of the previous one first. However, it should be taken into consideration that this takes time as the treatments are done in sessions. “Usually, it would require around 5 to 10 sessions, depending on the how the tattoo has faded. The rate per session is roughly P5,000 per session,” says Sheryll. If you’re still up for a brow tattoo job after the removal, it’s best to get the go-signal from your specialist first before scheduling another tattoo session.

Tips for those taking the plunge

Deciding to get your brows tattooed shouldn’t be 5-minute decision as it can last for a few years. The consequences of a bad tattoo job can also be both traumatizing and costly. After all, didn’t you want to get them to make your life easier? If you’re emotionally (and financially) ready to go under the needle, take note of the following tips:

  • Consider your age and skin sensitivity. Sheryll recommends being 18 or older before having your brows tattooed as younger people have more sensitive skin and may have a negative reaction to the dyes or process.
  • Let your brow hairs grow. It’s tricky to see what shape your brows really are if they’ve been drastically plucked and shaped. Leave them alone until it’s time to have them tattooed so your tattoo artist will know how to design your tattoo.
  • If you have colored hair, decide on how long you’ll be keeping your hair color. Otherwise, it may be wise to stick a brow tattoo that matches your real shade.
  • Ask and research. Go online for rants and raves of the service you’re eyeing, not counting celebrity reviews that may actually be endorsements. Since different artists may use different techniques, Sheryll advises, “It pays to do a some research on the procedure. Consultations are usually free, so you can talk to the eyebrow tattooist if you have any questions or reservations”.
  • Really, really think about it! After doing your research, take a night or two to decide if you actually want to have your brows tattooed. Don’t get swayed by promos or service discounts that pressure you to purchase before you’re actually ready.

Have you had your brows tattooed? Ever thought of considering such procedure? Tell us your brow story in the comments below!