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The best semi-permanent makeup | review of eyebrow tattooing at Tracie Giles London

I was so excited to be asked if I’d like to review eyebrow tattooing at Tracie Giles in Knightsbridge, London! I wasn’t an over-plucker in my younger days, in fact I didn’t really pluck at all but as we get older and go through menopause we do end up with thinner brows and my eyebrows were looking a bit sparse.

I have had a regular eyebrow shape and tint for quite a few years but the tint doesn’t last that long so mostly I relied on makeup products to create natural-looking brows, enhance their shape and fill in the gaps! I am certainly not a fan of a solid look and did not want anything other than very natural defined brows and as close to my own (younger) eyebrows as possible.

I had semi-permanent eyeliner a few years ago and loved the low maintenance result, and it had been on my dream to do list to look into microblading for a while but I never seemed to get around to it.

I am so glad I got the opportunity to try eyebrow tattooing at Tracie Giles, I am delighted with the result and the low maintenance look of my new professionally tattooed eyebrows!

Tracie Giles, Knightsbridge

Tracie Giles is a beautiful clinic with a world renowned reputation just around the corner from Harrods in Knightsbridge. They are the UK’s first and only high street clinic dedicated to the provision of permanent makeup and aesthetics. Tracie Giles is run by Tracie and her daughter Charlotte. They have a small and outstanding team of experts dedicated to providing the best results for their clients.

My first appointment was back in early July and then my second appointment was in late August. And yes I did take full advantage on both days and popped into Harrods for a little wander … maybe some window shopping at Jimmy Choo! My family worked for Harrods going back many years so it is always special for me to visit. My traditional coach pram came from Harrods, my first haircut was at Harrods, I used to attend the Harrodian Club children’s parties and of course the real Father Christmas is always at Harrods!

Anyway, I digress! If you would like the perfect eyebrows, and are considering eyebrow tattooing or eyebrow microblading then read on to find out how I got on, I will explain the procedure and the different types of semi permanent eyebrows to ensure you get the beautiful brows you want.

The whole process was relaxing, not at all painful, easy and efficient. I felt completely at ease with Rosie, my brow artist at Tracie Giles, I completely trusted her to create the right brow shape for me, improve my sparse brows and give me the new fuller looking brows that I absolutely LOVE!

What is the difference between microblading and eyebrow tattooing?

Understanding the different types of techniques for semi permanent eyebrows is quite confusing. I’d only ever really heard about microblading but there is a huge variety of different ways to create natural looking brows and the technology is improving all the time.

Microblading uses a specialised handheld ‘microblade’, gives super natural-looking, wispy brows. ​Rosie explained to me that the microblading technique is only suitable for certain skin types as it cuts into the skin so for example it is not so good for oily skin and doesn’t hold onto the tint for as long. It is not so suitable for mature skin.

Eyebrow tattooing uses an electronically powered machine, handpiece and needle and can achieve a wider range of shading effects. This method is not the same as a conventional tattoo and no tattoo ink is used. The same tint is used for both microblading and tattooing and it has been specifically designed for permanent makeup. It is more suitable for mature, over 50, skin.

So having decided on eyebrow tattooing, rather than microblading, I then trusted Rosie to recommend the best option for me and my skin type.

You can read more about microblading vs eyebrow tattooing here.

What is the best eyebrow tattooing technique for me?

There are a few different options to getting perfect eyebrows, who knew!?​

Tracie Giles offers a wide selection of permanent makeup eyebrow tattooing techniques, including 3D Hair Stroke Brows, Powder and Ombré Brows, Combo Brows, Hyperrealism Brows and Microbladed Brows.

Tracie Giles offer a bespoke service and can advise on the best option for you.

before semi permanent makeup
after semi permanent makeup

Powder Brows at Tracie Giles

After chatting about my requirements, Rosie recommended I had a Powder Brow which uses one consistent colour through the whole brow, it is ideal if you usually fill your brows in every day with conventional makeup like a brow pencil. Your brow artist will use a specialised shading technique to create a mist of colour across the full brow that gives a powdery finish. As every treatment is completely bespoke to the individual it can be as subtle or as bold as you want.​

You can also opt for Ombré Powder Brows where the colour is gradually built up from the front of the brow with more depth at the tail creating a gradient effect.​

Rosie told me that powder brows are kinder to the skin than microblading, they are excellent for soft fine hair, they add depth and look very natural. The powder brow technique just scratches the surface of the skin so it is better on mature skin and you do not get any scarring, a specialised digital hand-held tool is used to ensure the absolute best final result.

You will need to visit the clinic for two appointments in total, The first appointment is slightly longer and involves full ‘brow mapping’ to ensure you are really happy with the shape and position of your new brows before your brow artist starts work on your eyebrow tattoo. The artist will assess your skin type, discuss your requirements with you, and decide on the right pigment for your skin tone and hair colour.​

I would recommend doing some research before your appointment and taking a few photos with you (on your phone) to show your brow artist what you would like to achieve. I didn’t! I just put my trust in Rosie, I explained I wanted my brows but 20 years ago and that I’d like them to look natural but fuller. She completely understood and was amazing at interpreting my needs and I am absolutely delighted with the end result.

Eyebrow shaping before and after eyebrow tattooing

It is recommended that you get your eyebrows shaped and waxed or threaded before your appointments. This is so your brow artist can clearly see the shape of your brows and because your natural eyebrows will still grow even after eyebrow tattooing – although you will not need to apply makeup onto your eyebrow area after your tattooing is complete, you will still need to have regular maintenance to keep stray long hairs under control and to tidy up the fine hairs between your eyebrows and maintain the shape that you want. I didn’t have mine done immediately before my first appointment but I did before my second appointment and it definitely helped with the finished result. You may still want to get some tint added to your own natural eyebrows if they are very fair for example.

