Monday, February 10, 2014

Semi-Permanent Beauty: Is It REALLY Worth It?

[As published on HERE]
The difficulty of my makeup routine varies according to two things: 1) my mood and 2) how much time I have. My most basic look would be brows-mascara-blusher, and my full makeup look consists of brows-eyeliner-mascara-partial falsies-blusher-lipstick.
Sometimes, halfway through penciling in my nonexistent eyebrows (I draw the shape with brow pencil, blend it out with a brush, fill it in with brow powder, blend again, and contour the browbone with highlighter), I lament the fact that I am a woman who needs to go through this every single day. How nice it would be if I could just have a semi-permanent set of brows done, so I get to sleep in for an extra 15 minutes each morning!
Semi-permanent beauty ‘enhancements’ are becoming more and more popular as they’re touted as the lazy woman’s solution to waking up looking flawless. Beauty companies claim to produce natural, long-lasting results that subtly enhance your features. According to them, gone are the days of unnatural, harsh effects (remember eyebrow tattoos from the 1990s?) There are so many types of effects to choose from: 3D embroidery, Korean embroidery, the list goes on… If you’re looking to have your lips embroidered, you can even change the shape, add a prominent Cupid’s bow, or sculpt a fuller, sexier bottom lip.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all.
Here’s a popular list of enhancements preferred by women:
3D eyebrow embroidery: Colour is applied to skin’s surface in short strokes, similar to brow hair
Eyeliner tattoo: Using a needle, pigment is tattooed along the upper and lower lashline
Eyelash extensions: Single strands or tufts of false lashes are attached to eyelashes with glue
Lip embroidery: pigment is tattooed into the skin’s surface to alter lip colour or shape
For a sum of money, you can now go to bed with your eyebrows, eyeliner (upper and lower lashline), eyelashes and lipstick intact, without burdening your skin with makeup.

Sounds like the perfect solution. Well, that’s only if we live in a world where mistakes and human error don’t occur.
One of the biggest semi-permanent fiascos is poorly-executed brow tattoos/embroidery. Despite its growing popularity (plus high advertising budget), I’ve seen and heard more horror stories than success stories, so naturally I’m rather skeptical when it comes to having a complete stranger do my brows for me. I think the most important features of a woman’s face are her eyebrows. Done correctly, and she transforms from country mouse to regal woman. Done wrongly, then she could likely have a permanent quizzical/comical expression.
Looking like this – NOT an option.

A beauty editor from a top Chinese language magazine in Malaysia told me that the biggest beauty mistake she’s ever made was to have her brows tattooed while she was working in Singapore. Sure, they looked great for the first 6 months. Then the colour started fading from light brown to dull orange. “It was one of my biggest regrets. Look at the colour – it’s been 4 years and I can still see the orange. And I have to pile on extra brow makeup just to hide it,” she said when we were at a makeup tutorial event which required us to see each other bare-faced.
Similarly, my cousin’s friend once decided to have her eyebrows embroidered before Chinese New Year. To match her jet-black hair, the beautician decided to give her matching brows. It was a major disaster. Unforgiving male friends took to calling her ‘Crayon Sin Chan’ for the rest of the year, and there was nothing she could do but to wait it out. Thankfully I saw photos of her during this year’s Chinese New Year, and her black eyebrows have faded away. I guess she won’t be going for brow embroidery anytime in the near future.

It looked good, while it lasted.
Personally, I’ve tried eyelash extensions before. It was nice while it lasted. Because I use a lot of waterproof eye makeup, the only way to remove it completely is to use oil-based makeup remover. Needless to say, the extensions didn’t last as long as expected, and by the 3rd day, I was sporting bald spots along my lashline. Also, because the lash extensions cost me only RM50, I got an inexperienced beautician who’d fused my own lashes with the extensions with glue during application. So that took another couple of months to grow back properly.

There’s no denying that semi-permanent beauty enhancements are a very idealistic idea, kind like Utopian beauty, if you will. But we also have to take into consideration that even the smallest changes will affect the outcome. Waking up with puffier-than-usual eyes will throw your embroidered brows off-skew, and if you tweak your eye makeup, it might take some (okay, a lot of) getting used to because you can’t change the way your brows look. Well, not for another year at least, but that’s not the point.
Plus, prices can go up to thousands of ringgit for one procedure. With the same amount of money, you could buy a proper set of makeup tools and products that give you better results, with change to spare. Take time to practice what works best for you. YOU are your best judge, so never settle for other people’s advice if you’re not comfortable with it. Make looking presentable your own responsibility, not others’.
Here’s to taking full control of your life and your looks.


No comments:

Post a Comment