Hello, my name is Yi-Hwa and I'm a microblading addict. No, that's not some strange knife-related obsession - it's a beauty treatment that involves adding semi-permanent pigment to your eyebrows using high-tech devices and expertly trained technique.
Despite the fact that I have dark hair and olive skin, I've always had light eyebrows. And as someone who firmly believes that they frame your face, I've long had to deal with the daily rigmarole of defining my eyebrows on an almost daily basis. Brow pencils, powders, gels, you name it. Just ask any professional makeup artist or beauty expert and they'll not only tell you that same thing, but that having "good" eyebrows (and by that, I mean that are well-groomed, shaped in a way that suits your facial structure, and are defined) can even help you stay looking younger. Good eyebrows can bring about the illusion of "lifting" your brow area so that you look more awake and fresh, bring out the sharpness of your cheekbones, and draw attention to your eyes.
So when you're an oceanaholic like me, or someone who loves going to the gym for intensive workouts that work you so hard you're dripping with sweat (also me), or live in a country that's often so hot that the humidity can go over 60%, this can be a serious pain in the ass. It's not that I'm afraid to go out without my eyebrows on, so to speak. It's just that I feel like I look tired without them, so while I don't mind being seen without them (I really have no qualms about people seeing my face in all of its bare un-glory, hah! It may not always be pretty, but it's my face, and that is indeed what I look like, so I will never be ashamed of that, dang it!) I still do prefer having them on because it makes me look so much more fresh and groomed. And yes, it makes me feel more attractive, which in turn boosts my confidence.
What exactly does it involve, you might wonder? Well, the simple way to put it is that the person administering the treatment - who has to be a highly skilled professional trained in this - draws the right shape on for your brows using a pencil, then after consulting with you extensively to make sure that it's right, they'll get to work on using semi-permanent, vegan or natural ink, to draw them on (essentially tattooing them on, although it isn't permanent or like regular tattooing) using a unique feathering technique that resembles actual hair strokes. It's labour intensive and delicate work, and that's why it's important to find someone that you not only like the work of, but trust entirely. Fortunately, I have one of those - my friend Patricia Kerr, a licensed Elite Linergist and founder of Brows by Patsy, who does this out of the L'Esprit Clinic in Dubai.
The first time I did it, I was nervous - I feared winding up with that "drawn on with a Sharpie" look that I so loathe and seems surprisingly popular in this part of the world - but my consultation reassured me that that wouldn't happen, and fortunately, Patsy completely understood what I wanted. They looked so natural that to this day, most people are surprised when I tell them that I've had my eyebrows done. You hardly feel the pain - or at least I don't - and not just because of a numbing cream that's applied shortly before your treatment. Unlike other options for semi-permanent eyebrow colour, Patsy's technique is so gentle that I hardly feel it, and save for the short period wherein I need to be careful of the sun or long exposure to water (as with most tattoos of any kind), it's easy to forget that you've had it done. Any qualms I'd had about whether this was crossing the line in terms of my views on natural beauty were justified by the fact that I'd wear eyebrow makeup on a daily basis anyway - and this simply saves me the step of having to put it on. It's also incredibly liberating when I'm doing water sports or slogging it out for hours in the gym, and don't have to give a thought to wearing makeup - and can feel more confident about going entirely bare-faced on a more regular basis. It isn't cheap, but to me its worth every penny.
There are other places to have this done in Dubai, but Patsy has quickly become my go-to due to her gentle and amazing technique - and personally, I've always been impressed by the fact that she often does this for women experiencing hair loss as they're going through chemotherapy. The loss of your eyebrows and facial hair during such a process can be a real emotional blow, not to mention a bash of confidence, in that situation, and if it even helps some women going through that feel like they're regaining a little bit of their femininity and confidence, that's pretty special. Patsy's work is now a non-negotiable on my annual beauty treatments list - I can only hope she never leaves my town so I'm not left without her!