Thanks largely to the modern day pressures of trying to live up to the latest snapchat filter in real life, semi-permanent make-up (known as SPMU) has become increasingly popular. But many people don't realise that while for many this is a fun beauty experience, there is actually a very serious, and rewarding, side to the treatment for SPMU technicians like my co-founder Sophie Doros.
Sophie explains: "This treatment is similar to tattooing, adding pigment to the dermal layer of your skin in tiny hair like strokes to give the illusion of perfectly polished brows that look natural and realistic, saving beauty fans having to fill in their brows every day. For people suffering from conditions such as Alopecia, or those going through Chemotherapy during Cancer treatment, SPMU can offer a confidence-boost and some control back at an upsetting and traumatic time."
All too many of us have known loved ones who have been through the side effects of chemotherapy, including dramatic hair loss. While wigs, hats and head scarves can be used to cover dramatic hair loss on your head, it can be devastating to realise that losing your eyebrows can so drastically change your facial expressions and impact your sense of self when you look in the mirror. It's a real honour to support people through this and make at least a small part of their daily life less difficult by offering them realistic and natural looking eyebrows through SPMU.
Alopecia sufferers are another group of clients we feel really lucky to help. This condition can rob your body of its hair overnight, an incredibly emotional experience to deal with. This is obviously very stressful and in a particularly cruel irony, stress exacerbates the condition further. It's a real honour for professionals like us to know that something as seemingly superficial as semi-permanent make-up can actually have a huge impact on a sufferer's ability face the world with confidence and stay positive.
Until you have walked in their shoes, it may be hard to understand how something skin deep can have such a fundamental impact on your confidence and sense of self, so we asked a client with alopecia to explain the impact the condition has had on her day to day life:
"Once I lost my eyebrows, looking in the mirror each morning was my biggest issue for at least 18 months, causing rows with my husband and making me snappy with the kids when I was trying to concentrate on drawing on my eyebrows. I just wanted to recreate the person I used to see in my reflection, the person that I missed. I know people will find it hard to understand but since having my eyebrows back, I can face myself in the mirror in the mornings without feeling tense, angry and unrecognisable. It makes all the difference to life's little pleasures too; I can enjoy swimming with my kids on holiday without worrying they'll splash my face and streak my drawn on brows. If it rains I don't have to panic they'll be smudged, I can just carry on with my day. In addition to saving me time that I can now choose to spend with my loved ones, my confidence is back and stress levels are reduced, so I can just focus on enjoying my life!"
Sophie sometimes finds it frustrating that treatments which can make such a difference to a client's quality of life are dismissed as frivolous, saying: "Aesthetic clinics offer a number of treatments that can help people gain confidence and reclaim control over issues caused by conditions beyond their control. Areola tattooing can be a godsend for breast reconstruction clients, while medical tattooing, can camouflage scars caused by c-sections or self-harm, a huge relief for many clients. So next time you chat to someone who works in the aesthetics industry, don't just ask them which celebrity's brows they get the most requests for, instead ask them whose life they are proud to have impacted recently - you might be surprised by their answer!"