Define, Define, Define
READ MY LIPSTICK - Regina Belmonte (The Philippine Star) - March 27, 2015 - 12:00am

A couple of birthdays ago, I went to Boracay with two of my best friends. I would never describe myself as an outdoorsy person, but I need to set foot in saltwater at least once a year, so we decided to make a Lost Weekend of it. Hitting the seaside with family is never an issue; they’ve seen me in the morning, padding down the stairs on bare feet in ratty pambahay with the mess on my head unbrushed and my dark circles un-concealed. But it’s different with friends. The problem with going to the beach with friends is that pictures are definitely going to happen, so you need to bring your A-game at all times.

How do you look presentable in photographs, but still beach-appropriate? Always difficult for a goth casual city girl like myself. Everything remotely resort-y in my closet (not much) went straight into my weekend bag. All my summery makeup shades — coral and orange lipstick, cobalt blue liner — went into my kit. But before putting any of it on, I asked myself: “Will they judge me if I step out of the hotel room wearing lipstick?” Maybe they wouldn’t judge me — I’d done more ridiculous things that they knew about; the friendship spanned decades — but I figured they would probably tease me about it, so I laid off the lippy and the liner and swiped on some lip-and-cheek tint instead.

Lo and behold, when I met them on the fine white sand of Station 1, both of those bitches were wearing liquid liner and mascara. Both of them. “I can’t believe I’m the beauty editor and you’re both wearing more makeup than me!” I complained, as I pulled my tube of Lady Danger out of my little bag. The whole three days continued in the same vein, and we all looked really good when we were onshore, but the liner and mascara proved to be a mistake when we finally deigned to go swimming. Nothing is ever truly as waterproof as it claims to be, and seawater is a solvent — we all looked like messes when we emerged from the surf.

As a beauty girl, though, it’s still so hard to let go of the need to define, define, define. Chinese genes mean that the lashes on my upper lashline are thin and sparse (lower lashes, what lower lashes?), giving my eyes practically no definition without the assistance of eyeliner or mascara. Without that little touch of eye definition, I feel like I look tired, sleepy, and plain — something I think lots of women out there can relate to.

I imagine this must be even more difficult for women who aren’t used to applying eyeliner on a daily basis. I can get a great wing going in about three minutes in a moving vehicle, but many ladies I’ve met have complained that they can never keep their hands steady enough to do a straight line. How do you people get to work on time? It boggles the mind.

#No(Eye)Makeup: The effect of Eye Define, just hours after the procedure. No redness, no swelling, no eyeliner, no mascara, no problem!

Often I find myself wishing there were a more permanent solution to my superficial (but very real) problems, but I’ve seen the effects of bad makeup tattooing and I would never. If drawn unevenly, permanent eyeliner is, well, permanent. If it fades badly, it’s always going to look a little blue or green. Yikes.

It’s for all of those reasons that I was reluctant to try Browhaus Manila’s Eye Define service. Why bother risking permanent eye definition when I can just apply eyeliner every day? But I was promised that it wouldn’t look like eyeliner, just like subtle definition along the lashline; super natural. It would only be semi-permanent, so if I hated it, it wouldn’t be forever. Also, I like to try everything once, so as soon as I saw it on an actual human being (one of Browhaus and Strip’s owners, Tab, who looked fantastic), I gave it the green light.

Before the procedure starts, you talk definition with the therapist. How thick do you want it to be? What color, black or dark brown? In my case, though I like to wear loads of eyeliner, I wanted the line to be as natural as possible, so we decided on fine definition right along the lashline — literally among my eyelashes. We went with black, because my natural hair color is jet black. And then we got started.

My eye area was cleaned, and a numbing cream was applied for around 20 minutes to minimize the pain. The specially-designed machine they use for the procedure buzzes slightly like a tattoo gun but isn’t one — it doesn’t go nearly that deep — so while the feeling can be mildly irritating, perhaps a little itchy at times, it’s mostly painless. (Your therapist will keep asking you how it feels; your comfort is their priority, so if it’s getting less than tolerable, tell them and they’ll numb the area further.) A vegetable-based ink is used, and the inking process takes an hour.

Afterwards, the therapist cleans the excess ink off the area, applies aftercare creams (and then gives you your own aftercare kit and explains what you’re supposed to do: for starters, don’t wet the area for a day, apply the aftercare creams as directed, and don’t wear eye makeup of any sort for a week), and helps you up, and you’re quite literally good to go. I walked out of Browhaus and straight to a birthday lunch for my grandfather, so there’s no downtime. Some people might experience a little redness or swelling — I didn’t. I went out that night to go dancing and everything was perfectly fine.

The line itself, while very dark and very defined when freshly applied, faded somewhat over the weeks after the procedure was done. Eye Define can last for up to a few years, but touch-ups are recommended every few months or so to keep the definition going strong. It’s certainly not liquid eyeliner-black like it was at first, but it’s softened to a very natural-looking definition that I really like, because it’s not obvious. I’m all about subtlety, and what Eye Define has done for me is that it’s made my natural lashline look thicker than it really is. Thick enough that on days when I’m too lazy to mess around with eyeliner, or don’t really need to look overdone, I curl my lashes, apply mascara, and am right out the door. That’s really everything I was hoping for.

At P28,000 for upper eye line definition, Browhaus’ Eye Define is certainly a pricey procedure. But if you hate prepping in the morning, or if, like me, you’re the kind of lunatic who still likes to look made up on the beach, then it’s definitely an investment worth making.



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