Simone Gannon: I had laser tattoo removal on my eyebrows
The PhiLaser tattoo removal machine: Simone Gannon gives it a go.
The year is 2014. Eyebrow tattooing has just become a thing.
Microblading and beautiful fluffy hair strokes are merely a sparkle in the eye of brow artists and will not become mainstream for another year or two.
A lack of blessings in the eyebrow department led me to this moment.
To a treatment chair in a beautiful salon in Dubai, discussing the colour I want placed on my brows via dozens of small incisions in the skin.
I briefly considered my decision. Yes, it's a beauty treatment, I thought. But it's also a tattoo. Am I mad? ‘Yes, you’re mad’ – my mother.
To my relief, the treatment assuaged my fears. I had eyebrows (well, better-looking eyebrows) for the first time since I plucked them into oblivion in my youth.
I was thrilled. Ecstatic. I raved about the treatment to anyone who would listen.
A year or so later, however, the spread – as I like to refer to it, began. The pigment that once resembled eyebrow hair started to spread and blur. Leaving what can only be described as a grey blob in its wake.
Microblading arrived on the scene a few months later. Beautifully defined, fluffy-looking brows strokes were everywhere I looked.
So, I booked an appointment to see if this would work better, but the grey blob was having none of it.
My skin refused to hold on to the hairstrokes, and the grey blob got darker. And so, less than eight months later, I returned to the salon to get it done again. And again. And again.
Over the course of three years, I had my eyebrows repeatedly microbladed. In different ways, in darker tones, and ‘deeper in the skin, so they’ll hold’ as one brow artist said, alarmingly.
In the end, a message from a friend removed my brow blinkers. ‘You’re not getting them done again?!’ she said. ‘It's pointless and a complete waste of money. Just let it go.' And so, eventually, I did. It was me and the grey blob against the world.
As a result, I became an expert in hiding my blurry, disappointing brows. I learned how to fake hair strokes with brow pens and pencils. I became obsessed with shaping, shading, and creating fluffy brows using only products.
I even trained as a HD Brow Stylist to take my skills to the next level. But the grey blob was always there, blobbing.
BLOB, BE GONE
While scrolling Instagram late one evening in December, a video popped up of a lady having her eyebrow tattoo removed with laser.
To my glee, the post was from Dublin Makeup Academy - a new service is on offer from the brow queen herself, Kim O’Sullivan.
She said ‘we decided to bring in laser tattoo removal because of the dozens of emails we receive on a daily basis from ladies who are disappointed with brows they had done elsewhere. We also wanted to offer this incredible service to our own clients who have been coming to us for years for Phibrows and want to start afresh’.
I shared my personal brow blues with Kim, who recommended 2-3 sessions of laser to remove the grey blob.
Each session would take a couple of minutes, and then I’d come back for a second session eight weeks later, and so on, until the majority of the pigment was removed.
My first session was in January with Kim's wonderful sister, Debs.
She talked me through the process, cleansed my brows, placed safety goggles on my eyes, and it was all over less than a minute later.
Although the treatment is fast, it is pinchy. I’d give it a seven out of 10 on the pain scale.
I held my breath while Debs counted down the bursts of laser on each eyebrow and told me I was doing great.
My brows looked red and slightly inflamed immediately after, but this subsided within an hour. The difference in my brows was immediate. The pigment significantly faded.
Debs explained it would continue to fade in the coming weeks and advised that I drink lots of water as the pigment would travel to my kidneys and ultimately be released from there.
With three sessions done and one more to go, I’m ready to say goodbye to the grey blob for good. Although it's not really grey anymore (or a blob).
PhiLaser, the machine used at Dublin Makeup Academy, targets the colours in the pigment without impacting skin or hair.
Different lasers are used depending on the colour of the pigment.
As I had a lot of grey, and some red tones – a result of having my brows repeatedly tattooed over the years, Debs used different lasers to target the different colours, and the results were instant.
What will I do once all the old pigment is gone? I don't know. I might be so happy to have tattoo-free brows that I’ll happily fill them in for the rest of my days.
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