Semi-permanent make-up by Lara at Browology

What exciting times we’re living in. A hundred years ago there was only one model of car, women didn’t have hairdryers and only the very wealthy owned a flushing toilet. If you wanted to look pretty, you had a go-to pot of rouge, and maybe an unappealing pot of dark paste for your eyes.

Now of course, cosmetics is a multi-billion-dollar industry, but thanks to the wonders of modernity, you can skip all of it and have it tattooed into your skin instead. Semi-permanent makeup is the height of lazy girl beauty and means you can roll out of bed and out of the door with minimal effort.

Myself, I love makeup and think of it as play time, but curiosity always gets the better of me when it comes to weird and wonderful beautifying techniques. So, when Lara Griffiths at Browology told me she’s introducing a new, softer way of doing semi-permanent makeup and asked if I’d like to have a go, I was intrigued.

As a fine art semi-permanent tattooist Lara has traditionally used a single acupuncture needle machine but has started using something called a Bishop Shader Wand, which allows her to create realistic shading effects. To tell the truth, I’m a bit terrified of getting my brows done, as I’ve seen far too many examples of heavy, slug-like tattooed eyebrows – the kind of eyebrows that announce their arrival before anything else. Not that Lara produces scary eyebrows, but I still feel safer doing my own. Brows then, were out.

Arriving at Lara’s in Boston Spa near Wetherby, we chatted, and she suggested doing pixelated eye shadow, using emerald green, indigo and black colour to accentuate my green eyes. As someone who has always found eyeshadow non-essential and a bit of a faff, this was a wonder. All I’d have to do is apply mascara, and I’d be good to go. For evening, I’d be able to play the effect up if I wanted.


Of course, I don’t consider the pain factor until I’m on the bed, eyes closed and fists clenched, contemplating my poor life choices. This is the thing: semi-permanent tattooing hurts. Even with Lara’s very experienced, light touch and copious amounts of numbing cream, it does hurt. And, being as the eyes are such a sensitive area, eyeliner is probably the worst.

The process took a little over an hour, and my lids were pretty sore and slightly bruised afterwards:


I woke up the following morning all puffy and swollen (a piggy eyed Mickey Rourke, post plastic surgery, came to mind). But 48 hours later, all the swelling had gone down and I could see the colour Lara recommended really made my eyes ‘pop’.


I’ll have to go back for a touch up in four weeks’ time, since all semi-permanent makeup requires two or in some cases three treatments in order to intensify the pigment. But this time the appointment will be shorter, as most of the colour is already there.

Yes, semi-permanent makeup can go wrong, so you really need to research a great practitioner. But when you like the effect, you wonder how you did without it. Those early 1900 ladies would have been amazed (and possibly horrified).