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The Bold, the Beautiful, the Brows: Q&A with Jennifer Phipps, Brow Artist

As a makeup artist, I see eyebrows in their many states of being: artfully groomed, growing out from being overly groomed, never-been-touched unruly, and all things in between. And while this is a judgement-free zone when it comes to how you want to approach your grooming and appearance, I say with urgent sincerity that having your brows shaped by a professional can be totally transformative in the most positive way.

The right eyebrow shape and tint can shave years off your appearance, helping you look more rested, more expressive, and giving your eyes a lift. I use makeup to define and embolden your brows, and will remove stray hairs here and there. But if you want your makeup to look the best it possibly can, it's better to have them professionally shaped ahead of your session with me.

In many cases just waxing and little tinting can make a world of difference. But if your brows are very thin or the hair refuses to grow, then you might consider taking it a step further and trying microblading - the art of using non-permanent ink to "tattoo" brow hairs where there are none. I took the leap and had my brows microbladed 2 years ago and have never looked back. In any case, you'll want to consult a true brow artist.

Jennifer Phipps, owner of the beautiful Satori boutique esthetic space in White Salmon, Washington, is just such an artist. She's an entrepreneur, mother to 15-year old triplets, and wife to a husband who also just started his own business. An esthetician for more than 15 years, Jen has honed her skills, evolved with the times, and is one of the best brow artists I've ever met.

I had the chance to ask Jen a few questions about the brow arts:

Hi Jen, you're amazing :) Tell me a little bit about yourself and what inspires you:

In the grand schemes of things I am a driven, passionate person. I am surround myself with people who are also passionate for living this life we have created in the Columbia River Gorge. If you asked me 20 years ago, I would have told you I needed to live in a “big city” to fulfill my dreams, but now I am very thankful every day knowing that I am here because of the people of this area.

When I have time, first and foremost I love watching my girls do what they do - any sport any time. I hope that I have instilled upon them to work hard and play hard. I love to sit back and enjoy where we live, but I also love putting in the hours to make my space a place people will want to be.

How do you work with a client to find the best brow design?

First of all, before measuring, ask: What do they like about their brows? What do they hate? You can learn a lot about someone by just asking. I can’t tell you how many people tell me they got waxed without a consultation. I never quit asking. I don’t care if it is your first appointment or if you have been with me since I started this career.

Some people just don’t know and that is where we come in. Just by looking at a person I can see where their brows should be. There are also lots of techniques to make them perfect, but I also consider what kind of maintenance does this client do. Is there tinting, powder, or pencil used daily? How often are they gong to come in and see me? Do they tweeze? I know they are “just” brows, but it is your face! And in this demographic, we don’t wear tons of other makeup, so why not make the most of what you’ve got?

Why would someone consider microblading versus having their brows waxed and tinted?

Tinting is not a lost art. Some people have lots of brow hair, but can be too light to actually see. I love brow tinting - it can make a HUGE difference. Tinting is less invasive, lower cost. Both are great, and the wonderful thing is both are available now! I will say it again, you can only tint the hairs that are there, and if you are a person who is outdoors a lot then tinting can fade quite quickly. So in that case, microblading might be the better option.

What inspired you to pursue training in microblading?

In this career, you have to evolve. Evolve not only your perception of what beauty is, but also roll with the times. If you are doing the same thing year after year, your advantage fades. I saw microblading as a way to further enhance what I was already doing. Time after time I had to send numerous clients away because I couldn’t help them any further - I'll say it again, you can't tint brow hairs that aren’t there. You can only do so much to a brow area if there is nothing to work with. Microblading is a procedure that can help those clients.

I also love the artistic and creative side to microblading. Everyone has their own unique style. I can look at a brow on Instagram or Facebook and identify whose artwork it is. And as much as I know, I am still learning - every day I learn something new. If you stop educating yourself, you might get as well hang it up.

TRUTH. The idea of microblading can be intimidating for some people. Doing your homework on practitioners is always a good idea. What are the key questions one should ask when researching practitioners?

First off I would like to start by saying make sure they are licensed. Also know what their license covers. Most states right now don’t have set rules and regulations for microblading. Some states are more strict than others.

Next, look at their social media. A qualified PMU (permanent makeup) artist will have a social media account with a portfolio. I couldn’t wait to post my work! Make sure you like the style they represent - styles range from very natural, to very bold. Some artists are so fantastic they can give you both.

A lot of PMU artists and clients don’t talk about color theory, which is super important. I was a hair stylist for 7 years, so I already had this down but a lot of artists struggle with this. Ask your artist how they choose color. What color line or pigments are they using? Look at that brand's social media. Using good product will protect your asset.

Look at their work space, is it clean? Dirty? Carpeted (a no-no)? Where are they storing their tools. Are they using disposables, an autoclave? I try and base my rules for sanitation on the ones used by the most strict states. I figure that if I use them I am up to date on best practices.

If a bride is considering microblading before her wedding, what is your ideal timeline for consultations and appointments?

Honestly, I would say 4-6 mos pre wedding. The consultation needs to happen right away if you are thinking microblading is right for you. The artist needs to make sure that there are no contraindications. Also, you may need to consult with a couple of artists to make sure they are a correct fit.

Then, once you have decided on your artist, you'll find that many artists are scheduled pretty far out. So I would suggest getting on the books immediately for both appointments - most artists break your microblading appointment into 2 sessions. The first is a full session, the 2nd is to finalize the shape, color, and to see how you retained color. Each appointment takes around 1.5-2 hours. I usually like at least 4 weeks in between these appointments.

What’s the best way to get in touch with you to schedule a consultation?

I make it pretty easy online and the consultation is free. I really like to get to know you - I want to see how nervous you are, what questions you have, and if this is right for you. Some people will email or call to do an “over the phone” consult. Both are pretty simple.

What’s your best piece of advice for a bride as she’s getting ready for her day?

I have so many! The most important message I can relay is to relax. You have done all of the preparation. Once you get to your hairstylist, or makeup artist, sit back and relax. Have someone take your phone while doing the finishing touches. This is your time - enjoy it!

Oh, and please drink tons of water and eat something. Once your hair and makeup is done it is GO time!

You can follow Jen and Satori on Instagram @__satori_______

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