The full article…
I was asked a few weeks ago to write an article for Things & Ink magazine, this was issue #2, The Face Issue. The article was to emphasize what cosmetic tattooing can do for people, the benefits, what difference it can make to people’s lives – perhaps people who are over-coming illness, trauma, life-changing experiences etc. After a lot of thought, this is the full article I wrote, the understandably edited article is shown in my previous blogpost, here
“Cosmetic tattooing, eyebrows is the big one. For many eyebrows are a fashion accessory, the current big thing, or an annoyance at the sparse bits that need pencilling. But for some ladies eyebrows are wrapped up in so much more emotion. There’s a whole shame thing, that if you have nice enough eyebrows, you just won’t get. There’s a hidden world of ladies who don’t feel able to rush about their day, without constantly being reminded that they have minimal, very pale or no eyebrows. Quickly trotting to the shops without your makeup on is kinda okay so long as you don’t bump into someone you know, but what if you don’t feel normal walking out without your eyebrows on ? Who does look normal without eyebrows ?
Pencilling eyebrows on each day, there’s more than just getting them even, you gotta get them right otherwise you’ll look, cross, surprised, sad… There’s a story about a cartoonist who was trying to figure out how to give the cartoon horse an expression, how can you tell a horse is happy ?! So he gave him eyebrows. How many animals have eyebrows ? I’m not thinking so this isn’t a question, but you always hear the stock phrase ‘eyebrows frame your face’, well they don’t just do that, they are so much a part of your expression, and would you want people reacting to you and your cross/surprised/sad looking face all day ?
Losing eyebrows as a result of breast cancer treatment, or having alopecia, with doctors advice, support groups and forums online, these ladies get to hear about cosmetic tattooing as an option quite early on, accessing information and choosing someone who specialises in cosmetic tattooing is more obvious. These ladies have already become aware how important it is to find out the facts of what’s happening to them. Ladies coming from a fashion angle and wanting cosmetic tattooing, in my opinion that has the same thought process as someone choosing to have a tattoo. There’s lots of information and photos of work online, just not all choose to look, or don’t find out the difference of what they’re looking at when they see it.
Ladies who’ve lost their eyebrows naturally, or they’re very pale, over plucked, waxed or shaved, they’ve had time to develop routines and habits to hide the fact. So to discover cosmetic tattooing is even possible, that’s a huge relief…. Till they start talking with friends, hearing scare stories, they’ll look drawn on, oh the scabbing is horrendous, it’s so painful, they’ll be too dark, a funny colour… you can see why wanting to have new eyebrows can become a really hard thing to actually do. I often ask these ladies “Who knows you’re here ?” and so many times the answer is “Nobody”, not even their husbands. And why, because they didn’t want to be talked out of it. This is something for them, and something that took a lot of courage to do. They weren’t already into tattooing, often this is the most money they’ve spent on themselves, let alone on a beauty treatment.
The reactions a client has when they see themselves in the mirror after having their eyebrows tattooed, I enjoy this immensely. From the lady who pencils her eyebrows perfectly every day, examining in silence, head turning from side to side checking I did a better job than she can, to the lady who catches herself from showing an emotional moment. This was a big deal. Oh I saw it, but I don’t need to explore, they know I saw and are grateful. We’ve been having such a giggle, why does the bad stuff need to come into it when what we’re doing is changing that. It’s a very different thing to have me first drawing on eyebrows and seeing what they will look like, to me tattooing them in and seeing what they do look like. I recognise the feeling that this is in you now, and it’s yours.
Cosmetic tattooing isn’t like having a tattoo in remembrance of something, this removes something, and for some it goes beyond just not having to put makeup on. I guess this is one of the reasons why ladies are quite happy not to tell me their stories beyond what I need to know, unlike those tattoo programs encouraging everyone to tell the story behind their tattoo. I keep before, during and after photos in a clients file, and some ladies ask to see, as they spot them when filling out the paper work again. The reaction is usually along the lines of “Did I really used to look like that ?!”. On the top up visit I get to hear the difference new eyebrows made. Their husband said they looked good in the morning, 10 minutes less putting on their makeup, going on holiday without a care, and confidence, real confidence. Little words.
An 18 year old, who came along the other week with her mother, afterwards she said nothing till her mother asked “Do you like them ?” “Yeah”. Mother says to me “That means she thinks they’re wonderful”. Usual laughing between ladies, and then I saw the daughter looking at herself in the mirror, with her face unchanged I saw her do a quick couple of hand claps on her thighs… yeah she liked them !”
I stopped there… I was enjoying myself and rambling. I loved the magazines reaction to my article, and was pleased with what got printed, and said so when I met them at the Brighton Tattoo Convention this weekend.
And a better look at the picture…