When I hear “face tattoo” I think of Mike Tyson and mafia types who don’t care to fit into society. But I’m a member of that group. Slightly less dramatically though – I get my eyebrows tattooed.
I first tried it back in 2013. The results were more cartoon than natural. But as I’d over plucked and had a sparse sperm-like shape anything was an improvement. The trouble was I wasn’t happy with the colour as it faded. The tattooist decided as my hair was red she’d go for an ash colour. Ash fades to blue. That’s not a good look.
So I was back to colouring them in with powder and brow pencils every day. Kinda defeats the point of the tattoo.
I decided I’d go to Gordana Willese-Poljak from Dr Freckle and Mr Hide to fix them up. I trust her implicitly as I’ve known her since she was the top make-up artist at Channel Nine 15 years ago.
Heavily inked herself, I knew she’d be up to date on the latest techniques.
“For cosmetic tattooing the latest trend is a hand tool method called “soft tap”. More realistic hair tattoo than a machine tattoo. Not as permanent. Does require maintenance but it’s a better result. I feel it creates the most natural look,” she says.
So no tattoo hand gun. It’s free hand with a blade. Sounds terrifying but Gordana puts numbing cream on my brows and sets to work and I actually find it’s less painful that with the gun.
“You can use hand method for everything. You create more of a shade depending on the blade. Machine tattooing is more rigid. 3D effect can’t be created by a machine. Plus it’s fully disposable and thoroughly hygienic everything is thrown out after one use,” she says.
“Cosmetic tattooing is a huge trend. Bloomberg’s could bet their money that it’s a growth area and only increasing,” she says.
After the first treatment I was already thrilled with the results.
Gordana says a major part of her job is tattoo corrections.
“Corrections are harder. You need to saturate with neutralising colours and it depends how deep their tattoo is.”
“I had a client who had tattooing and wasn’t happy and had to have it removed. After several removals and a lot of pain she basically had no eyebrows. She was very nervous to come and see me. We finished and she looked happy but she was really quiet which was worrying for me. Then she called me two days later and said ‘You’ve changed my life. I didn’t think they’d every look normal again,” she said.
I had to wait a month for my eyebrows to fully heal then go back to Gordana for some slight touch ups.
“I’d rather be conservative when it comes to cosmetic tattooing. You can always add more,” she says.
This method of eyebrow tattooing costs about $750 but she does individual pricing as each eyebrow is different.
For example older ladies who tend to get eyebrows which are sparse with gaps may not need the entire brow tattooed.
“With the 3D effect with the blade we can give a little bit of shadowing. It looks completely natural,” she says.
Gordana also does tattooing for women who have had a mastectomy and no longer have nipples.
“With my tattooing I draw on a 3D image of a nipple. It’s important to do different shading. You can’t just do one colour or it would look flat, it needs dimension. You need an artistic background,” she says.
She says now cosmetic tattooing is used to disguise birthmarks or scars.
“It’s called scar camouflage. I even tattooed a person who’d had a facelift and had scarring around their hairline. After the tattooing the scar just blended into the skin. Very specialised. Every day is different. I love my job,” she says.
Two months after the tattoo, this is the final result. My best brows yet.