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Is Permanent Makeup Right for You?


Article by Karen Kwong

Photography by Karen Kwong & Provided

Are you obsessed with your eyebrows? According to the experts, eyebrows are one of a person’s most prominent facial features and serve many functions, such as accentuate the eyes, shape the face, and play a powerful role in communication (source: New York Institute of Beauty).

Not everyone is born with perfect eyebrows and some's eyebrows might be overplucked (such as mine). Eyebrows need routine care - trimming, shaping, filling. As we age, our eyebrows might also appear to be thinner and lighter.

It takes skills to draw pleasing looking eyebrows. I am not a makeup person and I am always on the go. My morning routine with respect to eyebrows drawing has always been a hit or miss. On a bad day, I even had to completely remove my brow gel and redraw, and it would only get worse when I was in a hurry. I therefore started looking at the microblading option. It is definitely much more costly to invest in microblading versus buying brow care products. Microblading is considered a permanent makeup (although it does fade over time) and invasive procedure. I therefore also had many concerns - can I trust the esthetician? Will it hurt? Will I get infections? Will my brows look natural?

Early March this year just before NJ's pandemic lockdown, I received a booking from Beauty Bar by Bebe to photograph a microblading process for advertising purpose. I learned so much from this shoot and it helped answering many of my concerns. I also liked how the results came out on her model. After we reopened in June, I immediately got on a microblading appointment with Bebe.

Beauty Bar by Bebe, located in East Brusnwick, NJ near the Midstate Mall, was founded by Bebe Le based on the ideals of empowerment and inspiration.

Bebe is a dynamic, artistic and very versatile lady with over 10 years of professional experience in the beauty industry. She is a licensed and insured cosmetologist and a certified permanent makeup and microblading specialist. During the quarantine she also earned her "Barbicide" certification for understanding of proper sanitation and disinfection practices and procedures consistent with the current highest industry standards; and completed the topic of "COVID-19" by the AACC Learning Lab for Laboratory Medicine on NEJM Knowledge+. The beauty bar also successfully completed the infection prevention training. Her operation complies with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards and adheres to strict safety regulations.

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Every person should feel confident, beautiful, and empowered. I am passionate about transforming lives through the art of makeup, and love to spread my love for makeup and cosmetics to all of my clients. All of my work is based on the art of making you look radiant. Makeup is truly an art form, and I have been transforming my clients into absolutely stunning art. It took years of practice before I decided to take that leap and start my own business. - Bebe

Above: Bebe (left) and Me (right) during my microblading appointment

The Microblading Process

COVID-19 safety guidelines are put into place during the new norms. I was advised to go to my appointment alone without any guests. Prior to the visit, I was sent a COVID-19 survey to fill out. On the day of the appointment, I was instructed to wait in my car until called and wear a mask at all times. Once admitted into the beauty bar, my temperature was taken with a non-contact infrared thermometer then I was asked to wash my hands thoroughly.

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Above: Bebe in her "COVID-19 uniform"

I was given very detailed information regarding the procedure prior to start, such as what to expect, how to care for it, what to avoid, and what to do if infection, although very rare, occurs.

Majority part of the appointment is to make sure the eyebrows design, such as color and shape, is agreed by the client. I was unable to photograph my own appointment, so I am using pictures from my photoshoot back in March to show you the process (please note that these pictures, taken before the NJ lockdown, do not reflect the current COVID-19 safety guidelines).

The actual microblading procedure itself is much less painful and more tolerable than I anticipated. Numbing cream can be re-applied upon request.

This technique (I'm using) enhances the appearance of eyebrows with thin and defined hair strokes, creating natural and fuller-looking brows. This differs from conventional techniques which can create a solid, unnatural drawn on' look. - Bebe

I immediately fell in love with the new brow look. Bebe is a true artist. She designed a fuller look and shaped my eyebrows in a way that it balances my face and flatters my eyes. I looked instantly more refined. And most importantly, the design suits my personality.

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The Heeling Period

It is important to understand that special care is needed in the first 3 to 4 weeks after the initial microblading appointment. You should avoid water in the first 24 hours, avoid exercise and sauna in the first 2 weeks, avoid direct sunlight, pool and beach, and avoid rubbing/applying chemical products (face wash, makeup).

The first day or two you might feel some dull pain on the brows. Just try your best and distract yourself from paying attention to that area. The eyebrows will appear to be much darker in the first week. It reminded me of the "angry bird" character. Then you will notice peeling as well as lightening of the brows. You might feel tingling and itching sensation. Apply water to keep the area moist helps with relieving the itchiness. Peeling will occur and dead skin will fall off naturally. Do not force them. The key is to refrain yourself from touching the brow areas with your hands as much as possible. This can help prevent infections and allow the brows to heal properly.

The Touchup Appointment

A 6 week follow-up appointment is highly recommended. During this appointment Bebe will examine the heeling and touch up any spots that would further enhance the look. It is a much shorter appointment. Heeling period follows the same care but will be much shorter as well.

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Microblading, also known as Micro-pigmentation, has a softer, more natural look than you might think! I am glad I got it done for my eyebrows. It was the right decision for me. It helps to eliminate the hassle of drawing my eyebrows every morning. What could be better than waking up in the morning looking as good as you did in the evening before? Think of the time you could save too!

Microblading can also be done on the lip and eyeliner. Never worry about smeared makeup again if you accidently rub your eyes or scratch an eyebrow. You can enjoy eating and drinking without having to reapply lipstick! If you suffer from allergies and frequently smeared makeup due to itchy or watery eyes, permeant makeup is a great solution. It's also a great alternative if you have allergies or sensitivities to cosmetics. If you are a working professional whose work precludes wearing makeup, an athlete, or have poor vision or an unsteady hand which makes makeup application difficult, permanent makeup is also right for you!

You can visit Beauty Bar by Bebe's website and follow them on Instagram and Facebook to learn more about their services. Besides permanent eyebrow, eyeliner, and lip makeup, Bebe also offers keratin lash lift and special event makeup service.

They say now "brows are the new lips". Are you ready for a change?

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Photos in this article are either taken by Karen or provided by Bebe.