No pain, no gain: My first eyebrow tattoo experience at Annie’s

I have always had uneven and unruly eyebrows since birth. It’s been a struggle for years just to get them to look neat or shaped. And I hated the fact that my right eyebrow was bald on it’s end and does not taper somehow like my left eyebrow. It makes it so much more difficult to shape and fill in to make them look as symmetrical as possible with make-up. Out of desperation, I even tried looking for some sort of miracle hair grower for the eyebrows and considered having eyebrow hair implants done! But then those things don’t always work.

IMG_0027My eyebrows in all their naked, messy and shapeless glory 😛

I always thought it was my fault why my eyebrows could never look perfect because I usually pluck them myself. Unfortunately, when I tried to have them groomed by professionals (I tried Lay Bare‘s and BrowHaus‘s threading services), after seeing how little of a difference they made, that’s when I realized that all hope was lost for these suckers.

TY KRIZIASparse & over plucked -_-

It was my mom who introduced me to the world of aesthetic facial tattoos. She tells me she had her eyebrows and eyeliner tattooed back in the 80’s because it was the “in” thing back then. Most, if not all of her friends had them done too! And because she too noticed how ugly my eyebrows were, she suggested that I get my eyebrows tattooed also. This conversation happened many years ago but I never really considered it before because 1.) it was permanent! what if I ended up hating the shape or color later on? 2.) pain was definitely involved..ouch! 3.) some of their tattoos now had a greyish/bluish discoloration. Eeek.

Case in point.

I just turned 27 last year and people still tell me I look like I just graduated from high school. Meh..-_-. That’s not a good thing for a doctor like me giving medical advice to patients a lot older than I am..I feel that it affects my overall credibility sometimes. Other than being deprived in the height department and having an overly high pitched voice, I partly blame my ill-defined eyebrows for my underaged demeanor. Since I was running out of other options and I was getting tired of having to draw them in again and again every single day, I decided to give my mom’s suggestion a chance.

After doing some thorough research on the internet and asking around people who had them done before, here’s what I gathered:

  • Back in the olden days, they used tattoo INK for the eyebrows and filled them in entirely which created a harsh, almost theatrical look. This is the type of ink that fades to a greyish/bluish colour over time.
  • They no longer use INK for eyebrow tattoos today but instead use PIGMENT which does not penetrate as deep making it safer and looks more natural on the skin.
  • Since PIGMENT penetrates less deeply, it has a tendency to fade faster than INK.
  • They now make use of “shading” or what they call “embroidery” technique in tattooing the eyebrows. According to Beautygrace.com, “eyebrow embroidery creates the background and fills in the parts of the eyebrows that looked empty so that a full and complete look is accomplished”. Since this doesn’t involve coloring in the entire brow, it creates a more natural overall effect!

Albeit the remaining traces of apprehension, I finally decided to go for it! Now, all that’s missing is the right tattoo artist! My mom told me about a well known aesthetician who has been in the cosmetic tattooing industry for over 20 years now so I checked her out. Her name is Annie Young, a Taiwanese native, who moved to the Philippines back in the 1980’s  to start her own beauty and skin care business. She is a seasoned eyebrow, eyeliner and lip tattoo artist and has already amassed quite a wide following. I booked an appointment with Annie’s Spa & Salon at Robinson’s Place and paid them a visit.

Upon entering her shop, I felt a bit uneasy because all the other clients in the lounge area were little old ladies waiting to have their tattoos retouched and the place looked kinda shady to be honest. I thought, “Uh-oh, what have I gotten myself into?!” I sat myself down and consciously tried to shoo away the negative first impression..besides you can’t judge a book by it’s cover right? A few minutes later, Ms. Annie called my name. The first thing I noticed was how flawless her skin was and how she looked so young for her age! She then ushered me to her office and sat me down in front of the mirror. Since I already plucked my eyebrows the day before, she went straight to drawing and shaping them with a brown pencil and a pair of scissors. (Sorry no pictures! I was alone when I had this done and was too shy to take a selfie in front of her :P). It took her quite a while to perfect the shape and after she was finally satisfied with them, she confessed that I was one of the hardest cases she had to work on..and that’s coming from someone as experienced as she is who’s been doing this for years! That’s how bad they were! Tsk tsk.

I was then transferred to the room behind her office and she had me lay down on the bed. Topical anesthetic cream was applied on my eyebrows which was then covered with a thin strip of plastic wrap. According to Medscape.com, occlusive dressing (in this case, the plastic wrap) is applied over topical anesthetic creams to improve absorption and decrease the time of onset (the time it takes for the anesthesia to take effect). So far, so good!

Topical anaesthetic onNi-nu-ni-nu-ni-nu..time to sneak in a selfie while no one is looking 😛

After about 45 minutes or so, she came back, wiped everything off on one side first and started tattooing. For me, she used a medium brown shade mixed with some black pigments to match my hair colour. She utilised the embroidery technique on the inner brows where there was more hair and gradually intensified the colour toward the ends. At first, I didn’t feel anything at all, no pressure, no pain, no nada. After approximately 5 minutes, that’s when it started to sting. On a scale of 1 to 10, it was at a tolerable 4/10 for me. It kind of felt like a really sharp pen was being scraped through my eyebrows. But then I have a high threshold for pain so don’t listen to me if you’re scared of needles 😛

After a few more tweaks here and there, she was finally done! It took her about 20 minutes to complete both eyebrows..she works pretty fast! 🙂

Behold the finished product..TADA!!!

