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Permanent Hair Removal

Semi-permanent make-up

A quick peruse through Instagram’s #semipermanentmakeup, #permanentmakeup, and #micropigmentation hashtags are all it takes to realise that cosmetic tattoos are having a renaissance.

Hot off the heels of microblading’s global success, treatments such as microfeathering, lip blushes and, lately. 

“People don’t want to spend more than five to 10 minutes applying make-up – especially pencilling or powdering – and it can only look so natural,” explains LA brow guru Kristie Streicher, whose pioneering The Feathered Brow treatment has seen her tend to the brows of Gwyneth Paltrow and Adele.

“With semi-permanent make-up, it limits the process to roughly once a year and offers the most natural-looking results.”

What Is Microblading?

But it isn’t just the promise of saved time driving the trend: techniques, tools, and even the inks used have all improved drastically. As renowned permanent-make-up artist Karen Betts, whose subtle touch means she’s go-to for everything from scar reduction to imperceptible lip colour, explains.

“It means people can throw away their palettes and pencils, but for me, the main reason popularity has risen down to the skillset so many artists now have – not to mention the amazing pigments.” (Karen’s own KB Pro Pigments range is widely used worldwide.) Results, she says, are now “incredibly realistic”.

“The cosmetic-tattoo industry is evolving every month,” agrees Amy Jean, Naomi Campbell’s semi-permanent-make-up guru. “The tattooing of yesteryear was a solid block of colour that would last well over ten years, but we’ve now turned to ‘topical’ methods that allow for fading and clients to alter the colour or shape every 12 to 18 months.

This is because old ink contained titanium dioxide that the body broke down, leading to horrid tones of pink, green and blue. But all of that has gone now thanks to the new generation of organic pigments.”

Lashes

What to ask for: While semi-permanent eyeliner is popular, the latest trend is to have tiny micro-droplets of pigment nestled in between each lash to give the appearance of thick, fluttery lashes. “It creates an undetectable definition for your eyes,” says Amy Jean.

What to expect: The tattoo machine used is incredibly gentle. According to Betts, “it uses light vibrations, so it feels more like an electric toothbrush”. Even so, eyes may feel sore afterwards, so don’t do it en route to a party. Also, like brows, they need to be kept dry for at least 48 hours afterwards.

Brows

What to ask for: Microblading (the catch-all phrase for individually tattooed hair strokes) is continuously spawning new techniques. Ones to look for include microfeathering – “It mimics native hair,” says Streicher, “so gaps and sparsely covered areas can be filled in, resulting in the most natural look possible” – and ombré – “where the brow is slightly more faded towards the front of the face and sharper towards the arch to add depth,” explains London brow queen Suman Jalaf.

What to expect: Thanks to numbing creams, most people say it’s similar to very light scratching (be warned: you can hear the blade). There’s no formal downtime, although it depends from person to person, and brows should be kept dry for at least two days – which is tricky. Also, don’t panic if they look too dark at first – the colour fades as they heal, and the results last for about a year.

Lips

What to ask for: ’90s liner has evolved into full-lip blushes. “Replacing lip’s lost border gives a more youthful appearance,” says Betts. “It’s also a great way to create the illusion of a fuller pout without injections while leaving a beautiful hue, so you don’t need lipstick,” enthuses Kait Paige from NYC’s Boom Boom Brow Bar.

What to expect: Lip blushes get their name thanks to a dark shade around the lip line blended with a softer shade in the middle with almost no colour in the centre. Expect tenderness afterwards, but aftercare is minimal: refrain from touching lips and regularly apply an antiseptic cream.

Beauty Spots

What to ask for: Backstage artists such as Charlotte Tilbury and tanning guru Nichola Joss have been recreating sun-kissed freckles for the past few seasons, and the new Duchess of Sussex’s “Markle Sparkle” has only increased the trend. “I’m so excited about freckle tattoos,” says Paige.

“They are inherently youthful, and what a great way to get freckles without the sun damage.”

What to expect: Check the pattern by making sure the freckles are drawn on first and be ready to perfect a prudent showering technique to keep them dry for a week. Peels should be avoided for six weeks before treatment, and refrain from taking blood-thinning medications and fish oils to prevent bruising.

BY AMY WILSON WYLES

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