Marian Keyes: Beauty is in the eyebrows of the beholder

Sudden Wild Enthusiasms: Eyebrows

Fashion is a funny thing. I look back at photos of myself from, say, ten years ago, and my heart nearly stops in my chest because, like, THE STATE OF ME! Worse still, back then, I was probably going around, thinking that I was grand. Like, I must have, because if I knew how I really looked, I wouldn’t have left the house.

One of the things that hits me from those old photos is that I have NO EYEBROWS! I am a Baldy Forehead. My brows had been plucked away into insignificance because that was the look back then. But now the look for eyebrows is all Defiant and ‘You’re-claimed!’ and ‘Oh-yeah-want-to-make-something-of- it?’ However, if you’re misfortunate enough to have lost your eyebrows to chemo, or if – like me – you’re driven by shame of your sparse and wonky brows, colouring them in is a pain.

Which brings me to semi-permanent eyebrows! Back in the olden days of the last century, people’s only option was literal tattoos, which looked like two solid lines drawn with one of those thick markers. (The ones with that delicious petrol-like whiff that you can’t stop smelling.) Effective but hardly ideal.

Microblading took place over two sessions – just in case after the first you clocked the caterpillars perched on your browbone and wanted your baldly forehead back

Then microblading (also known as Phi Brows) kicked off in Asia – this involved manually making very fine incisions in the skin beneath the brow, 'drawn' to look like hairs, done in the same direction as individual hairs,  then dropping pigment in to match your natural colouring. The process took place over two sessions – just in case after the first one, you clocked the luxuriant caterpillars perched up there on your browbone and got the collosal fear and wanted your old baldly forehead back. But if you held your nerve, hey presto, thrillingly realistic-looking eyebrows which lasted up to two years.


Seven years ago Greystone's legendary Up To My Eyes introduced Ireland to a process they've trade-marked as EmBrowdery. It's a modification of microblading, tailored for Irish skin, which is generally thinner than Asian skin. EmBrowdery's perforations don't go as deep as microblading incisions tend to, and because of this, the pigment is added over three sessions instead of two (although the cost is the same.)

Both Phi Brows and EmBrowdery are now available in Ireland. I had EmBrowdery done about five years ago and LOVED the results. More recently, when I was too lazy to drive to Greystones, I got Phi Browed at Araya in Leopardstown and also love the results.

Both times, the process itself, not gonna lie, babes (as the young people say) hurt slightly, at least to start with. However, after the first ten minutes, it passed and then I was flying it.

Now I’m swanking around the place with an excellently hairy-looking forehead and I could NOT be happier!