There are two beauty-related moments in my life that have completely changed my 19 year relationship with trichotillomania. The first was the discovery of false eyelashes aged 15; the second was having my eyebrows tattooed in January 2016 by Sian Dellar. It sounds sad, but these beauty epiphanies have completely changed my life for the better. Those of you who have trichotillomania might understand this; those moments that make you feel as though there is light within the murkiness of the disorder, that provides a glimpse of hope, that makes your life with hair loss tons easier. For me, microblading was one of these profound moments. I finally had brows. Not only that, but they were brows that looked completely natural and that I didn't have to worry about. One year down the line, they are still there (although much more faded) and as I look to my top up appointment, I've been thinking about the impact this procedure has had on my life.
I don't think many people will truly know what a pain in the backside brows can be until they have to draw them on completely from scratch- having the guess at there they should go, the length, the shape and how to make them look natural. For 5 years I struggled with this process every single morning, spending anything from 15 minutes on a good day to over an hour if I just couldn't get them right. All for the sake of trying to fit in, look normal, not having people stare at me because I was bald. And to be perfectly honest, I think this made more people stare at me because my brows were so damn awful (maybe that's my trich paranoia kicking in though). In 2015, I starting to do my first research on getting my eyebrows tattooed. I had huge misconceptions of the whole process; I imagined blocky, black sharpie type brows that would be stuck above my eyes for life. It goes without saying that I was completely wrong. The whole industry had developed so much and the artistry of it meticulously refined. Microblading was to change the way we maintain our eyebrows forever.
Using the hair stroke effect within microblading means that brows are left looking incredibly natural; the pigment is applied in such a way that it mimics real hairs and the way that they would grow. It was an ideal option for someone like me with no eyebrows at all and one that I will continue to invest in. I keep thinking about the little ways which that 2 hour appointment changed my life. Although it has made me pull my eyebrows out a lot more due to the fact that I know there will be no visible consequences (you can read my full post about this here), small things such as getting an extra 20 minutes in bed because I just have to quickly fill in my brows with a pencil rather than creating them from nothing each day, not stressing about wiping them off when I go swimming or to the gym and not feeling self-conscious in front of friends and family on no-makeup days.
All those little negative restrictions of trichotillomania (that were eyebrow related at least) have disappeared. Many of you trichotillomania sufferers will know that it is often these little restrictions that impact your life most; the consequences of your pulling start to broaden and ripple into areas of your life you never thought they would and this in turn makes you feel even worse about it, often re-triggering the viscious pulling cycle. Not only has microblading banished these little things that I hated so much about having trichotillomania, but I feel so much more free without them, like a weight lifted. In this way, it's had a practical, physical and emotional impact on my life that is so more far-reaching than I ever thought it would be. I look in the mirror and don't hate the bald face staring back at me so much. I generally feel so much better about myself- getting rid of the self-loathing and appearance shaming is such a huge step in overcoming the emotional burdens of the disorder.
That said, I still pull. As they have faded (you can see how much they have done so over the past 13 months in the photos, although this isn't 100% accurate as the brow has foundation over it too which makes it seem more faded than it actually is!), I have started actively trying not to pull my eyebrows out as the baldness becomes more visible. Beforehand, I didn't care and took the faux hair strokes for granted. I can start to feel the old bad emotions creeping back in as the tattoos fade and they don't look like 'real brows' anymore, but I know this will be rectified by either growing the hairs back or getting the tattoo topped up. At this stage, I definitely need to fill my brows in every day for them to look natural- the tattoo alone just won't cut it- and I am starting to get a tad self-conscious when I go to the gym etc.
Although it is an expensive procedure (you're looking at a few hundred at least), it was utterly worth investing in. I still have the perfect outline for filling in my brows which saves me so much time and stress, and the ease when they weren't so faded was just a complete life-saver for me. It did something which I didn't think was possible; it made me not concerned about trichotillomania. If that isn't worth spending money on, I don't know what is.
Are you thinking of getting your brows microbladed? If you have, what has it changed for you?