Several weeks ago, I was contacted by permanent makeup artist Olena Oliynyk asking if I would like an ombre HD permanent brow treatment in exchange for a blog post. I was hesitant. I have been researching semi-permanent makeup, Embrowdery, hair stroke brows and a lot of other methods for some time now and have really wanted to get my brows done but it is a big decision. This is something that is going to last years and it is on your face. Some people may think that it must be great being a blogger and getting these things done for free – for the record, this is the first free treatment I have EVER gotten – but there is a difference between getting a free blowdry and getting permanently tattooed. I did a lot of research on Olena and spent a long time on her Facebook page and website but it was when Amy from Red Lips Red Hair put up her review and I saw how absolutely stunning her eyebrows looked that I knew I would be in safe hands!
A little background on my eyebrows…
I know I am quite lucky when it comes to my eyebrows. They are dark (as is all my body hair which is definitely a bad thing!) and they are quite plentiful. They grow naturally in quite a good shape and I only ever plucked my own brows up until a few months ago when I had them threaded for the very first time. Since then I have completed a HD Brow course and had my brows HD’d several times by others who were learning as well as upkeeping them myself in a HD shape.
I am a fan of a bold brow. I have dark features and without makeup, my brows kind of disappear back into my face. Because I wear a lot of dark eyeliner, my brows can recede in comparison. I fill in my brows every single day with quite a heavy hand so I liked the idea of semi-permanent makeup to save me some of the work! Also, because I am getting married in less than two weeks (I KNOW!) and will be honeymooning for almost an entire month, I liked the idea of having good brows even if I were on the beach/at the pool/being lazy with no other makeup.
Olena works out of 45 Westland Row which is near enough to Pearse St Station. I have a terrible sense of direction so had to Google Map it but it is around the back of Trinity College, about ten minutes from Central Bank, so very central. I made my way there feeling a little anxious and unsure what to expect. As someone with many tattoos, I usually prepare myself mentally beforehand and make sure to have a good meal and lots of sugar as well, which I swear really helps with the pain. I had heard mixed things about the pain of cosmetic tattooing, from it being virtually painless to it hurting more than an actual tattoo because it is on your face. Despite that, I made my way there for an 11am appointment with only a coffee in my system and with it being the first day of my time of the month. I felt weak, sensitive and really not in the mood for pain. I think that is why I was so anxious. I got a real tattoo before on the first day of my period and ended up crying for him to stop – luckily it was my fiance doing it because that could have been awkward!
Anyway, Olena greeted me at the door and was all chat straight away which put me at ease. It is difficult over email to gauge what somebody is going to be like in person so I was relieved immediately to find her very warm and engaging. She handed me a consent form three pages long which may have worried me had I not done the HD brow course and known that these things were sort of a formality so that she was covered in the unlikely event that I had a reaction. We chatted the whole way through which meant I really had no time to get nervous.
Afterwards we talked colours and I was amazed by the plethora of inks she had. I mentioned to her that I thought it was crazy seeing as when you’re in store buying a brow pencil or gel, there are only ever around five shades to use from. She must have had thirty inks of varying shades and she claimed to not even own all of the colours available and to still mix her own to get the perfect match. We settled on a dark brown which is close to my natural colouring.
She then got her eyebrow pencil out and began mapping out my new brows. She measured and drew and erased. She walked all around the room to look at her work from different angles. She looked at them from above and from below. She then asked me to raise my brows, frown and then just talk to her normally. All so she could see how my brows looked at every possible angle. This process took longer than the tattooing itself. It was obvious that she is an absolute perfectionist. She was almost apologetic that it took her so long but I laughed and told her that I would rather have perfect brows than quick ones. I know myself from pencilling or filling in my brows that sometimes they look good in the mirror but from a side-on angle they can look strange or unnatural. Olena was so thorough that I felt in completely safe hands.
