Just as promised, here’s a post re: my recent permanent makeup touch-up:

Arrived at Asheville Permanent Makeup Clinic at 131 McDowell Street and instantly felt at home–the reception area was really nice and welcoming, and I was glad to see the poufy leopard-covered sofa that I remembered (and coveted!) from The Secret Spa location.

Earleen Bennett took me into the treatment room and looked at my existing makeup. We talked about what I wanted this time (a little darker coloring), and Earleen took standard “before” photos. In short order, I was relaxing on the padded adjustable table (much like a dentist’s chair) with a comfy pillow tucked under my knees while Earleen prepped her equipment.

She numbed my eyebrows with a topical cream made to her specifications by a local pharmacy. After that took effect, she used a new needle to scratch through the skin of my eyebrows to ready the area to receive ink. Once she started working, I could tell that her new needle machine operated more smoothly and with less vibration than I felt several years ago–a definite improvement!

After eyebrows, Earleen numbed the area of my upper and lower eyelashes. Once the numbness seeped in, my eyelids felt uber-funky, sort of like windowshades pulled all the way down and tied to a brick. They were closed for business and my efforts to open them or blink them or command them in any way were not impressive. This is probably a good thing; no one needs to see a tattoo needle that up-close-and-personal!

Earleen worked her magic in a combination of three different shades of green designed to complement my eyes (hazel) and skin tone (fair). When she was done, I felt better than the first time I received permanent makeup; the process was easier and I knew what to expect. She took “after” photos for comparison and gave me a refresher course on caring for my new color.

I went home with the skin around my eyes beginning to sing “Ave Maria,” as they say in the gritty detective stories of 1930’s pulp fiction. Ouchy, but not unexpected. (I don’t know how it feels to other people, but it feels like a super-sunburn to me.) I took two Advil, applied a cold (damp, not wet!) compress to the area around my eyes and rested for a while. When I got up, the sunburn feeling had eased off considerably.

The next morning, the skin around my eyes looked puffy and the inked areas (eyeliner and eyebrows) looked nearly black. This is absolutely normal–the “real” color is safe under a protective crust that forms over the tattoo. I had taken off two days from work, but I had an early appointment and some errands to run, so I camouflaged as much as possible with a ball cap and glasses. I still thought I looked a little weird–like I woke up with a bad hangover and had tried to hide the evidence with an overabundance of black eyeliner–but nobody seemed to pay any attention. (Either I didn’t really look bad at all, or else the nice people at Panera Bread have seen lots of hangovers!)

By Sunday (I had the work done on Wednesday), the dark “crust” was flaking off (you can’t pick at it because of the risk of disturbing the new color) and I could see the real color. It looked fabulous, of course, and I was ready to go back to work and flaunt my face.

One half of the whole (brow and eyeliner).

I keep thinking of Maori warriors  and their elaborate facial tattoos; I wonder if they’d accept me into their brotherhood* now that I, too, have ritualistic designs inked on my face? Forget it–I already belong to a sisterhood of women warriors who choose to fight the battles of daily life with confidence-inspiring warpaint that doesn’t wash off…

*Maybe I should get in on that brotherhood, after all, since honorary members include Harvey Keitel in The Piano and Johnny Depp in Cry-Baby (okay, that’s a stretch, but a good one!). I just hope it excludes ear-chompin’ Mike Tyson–his face now looks like a beat-up ’51 Mercury coupe whose owner could only afford flames on one side of the dented hood…

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