Brows are big business baby!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you can’t have missed the hairy trend that’s steadily taking over the faces of A-listers - as well as mere mortals - everywhere.
And now a Sheffield salon has become one of only a handful in the region offering ‘dream brows’ for those who aren’t blessed with natural bushiness.
Vinisha Ali, who has run Illusionz Salon in Attercliffe for over 20 years, has been offering ‘brow jobs’ since last November.
“Brows have been big for a few years,” explains Vinisha, aged 41.
“Ever since Cara Delevingne exploded on to the scene in 2009 with her distinct look.”
And she’s right; the supermodel’s bushy brows famously spawned thousands of copycat looks overnight as she seemingly convinced an entire generation of women to ditch the tweezers.
“You can’t pick up a beauty magazine these days without reading about brows,” smiles Vinisha.
“They’re the hottest feature on the face; you can even get away with no makeup, if you have the perfect eyebrows framing your face.”
But Vinisha says this trend is just the latest in our long and fascinating brow history.
“In the last hundred years, eyebrows have gone from straight to arched, from thick to thin and back again,” she reveals.
“20 years ago when I launched this salon, eyebrows were thin, pencil-like and rounded; it’s crazy how our tastes have changed.”
This is something Sheffield make-up artist, Emma Howe, can confirm.
“Throughout history, brows have dominated the looks of iconic women,” she says.
“I work with ladies from all walks of life in Sheffield, plucking, penciling and preening in pursuit of the perfect ‘on fleek’ brows.”
Today, Sheffield lady Joanne has stopped into Illusionz for Vinisha to work her magic on her eyebrows.
“I remember overplucking, along with everyone else in the 90’s, it’s funny how trends can change so completely,” laughs Joanne.
“I have very dark hair so I’ve been spending lots of time filling my brows in lately; I really fancied something more permanent.”
Vinisha begins by numbing Joanne’s eyebrows with a local anaesthetic, and then draws an outline of where she is going to apply the pigment, ensuring it is symmetrical.
“These are semi-permanent brows and can last anything up to three years,” explains Vinisha.
“With trends changing the way they do, semi-permanent is ideal.”
Once Joanne’s eyebrows are numb, Vinisha takes a new, sterile blade out of its packaging.
“The procedure is called Microblading Eyebrow Embroidery, and the blade is actually a little prong of needles,” explains Vinisha.
“Every blade is used only once, for each customer. I dip the blade into the pigment and then work my way along the brow, following the direction of the hair growth.
“I use the blade to insert the pigment, gently tapping it into the top layer of skin.
“It gives a really fine look, that resembles your own hair. I’ve been working with semi-permanent make-up for years and I’ve never seen anything this good.
“It can take up to half an hour to do both brows, as I like to do it a bit at a time and build the look up. Even with big beautiful brows, less is often more, so it’s best to go steady.”
The pigment comes in a variety of colours, but today Joanne has requested black, to match her striking hair.
“It’s not even remotely uncomfortable,” confirms Joanne, as she lies back and waits patiently for Joanne to finish the procedure.
“I can’t wait to see the finished result.”
And 20 minutes after she began, Vinisha straightens up and hands Joanne a mirror.
“Wow,” she smiles, turning her head from side-to-side, clearly thrilled with her new designer brows.
“That looks great, so natural.”
And it is - even a sceptic like me has to admit there’s nothing remotely scary about this look. The brows look groomed, fabulous and, most importantly, completely natural.
And Vinisha says her ‘dream brows’ service goes beyond a simple beauty treatment.
“It’s not just for people wanting luscious brows,” she insists.
“I’ve had people who’ve been through chemotherapy and lost their own hair come and have this done. I also have a few clients with alopecia, this is something that is really working for a lot of people.”
Call Vinisha on 0114 261 8000 for details.