Dear Val:
Should I have my eyebrows filled in with a tattoo, and maybe have eyeliner done as well?
I understand the appeal of not having to apply or remove makeup every day. But—I don't know what this says about my character, or whether it has to do with commitment issues or maybe my advanced age—I just can't bring myself to do anything to my body that isn't easily reversible, including marking it up with indelible ink.

If you're more the adventurous type, there are a few things you should know. First, to determine whether you'll have an allergic reaction to the material used, test it behind your ear near the hairline, says Mitchel P. Goldman, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Diego.

About eyebrows: It's difficult to replicate the appearance of hair with tattoo pigment, says Zoe Draelos, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. And eyebrow shape can change as your face ages, so the brow you like today might look…not quite right with the face you have tomorrow. It's wise, therefore, to take a very minimalist approach.

Eyeliner results are a bit better, but because tattoos tend to migrate and fade over time, you'll probably need a touch-up in about three years, says Dr. Draelos. Keep in mind that it takes three to four laser treatments to remove a tattoo—and the treatments aren't painless, Goldman says.

"Aren't painless?" I asked.

"It means they're painful," he said.

Pass me the eye makeup, please

Bottom Line: If, after very careful consideration, you decide to go ahead with a tattoo, the most important thing to remember is: Less is more.


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