OK! | What you need to know about hyper-realism brows – the natural alternative to microblading
Are you looking for a natural-looking alternative to microblading? OK!’s fashion and beauty assistant Emma puts hyper-realism brows to the test on her own “overplucked” eyebrows.
You’ve heard of microblading, you’ve heard of eyebrow lamination – but what about hyper-realism brows? It’s set to be the next big trend in semi-permanent make-up, because it offers a long-lasting way to create the full and fluffy brow look so many of us are seeking. That’s according to celebrity brow artist Tracie Giles, who looks after everyone from Gemma Collins and Vogue Williams to Love Island’s Kaz Kamwi and Sharon Gaffka.
She is one of just a handful of brow artists worldwide to offer hyper-realism brows, explaining that the technique is perfect for ‘‘those wanting the fuller, fluffier brows that are on-trend right now”.
So how does hyper-realism brows differ from microblading? Well, the finished look from microblading tends to be quite groomed, using semi-permanent pigments to create neat, uniform “hairstrokes”.
However, real eyebrow hairs naturally overlap – and that’s where hyper-realism brows come in. This new technique uses a needle and a cosmetic tattooing device to insert pigment into the skin in an overlapping pattern that mimics the natural movement of real brow hairs. This wispy, realistic pattern is combined with more intensity building towards the centre of the brows, creating a 3D effect for bushier, fuller-looking arches.
“When they’re finished, brows look soft and subtle – nothing too harsh,” reassures Miri, brow director at Tracie Giles London and Hyper-Realism World Master Artist.
Tried & tested verdict
Beauty assistant Emma tried the technique with Miri at Tracie Giles London
Having overplucked in my teen years, I’ve tried everything to restore my brows to their natural glory, from growth serums to castor oil, but nothing seems to help grow them out.
Filling in my sparse areas with brow pens, pencils and gels takes up the majority of my morning makeup routine, so I’ve been on the hunt for something a little more permanent. Hyper-realism brows sounded especially appealing to me, because I’m loving the current bushy, undone look.
What happens at the appointment?
After taking a look at my brows, Miri pulled out some swatches of different coloured inks to see which shade would suit my skin tone and existing hairs. She explained that while the colour will appear dark at first, “it will heal 20 to 30 per cent lighter”. For that reason, we settled on a combination of two dark brown shades – one ashy, and one a warmer tone.
Once the colour was decided, Miri used an ink-soaked piece of string to map out where my brows should naturally start, finish, and arch, before going in with a pencil to pre-draw on faux brow hairs as a template. I felt confident that I’d be happy with the result, as I could see how my brows would looked fuller, fluffier and more symmetrical.
How long does it take, and does it hurt?
The whole appointment took just over two hours in total – one hour consultation, one hour of tattooing – but this can vary from person to person. Lightly scratching away at my skin with a super-fine needle, Miri followed her stencil, turning my head from side to side to ensure that my brows were level with each other. Although I was nervous about the pain element to start with, the numbing gel definitely helped. The whole process was surprisingly comfortable, with my brows only becoming slightly sore towards the end of the treatment.
What did it look like?
Holding up the mirror to my face, I almost shed a tear with happiness. My sparse areas were no more, and my brows looked beautifully bushy, not to mention perfectly symmetrical. Miri had added a few light hair strokes in the centre of my brows for a softer, more youthful look, which I loved..
What is the recovery process?
After my procedure, I was instructed to avoid getting my brows wet for 7-10 days, unless applying the clinic’s own Post Traumatic Skin Cleanser, £25 here, followed by their Crème Rescue Serum, £45 here, morning and night. At around day six of the healing process, my brows became patchy and the skin underneath started to flake off. I was assured that this was completely normal though, and just a few days later, my brows were healed – only now, the guide colour had worn off to reveal a lighter, more natural shade. To prolong the results and to add in any additional brow strokes, Hyper-Realism Brows require a top-up between 2 to 12 weeks after the initial treatment, with the retouch appointment taking 1.5-2 hours
How long does it last and what’s the cost?
Although it can depend on an individual’s lifestyle, such as how much time you spend in direct sunlight, Tracie Giles London claims that “results usually last two to three years and can be maintained indefinitely with regular retouches”. The clinic also offers discounts on annual retouches for clients who want to keep their colour fresh.
The treatment, which includes a consultation, your first appointment and your first touch-up appointment when taken within 2-12 weeks, costs £995 in total at Tracie Giles London.
Was it worth it?
Absolutely! I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. Since having the treatment done, I’ve received so many compliments, with friends and family in shock that a good chunk of my brow hairs aren’t really mine. With my top-up appointment in a few weeks time, I’m looking forward to adding a few more hair strokes in for an even bushier look – and I’ll certainly be booking in again when they eventually wear off. There’s no way I can live without them now.