When she was happy, she showed me in the mirror and I was delighted. The shape was incredible and she told me that I lacked some hairs along the top of my brows (something I was well aware of) and that she had added some up top to give me more of a brow lift. That is also something that I have been aware of for a while now. My brows are definitely getting heavier and lower as I get older. I know I’m only twenty six but I can definitely see a huge difference since I was in my late teens/early twenties. I always raise my brows in photos and when I’m talking because I’m very conscious of it. Olena was giving me the brow lift that I thought I would have to get Botox to achieve. The fact that she noticed these things really drove home the fact that she knew what she was doing. These are things I have only come to realise through doing my own makeup daily and taking photographs of my own face for blogging etc. Even after she showed me the final shape in the mirror, she still saw one or two slight adjustments she wanted to make, a perfectionist right up until the very end!
Then it was time for me to lie down and the nerves began to kick in. She showed me the needle which looked positively miniscule compared to a regular tattoo needle but when the buzzing of the small handheld machine started up, it was reminiscent of a regular tattoo machine and I began to imagine the sensation of getting a facial tattoo. I was nervous! Olena informed me that cosmetic tattooing is very superficial and only in the outermost layers of the skin so the pain is minimal. She told me the first pass would just take a few minutes. I closed my eyes and tried to relax. There was some slight discomfort that felt quite stingy in some places. I’m usually good with pain but as I mentioned, I was feeling particularly sensitive at the time. It was still completely bearable and only lasted around two minutes per brow. After the first pass, she applied a topical numbing cream which she left on for a few minutes. She then proceeded with the tattooing and I honestly didn’t feel a thing! I could have fallen asleep (she said several people have!). It was even relaxing, lying there with my eyes closed.
As with the original mapping of the brows, Olena was a perfectionist and spent a long time wiping my brows down and adding a touch more here and there until she was one hundred percent satisfied. The second I saw them in the mirror I knew that I had made the right choice. I am in love!
As the name suggests, ombre brows fade from light to dark and have a very natural, powdery look to them. They are the newest technique in permanent makeup and Olena is the first technician to bring them to Ireland. I took this photo the minute I got home so obviously they are very fresh. They should heal a little lighter too. Aftercare is pretty simple as well – keeping them clean and moisturised with a cream she provided for two days.
Throughout the entire process, Olena chatted to me about all of the courses she did around the world and how she helps with training in the UK. She recently won an award for excellence in the 2015 Permanent Make Up Championship UK. You only need to talk to her for five minutes to know that she understands what she is talking about and is an absolute perfectionist – exactly what you want when you are allowing someone to permanently mark your face! I cannot recommend her enough or say enough good things about her. She does a range of other treatments including permanent lips, lash enhancement and eyeliner – all of which you can see on her website.
I like a dark brow so it didn’t apply to me but Olena did mention that the brows are always darker immediately after the treatment so those with lighter hair or who prefer lighter brows may find them too dark before they heal but it only takes a few days for the true colour to be seen.
Obviously this is sort of a first impressions post as I am writing this immediately after coming home from getting the treatment done. I will be doing a follow up post after I get back from my honeymoon. I will detail the healing process, how I felt about them while I was away and then whether or not Olena and I decide I need a top up session and how that goes. Until then, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook for updates! I will try to get a full face photo up tomorrow with makeup, to give you an idea of how they really look.
All in all, I cannot recommend Olena enough. I am obsessed with my new eyebrows already! You can follow her on Facebook and see some of her amazing work, as well as check out the prices and everything on her website. The cost of this treatment is €250 with €100 for a top up session if it is required.
Feel free to ask any questions below and I will answer them to the best of my ability or consult with Olena. But let me know,
What do you think of semi-permanent makeup?
Is it something you would consider?
Disclaimer: I was invited by Olena to have this treatment done free of charge. I was not paid to write this review. These are all of my own opinions and I would not recommend something that I was unhappy with. I put my trust in somebody to tattoo my face and would not enter into something like that lightly – not even for money!