“I woke up this way” is usually something said togue in cheek, but for many women it would be handy to pop out of bed looking perfectly made up without any of the effort. Think of the extra time for sleep.
Such is the appeal of semi-permanent make up which emerged decades ago starting with tattoo eyeliner. Since then we’ve seen microblading for brows and the fine-tuning of eyeliner options thanks to innovations in technology and improved inks.
Powder ombre brows and lip blush are two recent treatments that give women more opportunities to streamline their beauty regimen without having invasive medical procedures.
Unlike microblading where a manual tool draws lines of colour to mimic the look hair, powder ombre is done using a machine creating a filled-in, soft powdery look. “They’re little pixilated dots of colour,” says Melissa Chang, owner/educator at Vancouver’s Brow Beauty Lab (https://browbeautylab.com/).
Choosing one technique over the other comes down to what look the client wants to achieve—some people don’t like a filled-in look— how full or sparse the natural brow hair is and the level of oiliness of the skin.
“If you have oilier skin it means, regardless of which technique you choose, it’s going to fade quicker.,” Chang explains “For microblading if you have oilier skin, it’s going to fade faster. Those nice, crisp lines that we draw, they don’t always heal that way on oilier skin. They tend to blend together, and they get really soft looking. You can still do it but the effect is not as nice.”
If you have no brow hair, you generally want to stick with the powder ombre technique because for those with sparse hair, the lines drawn with microblading will show the skin in between. The ombre powder technique fills in the brow area creating a more natural look. The other advantage of the powder ombre brow is that it can last up to two years in contrast to the one year for microblading.
Chang says the most natural and long lasting brow treatment is the combo—which is exactly what the name suggests—combining microblading and powder ombre.
An appointment typically lasts two and a half hours which begins with the client’s face being measured. Then the shape is drawn out according to the face measurements. Once the shape is approved by the client, the brow hair is cleaned up and then a numbing cream is applied to the area before the procedure starts.
The most recent brow treatment is nano brows, Chang notes, which is very similar to the micro-bladed effect, but it’s done with a machine rather than a manual tool. “It’s a really fine needle but it’s using a machine. So, for clients who have a mature skin, microblading doesn’t always work for them but nano might be a good alternative for them.”
A key piece of advice, regardless of what service you opt for, is don’t shave off your brows. Chang says that they get asked that a lot by clients. “No don’t shave off your brows. We’ll groom them and make them look nice,” she says.
The cost of the brow services at Brow Beauty Lab range from $400-$600.
The lip blush treatment is what the name suggests, a flush of natural-looking colour that also gives the appearance of fuller lips.
“It can be as simple as wanting to change the colour or cover up any scars, or just wanting to achieve the appearance of a fuller lip without hyaluronic injections,” says Ashley Wong, owner of Luxe Lip Studio in New Westminster, for why people would opt for a lip blush treatment (https://luxelipstudio.com/.)
For others, it’s about correcting an obvious uneven skin tone. Wong calls it lip neutralization. It’s the same process as creating the blush colour, but different pigments are used. “If someone has melanin on their lips, then we would use colours that are the opposite to neutralize any dark tones … on their lips, giving them more of a warm appearance.” She adds that lip colour can change from sun damage or just melanin on their skin.
Chang, whose studio also does lip blush, says age too can affect lip colour—either causing fading or darker spots.
“Lip Blush is similar to the powder ombre brows in that we use the same machine,” Chang says. “The process is the same. We’re going to draw the shape around your lips. We don’t overdraw. So we do have to work within your natural lips but there’s a little bit of leeway.”
Wong says for the majority of people the treatment isn’t painful and that numbing cream is applied at the beginning and throughout the procedure. “I’ve even had clients doze off during the treatment,” she says.
The healing process, Wong says, is just some swelling for 24 hours with some minor scabbing for about a week. She advises that you must avoid working out, swimming, using a sauna or tanning. Lips need to be kept hydrated and suggest using Aquaphor ointment.
“After scabbing the colour will start to stabilize and bloom after four to five weeks. Then around six to eight weeks is when you come back for a touch up,” she says, adding that a touch up is important because everyone heals and takes the pigment differently.
If you want your lips to be a lot more full, this is not the same as lip injections, Chang notes, but that it will give you “a more youthful appearance because your lips are going to be all one colour, and as a result they will look more full. You can make them slightly more symmetrical. So in that way it will look more full but not like injections where you can really change the volume of your lips.”
Lip blush lasts for about two years and depending on the salon, prices range from $400-$1000.