If eyes are the windows to the soul, then your brows are the frame that pulls everything together. With a return in recent years to more natural brows, some folks may have feel they’ve plucked and waxed to a point of no-return, but the team at Pink Clinic and the Calgary Institute of Plastic Surgery (CIPS) have a solution: permanent makeup.

Don’t let the moniker scare you. Like many of the non-surgical procedures offered by CIPS, the techniques used by Pink Clinic micropigmentation specialist Maria Wu are surface level and not truly permanent.

Pink Clinic offers two services when it comes to permanent makeup for brows: eyebrow embroidery and eyebrow hair strokes.

“Brow embroidery is the more traditional method,” says Wu. She equates the application to a tattoo: “The depth and the type of needle will determine how deep you go and the permanency of it. With [eyebrow embroidery] we’ve shallowed it and thinned it out so we can get a more natural look to it.”

Wu says eyebrow embroidery is more akin to using a brow pencil or eyeshadow on the brow bone, while the hair strokes technique is the best way to achieve the most natural result. Also known as microblade, the technique mimics the look of strands of hair. where embroidery’s makeup finish was targeted towards women, Wu says hair strokes has opened the door to men and children who might benefit from the service. Wu sees clients looking to enhance their natural brow, who don’t want to apply regular makeup, or who have incurred hair loss from conditions such as alopecia.

The one consideration is the results are entirely technique-based.

“The [brow embroidery] machine is dummy proof,” Wu says. “You your depth and anyone can hold it and it will do its thing.”

An experienced technician such as Wu knows her microblade technique must be done clean-handed and precise as she is essentially draw on the strands of hair. She says heavy-handed techniques are where poor reputation for permanent makeup comes from. “That’s why we’re seeing a lot of poor work done, because they’re too heavy and they’re slicing through to the muscle and putting ink in,” she says.

Done right, Wu says the microblade is perfect for anyone who may want to change their look in six months to a year. “It’s all about depth of ink placement. We can keep it quite superficial with it still having a chance of it sticking to your skin and lasting a long time, but it’s shorter when you keep it on the surface of the skin.”