Brows. My favourite beauty topic. Some are thick, some are thin, many are offensive.
When it comes to brows, we’ve heard it all: they frame the face, brows are sisters not twins, and tadpoles belong in ponds; okay well, I made that last one up but I firmly believe I make a good point, don’t you agree?
Brow grooming has really come a long way since the days of waxing by using home methods involving mixing the correct ratios of honey, sugar, and water with lemon. Tweezing is still a firm favourite for makeup artists because of its precision. For many years now, brow threading has been popular in western countries, which to me is quite an intriguing practice and looks as though the person threading your brows is regurgitating on your face like a parrot courting its mate, yet surprisingly, does a meticulous job of giving you a clean, groomed brow. Tattooing has been around for decades now too with some great results and not so great results and believe me, I have seen many blue toned eyebrows in my time as Beauty Bitch and these women were not Smurfs, just regular everyday women.
Microblading is the most current brow enhancing option, with many people in the industry becoming trained in this more recent technique, including a fellow cosmetic bitch and now certified microblading Brow Bitch, Deena Spighi, owner and founder of ‘Brow’ed’.
Deena has been loving, judging, and perfecting brows for many years now, so I thought I’d better interview her because quite frankly, she is one of the best in the business in my opinion; not only because of her skill and attention to detail but also because of her commitment to shedding as much light and information about this as possible. As a trained brow artist myself who also lives and loves to judge everyone’s brows, I know a good pair of arches when I see them.
Beauty Bitch: So tell me Brow Bitch, how did you start being so good at brows and what made you decide to improve women’s brows one by one?
Deena: I had no brows growing up so I used to fake it a lot. Being in cosmetics for 8 years, shaping and faking people’s brows was my thing and it just started with doing friend’s and family’s eyebrows, so it grew organically really. Then it started with people asking: ‘can you offer something more permanent?’ and at the time, microblading wasn’t a big craze as of yet; this was around 2014 – 2015 and it had just started to trickle through the system. I didn’t know whether I wanted to take this leap of faith, but I did and I ended up doing a few courses because I appreciated the art and I guess I got to see how it could transform someone.
BB: I find that very fascinating and intriguing because I know it would be quite scary to do something on a face that won’t just wash off. How did you practice?
D: After I finished my courses I thought okay, let me get better at this. I didn’t touch anyone’s skin for about a year because I wanted to keep practicing, so I used silicone mats and actually, my first client was myself because I couldn’t justify doing this to anyone else without knowing what I was going to put people through. So there I was in front of the mirror, microblading my own eyebrows without anesthetic by the way and that was because some people don’t absorb topical anesthetic as well as you think they will, so I wanted to know what that felt like. It wasn’t pleasant but it was bearable and I gave myself these full brows that I had been drawing on for 8 years. That was the eureka moment, that this could be something amazing.
BB: Deena. Please explain what the hell microblading even is, what it does and who it’s suitable for?
D: This form of tattooing falls under many names including: microblading, 3D brow, brow embroidery, feathering, but essentially it just meant to mimic your natural hair so that the colour you’re choosing and the shape you’re choosing is meant to look like you grew hair overnight and have perfect eyebrows, so it defeats the whole purpose when it starts looking artificial. I find a lot of those flat machine tattoos are a little heavy for every day and the microblading process is not at all what I like to refer to as ‘nail salon’ brows. That technique involves someone colouring in your brows with a tattoo machine. That goes a lot deeper into the skin and 9 times out of 10 changes colour over time.
I always try and remind people that yes, I want to give you these big beautiful eyebrows but my opinion isn’t law, no brow specialist’s opinion is law. It’s all up to you. I can draw what is mathematically correct for your face, I will choose everything that is best for you but it comes down to your choice as the client. It’s your choice if you want higher arches or thicker eyebrows.
As for who can get this done? Anyone can but there are factors that affect the outcome. Medication such as blood thinners like aspirin must be stopped 5 to 7 days prior to microblading in case of excessive bleeding. I don’t recommend it for people on heavy medication or with excessively oily skin and large pores on their forehead as it will affect the way their skin retains pigment.