First appointment …Brow mapping

After an initial consultation to agree how you would like your new brows to look your artist will then map your eyebrows – eyebrow mapping is a shaping technique that uses a special ratio for facial proportions to achieve symmetry and sculpt the most flattering shape for your new brows. You do have to use your imagination a bit as the pencil used is a heavy black and there are various lines drawn on and obviously that is not going to be the end result! But Rosie was very focussed, she explained the process, took her time checking and rechecking every last detail to make sure both she and I were happy with how my new powder brows were going to look. Rosie uses a specialist app on her phone to record the dimensions and take photos – see below.

Numbing cream

Rosie applied numbing cream to both my eyebrows to ensure that I wouldn’t feel any discomfort, this is especially important if you have sensitive skin or are a bit nervous it might hurt. To be honest I didn’t feel anything apart from some light scratching. But if you are anxious then do say so as your brow artist will make sure you are looked after and allow time for little breaks, Rosie kept checking in on me to make sure I was comfortable.

Tattooing my powder brows

The actual tattooing procedure is very simple and your brow artist uses a small hand tool that just scratches the surface of your skin and recreates brow hairs with a series of subtle hair strokes. You lie on the treatment coach and relax, I think my total time at the clinic for the first appointment was 2 hours.

The device creates the hair-like strokes and the tint is added at the same time. The device is not on your skin for any length of time, it is a series of little strokes, and you just feel a gentle buzzing sensation. Your skin will look a little red after the treatment but I did not feel at all self-conscious, I could leave the salon and get on with my day!

To see a reel of me getting my eyebrow tattoo, please visit my Instagram. You can see the process is a bit messy but I was well protected and cleaned up afterwards.

Aftercare for tattooed eyebrows

Rosie explained the full aftercare routine to me and Tracie Giles recommend using their PTSC Spray and Crème Rescue Serum.

Approximately 3-4 hours after your treatment you should wash the area very gently with tepid water and a gentle soap and blot dry with a clean cotton pad.

Then for 7-10 days after your treatment use the PTSC Spray to clean the area every morning and every evening. Once the area is dry then apply a thin layer of Crème Rescue Serum to the treatment area and the entire face and neck.

It is recommended you apply the serum to the treatment area up to 4 x per day for 3 days after your treatment.​

I noticed my brow area was a little flakey and dry for about a week after (this is the scab forming) … but the Crème Rescue Serum was hydrating and to be honest no one else would have noticed!​

You will be given an aftercare treatment card with all the instructions on so you don’t need to remember!

I am very impressed with the Crème Rescue Serum too, I have been using it every day, it is a unique anti-ageing formula that has the ability to fast-track healing, as well as being amazing for everyday skin care.

The Crème Rescue Serum is available to purchase online or at the Tracie Giles clinic.

Follow-up appointment …

Your second appointment should be booked in for about 12 weeks later, you will need both appointments to get the full finished benefit from this form of semi-permanent makeup. As you need to ensure you have no direct sun exposure for 7-10 days after your treatment, make sure it doesn’t clash with any holidays booked. My second appointment was perfectly timed, 10 days before we went away and it meant I had the most perfect and beautiful eyebrows for my holiday! No makeup required!

The second appointment is much simpler and shorter than the first, about an hour, no brow mapping is needed although your brow artist will check position, shape etc and make sure you are happy with the result so far. The first appointment is a more gentle start with less pigment so that you can make any changes to the shape of your new brows and then at your second appointment the pigment is a little deeper and the final result is revealed.Throughout both appointments Rosie’s attention to detail was very focused, she took photographs and checked everything several times.

I was absolutely delighted with the shape of my new eyebrows after my first appointment but as the healing process concluded, I could see that the pigment needed to be a little deeper and Rosie explained this was all part of the plan, it is a gradual build up of tint to get to the final result.

My results

I really am more than delighted with my new powder brows! I was a little nervous about the whole eyebrow tattooing technique, I did worry I might end up with much fuller brows than I wanted. But my results are so natural, they look like I have permanent eyebrow makeup on but in a very subtle, natural way.

I have had a lot of compliments from friends who have noticed. My daughter has given my new look her full approval.

It is a bit like a face lift, having your eyebrows professionally tattooed really does knock years off your look! The finished result frames you face and enhances your features.​

When I was on holiday in Turkey I hardly wore any makeup which is very rare for me, yes even on holiday, but with the results from my recent facials at ERA Clinic and now my new brows, I didn’t feel any was needed. My daily routine while we we were away was a tinted SPF, a little powder, my favourite Code Beautiful – CODE HTG on cheeks and lips and I was good to go, in the evening I added a bit of mascara!

How long does eyebrow tattooing last?

Rosie explained that it is best to get little touch ups once a year and Tracie Giles will message me to let me know when to book in for for that. Results will vary for each individual but they can last up to three years. Lighter tints will fade a little faster than darker tints. And as the brow tints used for semi-permanent brows are soft and natural they will fade slowly over a period of one to three years. If you keep them topped up – your retouch appointment is free of charge – then they will last longer but you may need to start again after 2+ years.​

The terms permanent makeup, semi-permanent makeup, cosmetic tattooing and micropigmentation are all interchangeable and mean the same thing. Although the word ‘permanent’ is used the length of time the results last varies but is usually 1-3 years.

Tracie Giles Powder Brows

So in summary, was it worth it, absolutely yes! It was a bit of a time commitment to visit Knightsbridge twice but I was reassured I was in very safe hands and of course I do love an excuse to go into London and the little detour to Harrods was fun! I am very keen to keep my powder brows topped up now!

To find out more or to book your consultation at Tracie Giles, please visit their website, it is full of useful information and you can call them for a no-obligation chat!

Love from
Michelle xx

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