FOR THE past two weeks every time I look at myself in the mirror, my eyes go straight to my eyebrows.
I love them. They are absolutely amazing. They have gone from thin, scraggly, unshaped and dull to perfectly shaped and coloured frames to my face.
All thanks to Vania Bailey and her feather touch tattoo, also known as microblading.
"Five years ago your only option for thinning brows was to draw them on," Vania said.
"Then beauty salons became fashionable and you could get your brows dyed. In my opinion this procedure is the latest and best leap forward. Semi-permanent and gorgeous."
The procedure takes about 75 minutes.
I don't have any tattoos so I had no idea how much pain to expect. There was actually no pain. But I'll start at the beginning.
First I had a consultation with Vania which included a couple of forms to fill out.
Then she anaesthetised my brows with some cream and asked me some questions about how I tanned so she could pick a colour with the help of the Fitzpatrick's Scale - a numerical classification schema for human skin colour. It was developed in 1975 by Thomas B. Fitzpatrick.
Matching colours to skin tone comes naturally to Vania, who is a full-time makeup artist, stylist and now eyebrow architect.
Next she started to draw my brow on. She used a special measuring tool and had me sit up several times so she could stand in front of me and make sure they were right. "Not sisters anymore, but twins," she said of my brows.
However, Vania is not one to leave things to chance. She then took my photo and matched it to an app.
When she was happy with the outline the ink went on. It felt like someone was scratching my skin. There wasn't much talking as Vania was concentrating on the job. "I have to think about where I put every stroke," she said.
After about 15 minutes she put more anaesthetic on and I sat up and had a break while it went to work.
"It's about women empowering women, really. One lady said to me I had given her a piece of her life back," Vania said.
"Brows frame your face and they are very in vogue at the moment."
She went to Melbourne to train. "It was a natural progression for me. I have been working with makeup for years - now it's semi-permanent makeup."
After 10 minutes or so I was ready for the final touches. I found when Vania was working on the very outer edge of my brow I felt it a bit more. It didn't make me jump, it was just a bit uncomfortable, but not what I would call painful. Vania shapes and plucks during the process.
Then it was done and Vania handed me a mirror. Oh my goodness, I was blown away.
They looked gorgeous. I had been worried I might look a bit startled but now they looked like perfectly groomed brows.
Vania said they would fade a bit and filled me in on the aftercare.
I was given some cream to put on four times a day to keep them nice and moist.
"You may get a bit of scabbing. Do not pick it off." I did get a bit on one brow but it only lasted a couple of days and was barely noticeable.
I wasn't to get them wet for three days. And then Vania said, "No strenuous exercise or swimming for eight days. We don't want you to sweat heavily."
Oh dear, what a shame. Eight guilt-free days with no exercise - yippee.
Ten days on they still look stunning, even if I do say so myself. It's great to wake up with perfect brows - one less thing to do in the morning.
Vania says some ladies might need a filling process six to eight weeks on, depending how much brow hair they have. The procedure lasts for about 12 months.
For more information go to Vania Inc, vania.co.nz