Ah, eyebrows. You’ve heard it a million times before: they frame your face. Mine have always been average: light brown, thin by default, and with no real shape to speak of. I didn’t even experience the rite of passage of over-plucking them in my youth and regretting it for years to come, so it’s always pained me to read stories claiming I should just “grow them out” and “embrace my natural shape.” That’s not to say, though, that, if you’re in the same boat as me, we’re resigned to a life of mediocre brows. It’s 2018, after all! We have options, guys, and I’m here to run you through them—from improving your necessary, day-to-day product arsenal through to the slightly more intense (yet positively life-changing) option of microblading.

If you don’t have considerable brows to start with, products can make a world of difference. Benefit Cosmetics’ National Brow Artist and all-round angel, Hannah Mutze, suggests starting with a growth stimulant before reaching for a pencil or brush. Try Benefit’s BrowVo! Conditioning Primer, which will condition the hair to help stimulate its growth over time. From there, it’s really about personal preference—a brow gel will give you instant, brush-and-go texture, while a powder is ideal if “softer yet more build-able colour” is preferred. This I translate to mean more of a defined, Instagram-esque arch. And the pièce de résistance? Finish by brushing your brows upwards with a clear setting gel to make them look thicker. Full disclosure: I’m still using Benefit’s 24-HR Brow Setter, even post microblading session. It’s that good.

It’s no secret among those who know me that I’m lazy when it comes to my beauty routine, which is perhaps why microblading has always intrigued me. For the uninitiated, microblading is a semi-permanent tattooing process that involves tiny needles being used to apply fine, feathered strokes to your brows to fill them in and alter their shape where necessary. That said, it’s still a tattoo by nature, so it pays to do your research. I booked in with Sydney’s undisputed brow master, Sharon Lee, whose clients include Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian. (If you need more convincing, take a peek at her Instagram.)

After informing me of the ridiculousness of my thinking that I was in for a lifetime of having mediocre brows, Sharon advised her team to apply some numbing cream to my face and pour me “at least three glasses” of champagne—a woman after my own heart. Sharon specialises in her own signature “Triple Layer Stroke” style, which involves using various colours to ensure your the brows look as natural as possible, taking into account one’s face shape, depth, and even hairline to enhance their natural features (read: no stencils). After three drinks and 30 minutes of waiting for the numbing cream to do its thing, the pain wasn’t bad. Yes, it hurts, but if you can handle wax or laser, you can handle microblading. That said, be prepared to spend another 30 minutes in the chair while your new eyebrows are perfected. Those tiny strokes take time and patience, people.

Upon completion, my eyebrows were instantly a more flattering shape. They were a touch darker than what I was used to, but Sharon advised that this would fade over the next few days while the colour settled and my eyebrows healed. I’m due back in two months for an initial top-up, and then once every year to follow, for maintenance.

The consensus? My boyfriend loves them, my friends think they suit my face better, and my acquaintances (who are none the wiser) keep asking what I’ve done to freshen my look—yet no one has guessed.

Words, Carly Rogers.