Eyebrow Enhancement

ELLE’s Executive Fashion Editor, Stacey Duguid, spent years over-plucking her eyebrows. Could semi-permanent make-up make her ‘angry, spiky little stripes’ gorgeous again?


I've plucked and mucked about with my eyebrows for as long as I can remember. As an awkward 16-year-old, thick, bushy slugs lazed above my eyes.  At 18, I discovered tweezers and those slugs transformed overnight in to angry, spiky stripes that sort of hovered around my lower forehead, aided and abetted by a reddish-brown Body Shop eyeliner.

They remained thin and cross until around four years ago, when fashion went full circle and reverted back to the Brooke Shields look of the early 90s. Suddenly, thick eyebrows were all over the catwalk, feted by make-up artists as face-framing and youthful. It was official: the eyebrow was back.


Ever since then, I’ve been willing mine to grow again and although last season I had a small breakthrough when I discovered the Chanel eyebrow kit, which I now use to ‘rescue’ my brows on a daily basis, it’s never been quite enough. The Chanel palette transforms my brows with brushes and powders but it’s not the same as waking up with real brows. And what if I’m ever stuck without it?

I heard about semi-permanent eyebrow makeup through a friend who’d lost all her hair in a medical procedure but who now sports a pair of brows as full and natural-looking as her very own. After doing a bit of research of my own, I’m ready to take the plunge…

I book an appointment with Sarah Jagger, who’s so in demand she only offers salon appointments one day a week as the rest of the time she’s tending to private clients.

Originally trained as a professional make-up artist, Sarah spent so much of her time correcting other peoples’ bad semi-permanent jobs, she decided to learn how to do it herself – only better. I think the fact she’s a natural perfectionist helps. Take, for example, the fact she spends 20 minutes taking measurements and prepping before a needle so much as hovers above my eyes. Very reassuring. She also does a patch test to check I’m not allergic to the ink, and a pencil test, in which she colours the area she’ll be inking for me to approve.

After numbing the area with a little cream, she gets to work with a very fine needle attached to a whirring machine. It’s pretty uncomfortable, scratching and making me sneeze a lot, but within 30 minutes, Jagger is done. I’m handed a mirror and relieved to see a normal looking pair of eyebrows that look identical to the ones I paint on every morning.

After three days, the small scabs that formed after the treatment flake off and I’m left with immaculate eyebrows. If anything, they’re not quite enough, but that’s an infinitely preferable result to the overly thick and unnatural looking eyebrows I had worried about, and anyway not a problem as each appointment includes a six-week follow-up where the ink is topped up to ensure it lasts the promised eight months – and where you can go a little thicker and darker if you wish. Which I do.

My only regret is that the results won’t last forever.

Eyebrow enhancement by Sarah Jagger at Martyn Maxey costs £400. Enq: 020 7629 6161

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