BROWS WITHOUT THE BULL
Seconds into meeting Suman Jalaf she says she knows exactly what I want from my microblading brow treatment. I’m relieved by her confidence because this is a BIG DEAL, right?
Founder of Suman Brows and right now, arguably the must-see brow expert in London, she’s got a list of MEGA celebrity clients. The ones I’m allowed to disclose are Brit actresses Emilia Fox and Suki Waterhouse. (Good thing I’m not writing this late on a Friday night with Malbec, or I may have spilt the brow beans!)
WHEN BROWS GO BAD
Right! Let’s get real. We’ve all perhaps giggled a bit when you Google ‘brows gone bad‘ and my main concern is that I might end up in the camp of wicked whispers once I go under the needle. You know when something looks shit but no one has the guts to tell you? And in my opinion, when it comes to brows, there’s a fine-microblading-line between looking natural and not. Some prefer this stronger, bolder look. I don’t.
Not. One. Bit.
And Suman seems to understand this. I think…
BEAUTY REGIME OF A 40 YEAR OLD
You see, when I turned 40 this summer it meant finally embracing the confidence to assert what I liked, what works for me and what doesn’t. I’m still learning, of course and I’m relatively happy to try out new things, but I’m also firmly at that stage where I’m keen to let many things go. For example, eyeshadow. Years spent as a beauty editor writing about how to do the perfect smoky eye were TOTALLY wasted on me. I’m just not a smoky eyes person. Eyeliner flicks and mascara are much more like it. If I’m honest, smoky is a faff and all my sub editors will be pleased to know that I STILL Google whether it needs an ‘e’ in it haha!
So, when I explain that I’m really worried I’ll end up with an obvious blocky brow, Suman quickly bats away all my fears with an unflagging confidence.
It’s terrifying but reassuring at the same time. However, feeling slightly more at ease in the knowledge that this girl knows her shit, there’s still a nagging doubt that this could still go horribly wrong. The fact that I wasn’t paying for the £450 treatment was irrelevant* the results can last for up to 18months! That’s a long time to look crappy, right?
BOOK IN ADVANCE
Suman is BUSY so make sure you book well in advance. At my first appointment she had a client from Wales come down first thing and then a client who moved to Doha came to have her brows done! I guess this is the issue with being REALLY good at something. When you’re in this much demand, it’s FULL ON! Suman has about 12 customers a day for threading and shaping but limits herself to five for the super precision treatment work, like microblading.
Important things to bear in mind before you book are that you’ll need TWO sessions before you get your final WOW brow results so work out timings for any big events and holidays etc. Initially, your brows will look REALLY, REALLY obvious and blocky, so it’s not something you can do the night before, say a wedding or an important presentation for example – and sunbathing isn’t recommended directly afterwards either (Note: Everyone reacts differently, so all of the above maybe unnecessary, but if it’s your first experience of microblading, my advice would be to err on the side of caution)
So, onto the actual treatment. A patch test is required first and not being local to London, it was posted out to me a few days before. I simply had to apply the dye onto the inner crease of my arm and wait for any reaction. All was well. I left my brows to totally over grow before my appointment. How I now long for my teenwolf brows but after decades of over-plucking, they’re now sparse, unruly and unloved. So after advice from my local brow threader to throw out the tweezers and only attend once a month threading sessions, I was now ready for some shape and definition.
A numbing cream is applied all over both brows and is left on for 45 minutes. After about 10mins you can feel it start to heat up and it tingles. If you’re a parent, relish in the fact that you’ve got 45 mins to sip tea, read magazines and chill-the-f-out! Wicked! Enjoy!
Then it’s time to sit in Suman’s chair. A good brow artist knows that there isn’t a stencil or template for the perfect brow shape despite those silly, gimmicky things you can buy.
Everyone’s face shape is different and no two brows are the same.
