Ink Again

Eyeliner lover Lauren Oakey only went and got it tattooed on. She explains what in God’s name she was thinking.

Years ago, I got an email from a friend who was travelling in Thailand, featuring a full rundown of her recent appointment in a local tattoo parlour. Her tattoo was eyeliner. Top and bottom. I read the email open-mouthed, using the face I did when I watched Un Chien Andalou as I imagined all sorts of ways this could’ve gone very badly wrong. So I’m as surprised now as I was then (see the plentiful AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHS in my reply to her) that I am now the proud owner of two tattooed eyes (one, frankly, just seemed silly).

I was offered the chance to try some semi-permanent makeup from Divinity makeup by the very lovely Michaela at the Treatment Rooms in Brighton, who calmed my perfectly reasonable skeeved-outness. I love tattoos and have two on my arms with more definitely to come, but the needle, bearable after a shot of whisky and some loud, loud music in my headphones on the bus there, was to now touch my, you know, eye. Michaela guided me through the process and answered my many questions about what was about to happen.I was assured that the only slight pain would be some soreness afterwards and possibly manic itching from the healing process, so off we went.

First she applied anaesthetic cream to my eyelid. After a twenty minute wait to let it take effect, I lay on the bed and a needle was run though my lash line to break the skin (bear with me), before another needle appeared to apply the pigment. At this point the anaesthetic had been topped up with something stronger so, apart from the sensation of lashes being lightly tickled, I couldn’t feel a thing. Then I accidentally blinked and some of the anaesthetic numbed my eyeball, so I had to check I wasn’t pulling a Liberace in Behind the Candelabra and lying there with an eye half-open. Throughout the procedure you will have your eyes closed but the temptation to open them to check you can still see is very strong. Despite the needles hovering near my eye and the odd scratchy sensation, it was surprisingly pain-free, and I was left with a lovely neat black line. You can choose to have this as top and bottom liner, or stick with the lash line like me.

The treatment lasted 90 minutes, but this included form-filling and waiting for the anaesthetic to take effect, so the actual procedure only took around half an hour. As there is a risk of infection, Michaela advises not to wear any sort of eye makeup, especially mascara, for at least 4-5 days afterwards while any swelling and dryness subside. I recommend that like me you have this treatment during a heatwave – anything eye makeup related would’ve slipped off immediately and the big black sunglasses that I wore to make sure anything didn’t accidentally fly into my eye weren’t out of place.

I’ve happily gone with just a bit of foundation and some blusher for a few weeks since and the lash line tattoo has made my lashes look loads fuller, my eyes look defined with nothing else on them and not one person has looked at my makeup-free face and asked whether I’m feeling a bit under the weather. I love it.


Michaela offers Lash enhancement treatment at a number of locations across the UK, from £200.

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