The Rise of Natural-Looking Semi-Permanent Make-Up
Think ‘semi-permanent make-up’ and thick black ‘blocky’ brows or overtly line ‘90s-style pouts may spring to mind. However, a new wave of uber-natural face artists are breathing new life into a well-practised cosmetic procedure, encouraging a swell in popularity for this time-efficient, beauty-enhancing, and, in some cases, life-changing micropigmentation technique. We spoke to leading Harley Street practitioner Sian Deller to dispel common misconceptions and discover why so many women are converts…
What is Semi-Permanent Make-Up, Exactly?
“It’s the same principal as a tattoo,” says Sian. “You are implanting pigment into the skin, but instead of implanting seven layers deep, as you would with a traditional tattoo, we only reach the second or third layer.” This makes the semi-permanent tattoo very superficial – as your skin rejuvenates the upper dermal layer, the hypo-allergenic, pharmaceutical grade pigment will simply fade over time. “Typically, semi-permanent make-up lasts one year to 18 months,” says Sian, “but if you keep topping up the colour it will last and last, because you’re continuing to layer on the pigment.” Sian uses the Micro Blading method, where pigment is manually applied using a very fine blade (10-16 tiny, fine needles configured into a sharp blade) to artfully deposit pigments into the epidermis. How would she rate the ouch-factor? “Firstly you’re given numbing cream to ease any discomfort, but I would say it’s no more painful than threading or tweezing, and the closest sensation I can compare it to is an almost scratchy feeling,” explains Sian. “You may not believe me, but some have described it as therapeutic!”
Reasons to Try It
“When you wake up in the morning you want to look like an enhanced you, rather than a made-up you,” says Sian, explaining that many of her clients simply want a touch of understated, tailored beautification that brings their face to life and makes their daily routine that much easier. For those that feel out of their depth with lipstick or are wobbly-handed with an eye pencil, it can offer a polished base that can be add to with traditional make-up products. Sian also offers medical tattooing for those that have undergone chemotherapy or suffer from conditions such as triptomonia, a condition where the afflicted patient pulls out their hair obsessively. “It’s incredibly rewarding being part of the process of helping someone regain their self-esteem,” says Sian, referencing her work in areoloa restoration on women who have undergone mastectomies.
The Most Popular Procedures
The magnificent arches of celebrities like Cara Delevigne and Gigi Hadid have prompted the vogue for fuller brows over the last couple of years. “I have really seen a surge in stronger brows over the last 18 months,” notes Sian, whose own struggle with sparse face-framers (she meticulously pencilled in hairs each and every day) led to her career ‘lightbulb moment’. “We apply the finest strokes and work with hair’s natural direction to achieve the most believable result,” says Sian, who has also seen a rise in demand for tinting and waxing (becoming evermore popular with men, apparently). When it comes to eyes, a carefully lasered-on upper lash line is the go-to procedure to create the effect of thicker, fuller lashes, while the most subtle outline technique for lips is in demand. “Sometimes lips can look a little flat,” observes Sian, “so we apply pigment to the actual lip line, then give the whole lips a blush of colour a shade or two darker than your natural hue for a rosier, pinker tone.”
Key Points to Consider
“Some people aren’t quite ready for this type of treatment,” warns Sian. “It is long term, so you have to be 100% sure – you can’t take it off at the end of the day.” Many women who come to see her have been drawing on their brows since teenhood, developing a less than natural look which isn’t in line with Sian’s born-this-way results. In these instances, Sian recommends taking consultation photos to show to friends and family, and to mull over their potential new brows. “I’m only comfortable carrying out the most aesthetically pleasing result,” says Sian. “You can always add more on later, but you cannot take away.” When it comes to choosing a suitable, safe practitioner, Sian recommends closely studying before and after shots: “You need to look out for a wide range of photos across a broad demographic demographic – black and white skin, old and young faces – so you get a better idea of what they can do,” says Sian, who stresses that no two people’s skin is the same, meaning everyone holds pigment differently. “I was trained by Karen Betts, the industry leader in semi-permanent make-up, so it’s advisable to find out where a practitioner has learnt their craft. By pooling all of this information you can come to a more informed decision.”