eyebrow tattooing: hairstroke process

I was not blessed with thick eyebrows, and had the misfortune of growing up in the 90s when pencil-thin brows were all the rage. It was around this time that I plucked the crap out of my brows–my grandma has pictures that make me absolutely cringe–and they never grew back. A few years ago, I tried RapidLash, which didn’t work, then Latisse, which also didn’t work (turns out that you have to have active follicles for the hair to grow, and I had killed mine). I tried to learn how to fill them in, but I just couldn’t get it, no matter how many tutorials I tried.

These are my natural, unfilled brows before, thin, sparse, and very rounded:


This is my attempt at filling them in (before I really “got it”); better, but still very round and too far back:


So then I took a trip to see Christina at Siren & Proper in Grand Rapids, MI. She was wonderful and extremely talented–she gave me exactly what I had been wanting:


Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, I could just not figure out how the hell to fill in my poor brows, so back to number two I went. One miraculous day, I came across a post on one of the makeup subreddits about a new eyebrow tattooing process called hairstroke. Rather than using a tattoo gun, the technician uses a scalpel to make individual cuts to mimic hairs and then fills them in with custom-blended tattoo ink. After some (lots of) research, I made an appointment with Tina at SereniTee in Jenison, Michigan.

The process with Tina is to have a consultation, but because I was driving about an hour to get there, we rolled that and the first appointment into one. I knew I wanted this, and I’d done a ton of research, know my skin, and have tattoos already, so I was comfortable doing the procedure immediately.

The process started with Tina having me sit in front of her while she marked my face with a brow pencil. I like my brows pretty angular, so she sketched out that area and then spent a while measuring with mini calipers to get the arches at the same height, the spacing between right, all that fun stuff. After that, she used a little sharp brush to lightly scratch the surface around my brows and applied a numbing cream and let that sit for a while. After that sat, she started with the scalpel, making several cuts on each side and then applying more numbing cream.

Let me say here that the numbing cream worked on one side and not the other, and there’s a pretty big difference. It set in on the one side toward the end, which was pretty useless.

So, after the first appointment, I looked like this:


Now, they’re obviously the wrong color here. It can be hard to match my hair color because the hair on my head leans red and gold in direct light, but looks ashier otherwise. Because my natural brows are so sparse, it can be hard to tell what color they are. We went back and fixed the color at the follow up appointment five weeks later, making the pigment greener, which sounds scary, but green cancels out the red. The picture on the right is while they’re healing, so they have some Aquaphor on them.

After about a week, they’re healed up and ready to go; Tina uses a barrier cream at the end, which will flake off over the week. It does look kind of weird up close, but once the barrier is gone, the tattoo marks have softened and blend in to the hair to look more natural. I recently did a touch up appointment, and this is what they look like healed up now, (third appointment), prior to putting on makeup:


And after!


No regrets! It really does make a huge difference, in the way that I look and the way that my makeup looks. I use NYX Tame ‘n’ Frame pomade with the Anastasia Beverly Hills #7 brush and the NYX Micro Brow pencil if need be.

At the end of the day. I absolutely recommend having this done if you need it. Make sure you do your research, look through pictures, read reviews, go to the consultations, until you find the place that really speaks to you.

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