My experience with semi-permanent brow makeup



Semi-permanent brows changed my life. Dramatic, much? Not at all. Let me tell you a story. A story about a self-conscious teen that fell in love with a French boy named Julian, plucked her eyebrows into obscurity and spent her whole life regretting it. That young teen was me. But in order to move forward, we have to go back in time.

Believe it or not, I had quite a bit of eyebrow growth when I was younger. They were mostly blonde and patchy but I had eyebrows – they were definitely there and maybe even worth writing home about. I used to have a recurring inside joke with my sisters where we would exclaim ‘I know I’m related to the apes;’ – such was the girth, mirth and general lustre of our hair and brows.

The 90s – Choker necklaces, platform sneakers and painfully thin eyebrows

Fast forward to the late 90s – I began to show an interest in boys and became hyper aware of my appearance. Britney, Christina, The Spice Girls, Hanson – everyone was doing it (well, maybe not Hanson). Waxing their eyebrows, that is. Threading was a futuristic trend nobody in Ireland had ever heard about. Plucking was all the rage but most of my friends and I were getting ours waxed regularly in salons.

As was the style du jour, I had my eyebrows waxed into a thin arch – I thought I was gorgeous. But after maybe a year of waxing, my eyebrows stopped growing altogether and I was left with extremely skinny, uneven brows. See Exhibit A below– prime evidence of this heinous crime against humanity.

I was devastated. I hated the shape (I was told time and time again, they resembled caterpillars) and once the initial craze had passed, it was no longer trendy to have such thin brows.


Cara Delevingne and the thick real eyebrows revolution

In school, people made comments. Outside of school people made comments. I was bullied by a group of lads who lived in my area – they used to shout ‘little girl with no eyebrows’ at me on a regular basis. I felt hideous. It was the one thing I was most conscious about in the world.

Then Cara Delevingne exploded onto the modelling scene and things went from bad to worse. Thick eyebrowed beauties were everywhere. This only perpetuated my feelings of hideousness. I started drawing on my brows – I tried everything – mascaras, powders, liquids, pencils, pomades– you name it, I tried it. You could clearly see where the hair ended and the paint/powder/whatever started.

I invested in a brow serum – apparently it was Cheryl’s go-to product – it was worth a try. After forking out €100 on the product and religiously applying it night after night, I resigned myself to the fact that it had made absolutely no difference to my brows whatsoever.

I looked odd unless I had a full face of makeup on and even then, the weather posed a huge problem. Rain? Forget it! My eyebrows would be running down my face like an Edvard Munch painting. Heat? The same problem. I remember one particular incident where I had been wearing sunglasses on the way to a BBQ and taken them off in the car without looking in the mirror. Several hours in, I went to the bathroom only to see that my brows had been mostly wiped off where the sunglasses sat. I asked my male friend (who had been with me the whole time) why he didn’t tell me and his reply stung to the core: ‘I thought it was a new trend where you draw them on uneven or something.’ No buddy, just no. Honestly, at that point, I considered terminating our friendship (OK, I am slightly dramatic).

semi-permanent brow makeup at the Brow Artist
This is a picture of my brows before I got the semi-permanent brows. I’m wearing a powder and pomade in them but drawing on the shape bigger when there was no hair there gave a very painted effect so this about as good as it got back then.


My problem with my eyebrows was so severe that I considered an eyebrow transplant. It was pricey at approximately €5000 but I was desperate and I thought I’d stick it on the credit card and pay it off bit by bit. I thought about it for years and did extensive research and finally, I bit the bullet and went for a consultation. However, when photos of the procedure actually induced a fainting episode, I thought it might be a bit severe for my delicate sensibilities. Yes, you read that right. When the doctor showed me photos of a patient (victim?) who had undergone the procedure, I fainted.

She was bruised and swollen-eyed and there was a lot of blood. I woke up to the doctor pulling me off the floor, asking me if I wanted to go on.

Stupidly, I said yes. The operation involves removing a strip of skin with hair from the nape of your neck and transplanting each hair individually into your face. But wait, there’s more. The hair continues to grow like the hair on your head so you end up looking like Groucho Marx if you don’t trim approximately every three weeks. I might add that the after photos of the patient’s brows looked absolutely amazing; they were so full and natural but the operation itself and the recovery process freaked me out too much to even consider it. When I joked ‘I suppose there’s no chance I could die on the operating table,’ the doctor actually said ‘there’s always a chance you can die during an operation.’ The results were in; a transplant was not an option for me.


I came across Liz and Lorna Farrelly at the Brow Artist after more research into the subject. I decided to go for a consultation, feeling like my problem would never be rectified. It was as if the wind had struck while I was in a state of surprise and I would remain like that forever. Lorna, the owner of the company brought me in and told me she would draw my eyebrows on to show me what shape was possible.

Then came the surprise. Lorna approached my face like an artist at work. She had such knowledge of where the brow should sit and measured from my nose to the brow line before she even attempted drawing it on.

She painstakingly began crafting my new shape and lo and behold when I sat up in the chair, I burst into tears. I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life.

I know it sounds really dramatic but imagine your whole life wanting something and feeling like it was never achievable and then suddenly, it’s just handed to you on a plate. What she had done was mind-blowing. I skipped out of the salon and rang my mother immediately. My boyfriend said it looked like ‘the eyebrows I was always supposed to have.’ I was in a state of ecstasy.

After a week, they faded and I booked in for the whole hog with Lorna. I was on such a high, I didn’t eat much that morning. Lorna prepped my brows with anaesthetic and began the work. I’m not going to lie. It hurt like hell and I did feel a little bit weak but Lorna took breaks and gave me fizzy orange in between – she was an absolute legend. Imagine if I had opted for the transplant!



Lorna spent ages measuring up and re-drawing the brows before she went for the needle. She checked I was 100% happy with the shape – I was. She then showed me three different colours with cool and warm tones and we agreed on a cool tone that would suit my hair colour best. I didn’t want something too dark because I could always shade it in if I needed but there was no going back if it was too dark.

All in all, the procedure took about 2 hours between numbing the area and leaving it kick in to getting the shape just right. 

I’m a total wuss when it comes to pain but it’s totally endurable. After the procedure, your brows are way darker than your desired shade but don’t fret. It fades.

I promise you it fades because you will freak out when you see them first. There are steps to take in terms of aftercare and make sure you follow them. It’s really simple: You have to avoid getting the area wet and apply a Vitamin E cream every day to keep them moisturised. Then the colour sort of ‘falls off’ after about 7-10 days and you’re left with a much, softer focus power-esque brow. I have mine done about a year now and they have faded a little bit so it’s probably time for a top up. It’s fantastic to have the shape there though and if I want, I can apply a little bit of product to darken it. I think I’ll opt for a thicker, darker shape the next time. I was just terrified that they would be too dramatic and that there would be no going back but I’m feeling braver about it now.

Honestly, getting semi-permanent brows was the best decision I ever made. Not that my self-esteem is totally bound up with what I look like but in all honesty, it is a big part of it. It was genuinely the one thing I was most self-conscious about in the world and now it’s something I feel very confident about. If that’s not a result, then I don’t know what is! Sure look at the big smug head on me there below!


1 Comment

  • Reply B June 22, 2017 at 11:28 am


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