I tattooed my eyebrows. Here’s why.

Permanent makeup has been around for years. I remember the first time a friend told me she was going to get permanent eyeliner done in the early 2000s. I thought she was insane, but then again, as a person who doesn’t wear makeup every day, it’s not surprising I didn’t see the need.

Fast forward to years later. With the advances made in the area of false eyelash extensions, and eyebrow tinting, I happened upon an Instagram page of an eyebrow threading place that did eyebrow microblading. I then did a simple search on Instagram, and was exposed to so many different microblading artists.

What is microblading? Microblading is a treatment where a technician tattoos pigment onto your face using a small tool with tiny blades so that it looks like tiny eyebrow hairs! It takes two visits under the knife for your brows to be complete. Learn more here.

So, since I’m STILL someone who doesn’t wear makeup every day, why the interest?

Well, when I was 19, I had a bad car accident which left a scar on my left eyebrow. While I have eyebrow hair, my left brow couldn’t grow hair in the inner part (beginning of the brow). On top of that, when thinner brows were in, I plucked or waxed quite often (a la Drew Barrymore below). And, these days, thick brows are in. So I wanted microblading!

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Via InStyle: 1990s: Drew Barrymore
The grunge era also saw some interesting shapes, similar to Drew Barrymore’s skinny, ultra-dark arches.

One of the first things I started looking for was style. Big, boxy brows are in, but I didn’t think they would look good on me because I’m not one to draw them in every day. So I started eliminating artists who tended to draw that style.

Price was also a factor. Microblading can range anywhere from $350-1200. I found someone in New Jersey who was in the $400 range and did some nice work. But when I saw her for my consultation, she was very concerned about scar and told me she insisted I do microshading (see the difference here), which would look a bit darker. I decided to pass on her services.

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This look, which appears to me like more microshading than blading, was not for me.

She got me thinking about my scar and I decided I should look for someone who did great work and had experiences working with scars or tougher cases.

My awesome assistant director at work started researching for me and found a place with BEAUTIFUL work on their website and an artist who worked in the $600 range. I went for a free consultation and decided to book with their artist, Jessie.

The name of the salon? Six & Ait.

What I loved about their work is most of their brows were very natural looking. And that’s what I wanted. Also, their space in midtown on 5th Avenue was immaculate.

When I went for my first session, Jessie decided I needed a hybrid combination of microblading with some shading since the scar caused my one brow to be slightly higher than the other, and some balancing was going to be needed. She did this using a microblade that has a tight row of 14 tiny needles, and then a microshading tool.

Now, no two brows are ever identical. They’re more like “sisters.” And, after my first session, I was pleased. But I’m not going to lie, the first few days are hard. It takes about a week for the color to lighten. In the beginning, just like when one gets a regular body tattoo, the pigment is VERY, VERY dark. I could see people at work squint while talking to me in that “Why does she look different?” kind of way. I almost didn’t want to leave my office.

As for pain, there was none. However, one CANNOT work out for 7-10 days because sweating can cause the pigment to get pushed out of the skin. Those who know me know I love to work out, so it was tough and I was relegated to long walks. That was challenging.

But it was worth it.

Five days later, I was super pleased with how they looked. In fact, four weeks later, when I was ready for my second appointment (the touch-up), I almost didn’t want to get them done (and go through the very dark brow treatment again). But I am glad I did. By day five (when I had a gala to attend), my brows were perfect.

The photo below shows my brows before microblading, after session one, and then the touch-up.

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Brows by Jessie at Six & Ait. Btw, in case you’re wondering why I’m so well-lit, they use these amazing ring lights.

I’m on day eight after my touch-up, and my brows still have about a week or more to fully heal. I should avoid sun-tanning and makeup on the actual brow for at least a month. Check out the entire after-care process here.

They’ll lighten a bit more and should stick around for at least a year to a year and a half, or even two years! I highly recommend Six & Ait and if you mention my name when booking, you’ll get a little discount!

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This low maintenance gal is happy with her brows by Jessie at Six & Ait.
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Via ‘With a Brooklyn Accent:’ The United States of Sports and Music

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Clockwise from top left: Mickey Mantle, Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers, Willie Mays, Dion and the Belmonts.

Via Mark Naison, professor of history and African American history at Fordham University:

Growing up in Crown Heights in the 1950’s, the child of two teachers who had come out of dire poverty to scrape into the middle class, I viewed politics and government as abstractions, frightening and remote. Between my parents whispered talks of McCarthyite purges, the mushroom clouds I saw on tv, and the shelter drills we had in school, politics was scary. Televised pictures of Eisenhower and Nixon, who looked nothing like the Jewish, Italian and Black People in our neighborhood, made it remote. I was told by my parents never to sign a petition, the Constitution was something we memorized in school and trying to become President seemed absurd for people in my section of Brooklyn.
So how did I become “American,” attached to the possibilities, mythologies, and opportunities the nation offered to people of modest means who came from immigrant backgrounds?
It was sports and music which made me American. Watching Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Duke Snider play center field; watching Carl Furillo, who had the same face as many of my Italian friends, throw bullets from right field; listening to Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers; Dion and the Belmonts, and Little Anthony and the Imperials, kids who came out of neighborhoods just like mIne, create beautiful harmonies and sell millions of record; watching Giants linebacker Sam Huff try to tackle the great Cleveland running back Jim Brown! These were things that brought fame and fortune to kids like me, things that showed that anything was possible in America even if you grew up with very little or were stalked by ancient hatreds, such as the anti-semitism that was so much a part of my parents childhoods.
Read more here.

A beautiful moment at a Brooklyn club…

I’m sure there are some folks who have never been to New York City who imagine that, on any given night, one can find a nightclub to hit where one can hear all kinds of global music and an inclusive environment for anyone—gay or straight, dancing along to it. But that’s not really true.

This is precisely why I became a huge fan of a monthly party called Que Bajo?! a number of years ago (2011) and attended it as much as possible. It was the one party where I could hear music from Colombia, Africa, Puerto Rico, hell, even funky beats coming out of Austin, Texas. Purely danceable stuff with guest DJs from across the United States, Europe or Latin America making a pretty diverse crowd dance all night long.

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Geko Jones and Uproot Andy, founders of Que Bajo?!

That party is now defunct but, luckily for us, its DJs are still out there working at a variety of parties. (Que Bajo?! co-founder Uproot Andy is back from touring in Brazil and will be playing in Brooklyn on Friday, July 7!)

The other founding DJ, Geko Jones, is now throwing a party called Ministerio de la Parranda. Thankfully, this party is continuing the work of providing a cool space for a diverse crowd to hear a “sancocho” of flavors from Latin America and beyond.

Here’s just 29 seconds of video from the party on June 24. In it, you’ll hear the BEAUTIFUL chords of an African guitar so often heard in Congolese soukous and Colombian champeta music. I had to stop dancing and hit record because, again, this music isn’t easily found in New York City, and I needed to share the moment, which came on New York City’s Pride weekend.

It was a beautiful moment and although I’m very sad to see Que Bajo?! go, I’m happy there are other spaces where one can enjoy such an atmosphere.

(Read my story about the new party in Sounds and Colours.)