canterbury’s own lifestyle magazine / a great local read

There are many women (and some men) for whom drawing on brows is a daily task. Whether they have naturally fair brows, overplucked their brows in the past, suffer from a medical condition such as alopecia (hair loss) or have lost their eyebrows to chemotherapy, applying brows is time-consuming and not always easy. Add in a passion for swimming or working up a sweat at the gym and those painstakingly drawn brows can dissolve in an instant! For others, less-than-perfect eyesight or a tremor makes the job an imprecise art.

Eyebrow tinting is an option for some – those with fair brows can have them darkened, but this relies on having hair to tint. And even under the best conditions, it needs repeating every few weeks.

Hannah Fox, of Hannah Fox Permanent Cosmetic Enhancements, offers an alternative that can last for one to two years between touch-ups. In her Ashburton clinic, Hannah transforms lives with incredibly real and expertly applied cosmetic tattooing. Her background as a cardiology and emergency nurse ensures clients can be confident that they are in safe and experienced hands – in an unregulated industry, this sets Hannah apart. Like nursing, the field of cosmetic tattooing is always evolving and Hannah studies regularly to ensure her education
remains current: she is qualified in tattooing brows, eyeliner and lips, with further education in colour theory for cosmetic tattooing.

The process can be completed in one unhurried appointment, usually taking about three hours, and one touch-up four to six weeks later. It begins with an in-depth design procedure where specific measuring points such as bone structure and eye size are used to work out the perfect ratio. Says Hannah, ‘I spend a long time getting this right, sometimes longer than the tattooing process itself, but for me it has to be perfect.’ Colours are mixed to create the correct shade – Hannah’s additional study in colour theory ensures a thorough understanding of skin tone and how the same pigment will look different on every person.

Her approach is conservative: ‘Less is best. You can always make it bolder on the second appointment.’ Aftercare instructions and product are provided and then there’s a touch-up appointment a few weeks later, when colour can be built up further, if required.

When it comes to the procedure itself, there are two approaches – microblading and powder (or ombré) brows – and Hannah is trained in both. Microblading uses a handheld implement that gently etches tiny cuts to mimic the flow of natural hair (feathering). It has become popular in recent times and the result can look superb, but Hannah points out that it is not suitable for all skin types. A powder brow, on the other hand, is performed with a tattoo machine to airbrush pigment into the skin, gradually building up colour, and has the advantages of working on all skin types and being gentler in general. Permanent eyeliner and lip tints adding a flush of colour and the illusion of a fuller lip can also be performed. The key, warns Hannah, is not choosing a clinician who only performs microblading as this can mean being steered in a direction that is not suitable.

The result of getting it right is remarkable. Hannah recently received a letter from a young woman with alopecia who wrote, Honestly, I don’t think you realise how much you’ve changed my life. Whether it is eliminating a daily chore for busy women or helping someone who has fought cancer feel whole again, Hannah is constantly humbled by how cosmetic tattooing changes lives. ‘I feel very blessed to do what I do.’

For more information, visit

WORDS Michelle Berridge