The History of Eyebrow Tattooing

Microblading Mount Eliza

It seems that ‘modern’ tattooing has its origins in the Polynesian islands. One story talks about conjoined twins born on the island of Ta’u, Samoa, who were separated accidentally by the prow of a canoe. They landed in Fiji, where they learned the art of tattooing. The twins eventually returned to their native Samoa and one of them, Taema, became a tattooist and a teacher of the art.

In Samoan, the word tatau means “appropriate, balanced and fitting”. This is a perfect explanation of what we aim to achieve with the semi-permanent eyebrow tattooing today.

Eventually, the art of tattooing spread to other Pacific islands, including New Zealand. We often see the familiar and beautiful Maori tattoos.

But tattooing goes back much further than this. When mummies of ancient Egyptian rulers and priests were removed from their tombs, they were found to have intricate tattoos. Cleopatra herself had exquisite ‘permanent makeup’. Many of the Egyptian tattoos were of symbols that had special meaning to them.

Archaeologists have also found the ancient mummified body of a Sudanese woman with a Christian symbol tattooed on her thigh, showing that tattooing was practised in northern Africa around 2000 years ago.

Tattooing was also done as long as 7000 years ago in the north-west of South America and more than 5000 years ago in Europe. The frozen body of the ‘ice-man’, found in Northern Italy in 1991, was heavily tattooed; he had died about 5000 years ago.

All of the ‘ancient’ tattooing practices (and many modern ones) produce permanent tattoos. Modern eyebrow tattooing, also known as Microblading or eyebrow feathering, produces a semi-permanent result that can be renewed every few years or allowed to gradually fade.

Unlike the placing of pigments deep into the lower layers of the skin as in ‘normal’ tattooing, eyebrow tattooing uses a microblade – a fine blade consisting of a line of tiny needles – which is dipped in pigment and then gently stroked across the skin to ‘create’ fine hairs that resemble the person’s own eyebrows. It can be used to fill in thin eyebrows, extend or thicken existing eyebrows or ‘create’ eyebrows lost through disease or over-plucking. The pigments used can be natural plant-based, or synthetic.

At Style My Brows we offer both natural and synthetic pigments for you to choose from. The shape of the brows is designed very much in consultation with each client, with input from using the ‘golden section’, an ancient tool for creating pleasing and classical proportions, also found in nature in the shape of shells and flowers. We also offer brow shaping with wax and tint, lash lifting and tint, lip waxing and chin waxing.

[Information gathered on-line from the British Museum, Australian Museum, Wikipedia and various tattooing sites.]