So before any work is done, Suman measures up to ensure that the right shape, width, size and depth is achieved. She likens it to a form of architecture for the face where the result is a bespoke brow that suits only YOU!
BROWS WITHOUT THE BULL
OK. So you’ve read my ABOUT ME page right? This is my blog and my words. I won’t lie to you, it FUCKING HURT! Real bad. I was not expecting it to kill. Maybe now that I know, it won’t be so bad in the future, it’s just that I’d NEVER read in ANY of my research that it could hurt so much. I wasn’t prepared. I nearly cried. The second top up treatment still hurt, but I knew what I was letting myself in for and Suman was amazing. She’s quick and she could tell it was uncomfortable for me. Now, not everyone will experience pain, Suman said that some clients loathe the noise more and wear headphones. (The noise was gross too but for me, the pain far outweighed that scratching, black board kind of noise) Needless to say, I had to call in those mental pain reserves which for me means reminding myself that my vagina has pushed out a baby, twice! I’ve had tattoos and even that wasn’t as painful. So be warned, but please don’t let it put you off.
Suman is so swift with her craft, it’s over in a few seconds. The press release that is given to beauty journalists trialling the treatment are told:
“Using the most delicate technique the hand held micro-needles manually implant featherweight strokes with medical grade approved pigmented colour into the epidermis of the skin. Creating an end result that is soft, flawless and beautifully bespoke to your face.”
Translated, this means that you are having fine cuts made to your skin to create that natural hair-strand effect and then dye is applied onto them. So poetry aside, the release is spot on, it’s factual but it just omits the fact that it could hurt like hell.
But the no pain, no gain cliche is true, and it’s all over soon enough. And. Ta-Da!
It’s a 6-8 week wait before your second treatment so you have time to psyche yourself up before you go into the final round. Expect much of the same, except this time Suman can see areas that may not have taken as well to the dye and areas that need darkening, so you really do have to wait until this final treatment to get a true idea of the finished result.
It’s a long process people. But in my opinion, it’s worth it. For me, getting my brows done was like getting botox! Turning 40 meant that I was starting to seriously consider the pros and cons of botulinum toxin but thanks to microblading, I need not have bothered. The results are like getting a face lift! Everything is lifted as Suman rediscovers angles and brings back facial structure by re-sculpting brows and thus framing your face.
There are only two things left for me to tell you.
The first is that depending on your skin type, your brows may scab over. Mine did, terribly, but you have to be strict with the rules. Things like not getting them wet for up to ten days may seem absurd but it’s recommended as is not picking off those itchy scabs. Instead, coat them in coconut oil and leave well alone. You’ll look bizarre for a few weeks after – as I did – but hey, if a bunch of teenage boys at my son’s paint balling party can be polite enough to ignore the strange things crusting over on my face, then I’m sure you too will be fine. Just think about the end results.
Last thing, the price. They aren’t cheap but as mentioned earlier, they can last for up to 18 months which is incredible if you consider how much you can spend in cosmetics if you draw or fill in your brows daily. I’m not here to push you into a treatment at all but I will say that I also wear less make-up too these days, so I’m also saving money there also. It’s given me a new sense of confidence too. Sounds wanky, innit! But it’s true.
My face just feels ‘ready’ when I step out of the shower in the morning.
Of course I still get them threaded every three weeks or so (locally, not with Suman) but the shape has remained for over six months now which the threader simply follows. While I don’t think I’ll quite get to the 18 month stage – my skin is very oily, which usually indicates a much shorter life span with any treatment like this – I reckon I’ll safely sail into the middle of next year before I need to go in for another top up.
So there you go. Brows without the BS people. I hope you enjoyed reading and found it useful. And as always, feel free to comment and ask any questions below, I’d love to hear from you.
If you’re thinking about a treatment email Suman here for availability firstname.lastname@example.org and tell her I said ‘Hi’ .
For more info go to SumanBrows
* As a beauty journalist, I did not pay for my treatment