Years ago, when Cosmetic Tattooing was less extensive and popular, the shaded brow was often seen negatively. People who desired the service were more interested in getting as close to a ‘realistic’ look as possible, often of an older age group, and wanted a look that many wouldn’t know was tattooed. However, as time and trends change, as well as skills and products, the ‘shaded’/’ombre’/’powder’ brow has grown in popularity. I want to discuss what it is, what it is NOT, and why you should consider this style.
So what is a Shaded/Ombre/Powder brow?
Every artist across the world uses various different names for this style of brow, which makes understanding the terms very difficult. We personally use these three terms, shaded, ombre or powder. Shaded in this article, refers to both an ombre or powder brow. By using the term shaded, I am referring to the technique rather than the finer visual details. Simply put, a shaded brow is just that. All shading, just colour, no hairstrokes.
Shading is typically closest aligned to a ‘makeup’ look. It often mimics the look as to when you have popped a bit of powder onto your brows. How defined, or how soft this is, entirely depends on your personal preference.
An ‘Ombre’ brow would have a softer front, graduated to fade out and avoid a ‘harsh’ front.
A ‘Powder’ brow is the same density throughout the brow, however, both techniques are done largely the same, one is just simply heavier at the front.
Shaded brows can be done in all colours, from the lightest blonde to the strongest bold brown, and all shades in between. Having a shaded brow does not mean you have to have bold, black brows! We do tonnes of beautiful blonde shaded brows, that look super soft and suitable for our clients face, skin tone, and desired look.
How does it heal?
Often, you’ll see photos of FRESH treatments. This is after the first treatment, which is around 2.5 hours long, start to finish. This means the skin has been worked on for around 1.5 hours and therefore is going to be a little red, and completely fresh in the skin. This means the colour can look very bold, a little strong and a bit too ‘perfect’.
A big misconception with shaded brows is that it will stay looking exactly like that fresh look. The colour will generally fade around 30-50% upon healing, depending on your skin type. It will still look AMAZING, however that ‘perfectness’ you see when first done will settle. A layer of skin will heal over the new tattoo and redness underneath will disappear, and therefore the brow colour will drop significantly in healing. By 4 weeks, your brows will look like you have filled in your brows amazingly, symmetrically, and what’s best, is they will stay put 100% of the time.
Shaded brows can heal as soft, or as sharp as desired. They will always soften to a degree, however if you love them looking super sharp, this can be achieved, as much as a softer edge can be achieved. Shaded brows are custom, to your preferred look and desired outcome.
Why should I consider a Shaded brow?
There are a few different reasons that a Shaded Brow could be a great option for you. Consider all of these and always review plenty of fresh and healed photos before choosing to make sure the style is exactly what you’d like.
A common issue we see is clients trying techniques like Microblading & Hairstrokes and struggling to get them to last past 6-8 months. This is most likely down to their skin type. Oily skin is the most challenging skin type in Cosmetic Tattooing. Oils make pigment fade faster, therefore if you have delicate thin hairstrokes, with oily skin, it will fade extremely quickly. And if the strokes do stay put, often they blur out, not really looking like hair strokes anymore. So we recommend Shaded Brows for oilier skin types, as the density of the style will give you the longest lasting, and visually best results. If you have had microblading in the past, and it faded really quick, consider a shaded brow instead.
More & more, we are seeing clients come to us that have had cosmetic tattooing done elsewhere previously, which is still very visible in the skin. Sometimes, these need removal before we will work over them. However, if a good result is realistically achievable, we may take it onboard but likely a shaded brow will be the only option. Artists all work differently, different pigments, techniques etc. Therefore, to achieve a good, smooth result, often a shaded brow is required so we can cover ALL previous work, and give you the most even healed result and neutral fade out possible. Depending on the previous work, powder brows may be the only option. We would inform you of all the factors in the consultation, allowing you to make the decision, however if we don’t believe we can achieve a good result, we would not proceed with treatment.
Lifestyle & Style
This is often the most common factor when deciding what look is for you. If a client comes in with strong make up, especially on their brows, this will often lead us to sway towards a shaded look. If you are used to a heavier look, you may find the super soft hair stroke look ‘not enough’ and still feel the need to pencil them in each day. Alongside this, if the client is a regular gym goer, swimmer, traveller, or sun worshipper, shaded brow will last longest of all techniques. These lifestyles all speed up the fade out process, and they may find that a natural look requires much more upkeep and more frequent boosts.
The last factor which I would consider is their natural brow hair growth. If my client has a reasonable amount of natural hair in the area, or thick coarse hair, I would try to sway them towards a shaded brow. This is for a couple of reasons; if a client has a reasonable amount of natural hair, they may not get the benefit that hairstrokes offer, as their natural hair is already providing texture. Shaded brows put colour behind the hair, allowing the hair to give texture to the brow, making the brow look softer and more natural, but also giving the shape and face definition. The second reason would be that hair can trap oils. As mentioned before, oils make the pigment fade faster, so where there is more hair, there are often more oils. The pigment will fade quickly in these areas, and you may need a boost much sooner.
Shaded brows are admittedly not for everyone. However, there is a lot of misconception around the style, and honestly, healed photos are what you should be looking for. If they seem too strong to you fresh, check out healed photos before dismissing the style. I often have clients say ‘yours look natural’, yet I personally consider mine to be quite strong, sharp ombre brows. Seeing them healed allows you to see how they will look every day, rather than the first couple of weeks.
Research is everything with brow tattoos. You may love the look of hairstrokes, but your skin type and lifestyle means they just wouldn’t last. By having this information, you can save hundreds of pounds, and time spent, trying to achieve a look that is next to impossible. We advise all our clients, with all the information we can, what style is best for you, both in terms of look, but also the long term results, in 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and more.
Knowledge is power. Feel powerful.
Love Pixie xxx