Ah, the '90s ... the era of platform shoes, flannel shirts and center hair parts. But one '90s trend — thin, waxed eyebrows—hasn't returned. For people who spent years plucking unwanted hairs, or those who have thinning hair due to age or illness, the makeup trend du jour of full brows is difficult or impossible to achieve.
"After years of waxing, your hair doesn't grow back," says Michelle Martinez, makeup artist and owner of Beso Makeup. "Full brows are such a trend right now — a lot of people with thin or uneven eyebrows want them to look full."
Martinez has offered brow shaping for four years, and this summer she added a new service: hair stroke micropigmentation. In laymen's terms, that's cosmetic tattooing. But there is a world of difference between Martinez's technique, which involves drawing individual hairs using a single needle, and the less subtle approaches of the past.
"With permanent makeup, some people shaved off the hair and filled in the eyebrow completely (with a tattoo). It looks very harsh," Martinez says. "Hairstroke micropigmentation is a new technique that gives you the most realistic eyebrow. I leave the hair and add missing touches wherever your hair is lacking. I match the color to your hair, so it looks like when you get your makeup done."
Eyebrow micropigmentation costs $500, and an appointment lasts two hours, 30-45 minutes of which is spent doing the tattoo. Martinez applies numbing cream to her clients to lessen the pain and gives them a touchup 45 days after the initial session. This way, she can perfect the final result.
"I know some people like dramatic, but I always give them natural brows on the first appointment," says Martinez, who studied visual art at NOCCA. "If they want darker or more dramatic brows, I can do that on the second appointment."
The pigment is semipermanent and remains for up to three years, depending on the client's skin care and type.
"The ink is not permanent," Martinez says. "It's different from tattoo ink and is meant to fade as time goes by."