Once you come into my studio, we go through a Q and A and everything is asked from: have you had Botox to are you prone to infection? We look at the skin and there are moments I have had to say no to clients because I already know how it will turn out, and it’s not fun doing that to someone but it’s because they’ve had an unrealistic representation of what their result might be.
BB: There’s so much involved! How did you start your business?
D: I don’t advertise. It all grew really organically. I started with my family: my sister, my aunties, my cousins; just adjusting their brows and complementing their faces and bone structure because that is the point of having this done, so that you have the most natural brows that look the best for you and purely from that, it grew. Word of mouth is your best advertisement and a happy client is your walking billboard. My friends and family got talking as did my colleagues from my previous customer service role and then it blew up. There was a period of time last year I was doing a lot of corrections which scared me and which is why I post as much information as I can about what to look for because I was seeing so many disasters by women who had only done a 3-day course, thinking they’re qualified. Anytime you’re essentially cutting open someone’s skin you need more training. Everyone was jumping on this microblading bandwagon so I went on a rant on my Facebook page. My rants then grew into informative posts, which created awareness.
BB: I do love a good rant, as you know. Deena, why are healed photos so important in your professional opinion?
D: Very rarely do I see people posting healed photos. This is part of the reason women have an unrealistic idea of what their result will look like. I post a lot of healed photos and a lot of progress shots so that it gives women an idea of how it works. Now, it’s a two-step process and because this tattoo sits on a superficial layer of skin, it fades quickly because your skin naturally exfoliates due to lifestyle factors, sun exposure etc. Eventually, as your skin peels, the tattoo fades which is why I recommend a colour boost every year to a year and a half to keep your brows fresh, so that you don’t have to start from scratch all over again.
The biggest complaint I get when I have corrected brows is ‘my previous brow tech didn’t listen’ which is why I show so many progress shots: from the natural brow, 1st session, 4 weeks healed and then the second session. People seeing a healed brow is the most important and realistic view of microblading. It’s important to show clients every aspect, not just the perfect aspect. An artist with true integrity and true passion won’t be afraid to answer any of your questions and to show you a front on photo. If they don’t, run! There is nowhere to hide with a front on photo.
BB: When you’re booked out and find it difficult to get to clients or vice versa, can you help your clients find a way to make sure they can get access to this amazing technique?
D: I don’t want people to just be coming to me. I will absolutely answer all your questions and help you find a microblading artist if you’re in Adelaide or Perth or even down the coast because I have seen other work by amazing artists. I will always recommend someone else if my clients don’t have access to me because we need to support each other. Beauty is a dog eat dog world I know that, so I am more than happy to help others grow their business too.
BB: Tell us about your special project.
D: I started offering my Brow Empower Project because I watched a very close family member go through a really hard time with cancer. After seeing her losing her confidence and femininity I had eureka moment number 2 when I thought to myself: ‘hang on. I do people’s brows day in day out.’ So I did her brows and the impact was massive. She looked in the mirror and she seemed so different. So I decided to launch this last year and asked my clients to nominate someone and the overwhelming response and messages I got from people pouring their heart out really humbled me. It made me realise this little brow business I have is not just about brows. It’s about making people feel great again. So I thought, this is what I am going to do.
Initially, I was only doing 3 free eyebrows, then it grew to 5 and then 10 and now I try and give as many free sessions as I can because I am in a position where I can and if even I am struggling, I still can. It means a lot to me and other people. It doesn’t even have to be someone going through cancer it could be alopecia or any skin issues that you just don’t have control over. Everybody in my position should be able to help others.
I just do brows at the end of the day, that’s not anything special but you can make it special. Seeing someone leave your studio happier than when they come in makes it the best job in the world. I want to grow my business absolutely but I don’t want what I do to become meaningless or to lose heart. Hiring someone else means the quality of your work changes. My clients will never just be a number to me and I want to be the first point of contact for all my clients, always.
Deena is based in Melbourne but flies to Sydney regularly for appointments because, well, why should Melbournians have all the fun?