Fresh TattooTaken as soon as I got home after the procedure. The color was so intense and the lines looked harsh at first. Yikes! 

The whole process from the initial drawing, to the anaesthetic application, absorption and to the actual tattooing all took around 1 hour. I was instructed to avoid washing the tattooed area for 1-2 days and to expect some scabbing. She assured me that the colour will fade over time, scheduled me for my free retouch after 3 months and then I was good to go.

In the succeeding days, I took photos of myself for the sake of comparison.

4 days after the tattooAfter 4 days, the tattoo lightened up and became more natural looking. Whew! (Excuse my haggard, no make-up face :p)

1 week afterAfter 1 week, the edges looked softer and I started to love it! 

It has been over a month now since I had this done and all I can say is I should’ve listened to my mom and done this sooner! I’m so happy with how it turned out! A lot of people have been complimenting how nice the shape is and how natural they look. I also love that it shortens my make-up routine significantly! Less time is wasted over trying to draw even and nicely shaped brows! I just fill the “stencil” in with my MAC brow shader, swipe a few strokes of eyebrow mascara and I’m done!

Here’s a PHOTO RECAP to demonstrate the progression of changes in the tattoo:

(sorry for the lighting inconsistency, I did this before I started blogging so I wasn’t able to take decent photos :P)

Top to bottom: Right after, 4 days after & 1 week afterTop to bottom: Right after, 4 days after, 1 week after

Left to right: Before, Right after, 4 days after, 1 week after

As you can see, there has been a huge improvement in my overall look. Because my eyebrows are now full and defined, I feel that I look more polished and mature. What do you think? Anyway, I can’t wait for my free touch-up this coming May since I plan to have few more adjustments made. I’ll update you guys after that’s done! Until then! 😀

Price: P7,800 (includes a free retouch after 3 months)

P.S. If you are planning to get your eyebrows tattooed also, here are a few tips that might help:

  • Go for a thinner shape so you still have an option make it look thicker with make-up.
  • A little uneven-ness in the finished tattoo is expected and is OK. As what one of my friends would always tell me, eyebrows are supposed to be sisters and not identical twins. The slight asymmetry helps make them look more natural too.
  • Apply sunscreen everyday over the tattoo to lessen fading.
  • Make sure your tattoo artist can work fast enough and can finish before the anesthetic completely wears off.
  • Avoid using products with AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or Retinol content on the tattoo because they can cause fading. However, if you really can’t do without them, try to avoid applying the product in the eyebrow area instead.

Annie’s by Annie Young is located at Level 4 Midtown Wing, Robinsons Place, Manila. Contact them through Tel No. +63 2 474-8988, +63 2 442-0364. Click on their website http://annies.ph/old-site/contact.html to check out other services offered and their locations 🙂

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I underwent this procedure on my own and paid for it with my own money. All opinions stated are honest, unbiased and based on my personal experience.

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15 thoughts on “No pain, no gain: My first eyebrow tattoo experience at Annie’s

  1. Hi Krizia thank you for that vivid description of the eyebrow procedure you’ve had.. I could just imagine how many clients would be trooping to that lady’s shop after reading your write-up I for one gets convinced that I need to do the same for my eyebrows. So proud of you my dear Krizia.

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  2. i am so torn in having or not having it. my brows are so bad too. a friend (senior citizen) told me to visit annies because she had her brows done there. but still skeptic. hahay..

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    • Hi! Thanks for dropping by! You know I was really skeptical at first too..that’s why it took me years before I finally decided to give it a go..and I ended up loving the results! People have been telling me how they look natural and not drawn-on which is great because that was exactly what I was going for! Getting an eyebrow tattoo is a lifelong (well not really since there are already lasers in the market which can erase them but then the procedure can be quite painful) commitment..if ever you do decide to have it done, make sure you’ve thought about it long and hard before going for it..weigh the pros and cons..clarify with the tattoo artist what it is exactly you want to achieve in terms of shape and shade to avoid getting them botched up. Goodluck! 🙂

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  3. Wonderful write-up. Im so happy i read this. Thanks for the before and after pics..really helps. Am gonna have a make-over too with Annies. Thanks and hope to read more from you.

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    • Hi! Thanks for dropping by! No it did not turn blue or green thankfully 🙂 it just faded a little bit to a brownish to grayish ashy color which looks a lot more natural 🙂 I’ll be writing a post update on this as soon as I get some free time..stay tuned! 🙂

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      • I definitely will, Ms. Krizia. I’m planning to have my eyebrows done and still looking for a good place to get it. Who did yours at Annie’s? and Which branch the one in Ermita or in Ortigas? Thanks again!

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      • Thanks for blogging about your experience. It has been a great help to me. I have also been putting this off for years!! Can you please do a one year after update (hopefully with photos)?!!! Pleasssseeee!! 🙂

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  4. Hi Krizia, thank you very much for sharing your eyebrow stranding experience. I was looking for a good eyebrow aesthetist? And I found your blog. Very well written and very convincing too. I have alrdy made an appt with them and told them about your write up. Btw pls amend the number you gave it should be 442 -0346. Lol, the number u gave was Healthways and apparently they been getting many phone calls looking for Annie Young 😀….just shows how many have read and liked your write up. Keep up the good work hija …

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