Eyebrow Tattooing Liberates Young Women





Eyebrow tattoos, procedures that draw super-fine hair strokes and deposit semi-permanent pigments into skin, have become popular in recent years. These techniques create realistic-looking eyebrows without having to use pencils, powder or gel each day.

A new convert to the procedure is 29-year-old Liyu Kifle, who until recently used to apply pencil liners every morning to shape and form her eye brows.

It was a hassle for her to wake up every morning and perform the routine to improve the thin eyebrows that she believes she has.

Liyu, a former model, used to go to the beauty parlour regularly where she had hair plucked and shaped on her eyebrows to create the outline and form of her choice.

About two months ago she found out about the tattooing method, and she has been hooked ever since.

“Once I saw it on a friend, I immediately decided to have it done ,” she said. “I really liked it when I saw it on my friend’s face.”

She visited Herbal Beauty Care and Tattoo Studio, a beauty salon that offers the service located in Medhanialem Building on Cameroon Street.

Herbal Beauty was founded by Rediet Mamo 16 years ago and started offering eyebrow tattoo service nearly a year and a half ago. Liyu paid 9,000 Br to have hair-like strokes drawn on her eyebrows and to reshape them more fully.

Eyebrow tattooing may cost 6,000 Br to 9,000 Br depending on the ink used in the application. Globally, the service may cost in a range of 350 dollars to above 1,000 dollars.



Rediet, a United States-trained eyebrow tattooing specialist, received her training and certificates from Los Angeles Institute and Los Angeles Esthetician Beauty School.

It took Rediet about two hours to work on Liyu, which started by cleaning the face and eyebrows and applying numbing cream on the treatment area, which takes about 40 minutes to take effect. Her face was then measured to correctly set the perfect shape of the eyebrows drawn.

Rediet drew two different designs that fit Liyu’s facial shape and let her choose one, before the tattoo was applied to Liyu’s eyebrows.

There are many types of eyebrow tattooing methods, but microblading is the most popular. Microblading uses super-fine pen needles to deposit pigments into the skin.  Microblading has spawned other methods including microfeathering, a no-needle shaping method; and microshading which creates a soft, powdered effect.

These techniques give different brow looks depending on customers preferences. Rediet and other beauticians apply the methods to fill out super sparse brows or to create fuller eyebrow looks.

Many young clients visit beauty parlours to get their eyebrows tattooed.

‘‘Years ago, most of my clients were above the age of 30. Now, young women in their early twenties have become my customers,” said Rediet.

Another eyebrow tattoo specialist, Fitsum Yilma, who owns Makeup by Japi, shares Rediet’s view. Fitsum received her certificate from Dubai and has three years of experience working in the business. Although most of her clients are adults, teenagers have been coming in for her services.

The other concern is that practitioners of the procedure are operating without registration or quality assurance certifications.



“I have clients who are 19 years old,’’ she told Fortune.

‘‘Our eyebrows frame our faces. I believe that they are essential elements of a woman’s facial appearance,” said Fitsum.

Eyebrow tattooing may cost 6,000 Br to 9,000 Br depending on the ink used in the application. Globally, the service may cost in a range of 350 dollars to above 1,000 dollars.

When applied separately, the cost for microblading or microshading is 6,000 Br. When both techniques are applied together in the same application, the cost is 9,000 br.

“The material we use for numbing the skin and the ink we use are very expensive,’’ said Fitsum, explaining the high costs of the procedures.

The designs applied to eyebrows can be variable. The professionals can lighten up the tattoo, cover it or make it seem natural using different techniques.

“But there are cases where the skin can be very dark and hard to work on,” Rediet said.

Another user of eyebrow tattooing is Eleni Ayele, 32.

“My eyebrows look pretty after I did microblading,” Eleni told Fortune.

Although users like Eleni and Liyu laud the service for adding beauty and convenience by saving them time in their morning routines, health professionals advise caution.

“Since it involves the use of needles, the practitioners must be trained in proper hygiene to prevent transmission of diseases,” said Tewodros Mesele (MD), a plastic reconstructive surgeon at Icon Centre of Special Surgery, a clinic known for the removal of tattoos.

Dr. Tewodros points out the potential health risks associated with eyebrow tattooing that include bacterial skin infections and transmission of blood-borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. He recommends that the supplies used in eyebrow tattooing be new or properly sterilised.

This is not a concern for Fitsum of Makeup by Japi who asserts that the material they use in eyebrow tattooing cannot be sterilized as they are disposable supplies.

“We use disposable needles that are not reusable, therefore, we do not sterilise,” said Fitsum.

Fitsum also explained that the tattooing processes are temporary and do not leave permanent marks on the face.

The pigment is applied to the first superficial layer of the skin. If it penetrates any deeper, it will be mixed with the blood system, which will take a year to flush out, according to her.

“Even though eyebrow tattooing just scratches the surface of the skin, people might hesitate to do it. However, young women now do not want thin eyebrows so they come in for the procedures,” said Fitsum.

These semi-temporary tattoos can be removed, according to the health professionals and tattoo specialists.

“Once they decide to remove it, we can do it with a laser treatment,” said Dr. Tewodros.

The other concern is that practitioners of the procedure are operating without registration or quality assurance certifications.

The Addis Abeba City Administration Food, Medicine, Healthcare Administration & Control Authority only registers and licenses businesses that engage in regular tattoo business.

“Since the business is new, we do not require the registration of eyebrow tattoo businesses,” said Behailu Zeleqe, head of the Authority’s Bole District office. “It is necessary to follow-up, create quality assurances and issue professional licenses,” he concluded.

By HIKMA AHMED
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER





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