“Would you like them tinted too?” is the question I am asked every time I get my eyebrows done, and I always decline.

“Up-selling…” I sniff to myself each time, refusing to be sucked in.

Though a tiny voice in my head usually says, “But maybe they’re right – maybe a tint would really add definition and transform your face – maybe they’re not just trying to make extra money?”

Then I go back to imagining the manager tapping her foot, hand on hip, asking the staff how many gullible women they cajoled into extra treatments that day.

Today I said no as usual. Then I faltered. “How much longer would it take?” I asked.

“Maybe an extra ten minutes?”

This was starting to sound interesting. I do enjoy getting my brows waxed. I get to lie down for twenty minutes, with my eyes closed, music playing in the background, and someone makes me look better. Yes, it also involves having hot wax poured on my face, and tiny hairs being plucked out of my skin, but it’s a small price to pay for twenty minutes of peace.

And an extra ten minutes to give me tint-induced definition and make me look super fabulous? Sold.

“OK, I’ll do it. I don’t want anything too dramatic though – can you do a light version?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “I’ll do a really light version – you’ll hardly notice a change. And next time you can ask for something darker. It’ll be gorgeous!”

Thirty lovely, relaxing, slightly painful but mostly wonderful minutes later, she held up a mirror for me.

I stared at two giant black caterpillars on my forehead, and screamed. A proper scream.

I looked like Frida Kahlo.

Frida Kahlo - Office Mumimage credit: Kent Baldner/

And unlike the usual “Lovely, thanks a million…” answer I give when asked about a mediocre meal or a less than lovely haircut, I couldn’t pretend to be anything but horrified.

“Oh my god, they’re so black – can you reverse it?” I asked, still screaming in my head.

“Em, well, yes, but not until twenty-four hours have gone by, because your skin might come off too,” she said.

“Can you thin out my brows then, so it doesn’t look like they cover half my face?” I asked.

“Well, I don’t think that would help really, and it would ruin the shape…”

The shape? They are caterpillars. That’s not a shape.

“How about I put some concealer on,” she said. “That’ll make them look better – there’s no make-up around your eyes at the moment.”

With no other options, I lay back, and she got to work.

“I know exactly how you feel,” she said. “I was the same the first time I got mine done – I was horrified too. But they were OK after a few days.”

Seriously? Now you’re telling me this? *numerous swear words go through my head*

She did some damage control with concealer, relieved me of €30, and sent me on my mortified way.

I’ve learnt a valuable lesson about the evil that is up-selling. I’ll be back to saying “No thanks, I don’t need an expensive shampoo with my haircut today,” and “No thanks, I already have six thousand tubes of shoe protection cream at home,” and “No thanks, I don’t need garlic bread or chips on the side” (OK, yes to the last one)

And when I need a half hour of peace and quiet, I’ll go back to locking myself in the bathroom – cheaper and less likely to end in tears.

PS, if you see me in real life in the next few days, don’t laugh at the caterpillars.


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20 thoughts on “Brow-Beaten”

  1. This exact thing happened to me! My teenage daughter couldn’t look at me without laughing for about a week. I’m glad you posted this because the horror has worn off and I had forgotten the caterpillar effect – I was considering having them done again. Def won’t now!
    Clare recently posted…Ten Reasons Why It Is Too Early For SummerMy Profile

    1. Don’t go there! It’s so shocking, every time I look in the mirror I nearly faint! I keep forgetting and then catching sight of myself…
      It’s a real lesson – the “feel the fear and do it anyway” thing is sometimes pure nonsense 🙂

  2. Aw, that’s a pity, I love getting my brows and lashes tinted. Especially the lashes. I generally look like I have no lashes, so when I get them done (for weddings and the like) I get them done blue-black so it’s super dramatic. For my eyebrows, I usually ask for light brown. My brows kinda… fade away towards the outer ends.

    1. I wonder if the girl just went to far… I had asked for a light version, but there’s no way in hell this is a light version. She was pretty young and I hadn’t seen her before so maybe she was new. And practicing on me.

  3. **Sigh**
    I Know exactly how you feel. I have been in that exact position.
    My eyebrows are dark enough as is!

    I have found a small eyebrow powder pallet with a light brown or even dark blonde give this effect they talk about. It fills in the gaps. It’s nice, I must say. Mild.

    1. And the silly thing is, I have a light brown eyebrow powder, and every time they offer the tint, I tell them about the powder, and they look at me disdainfully 🙂
      Sticking to the powder now.

  4. Haha..I know exactly how you feel this happens to me every time I can’t make it to my usual beautician 🙂 but believe me it fades after the first day or two. .and then they look fab! I’ve started now to explain to anyone new I go to that my brows actually only take 3mins to take the quite fair anyway so my brows dye really quick. But yeah totally get it, the dreaded caterpillars! ! 🙂

  5. Oh dear. My friend got this done and I must admit we cracked up laughing, but they did die down, and we didn’t notice it at all after a couple of days. I think she drew our attention to it, if she hadn’t I’m not sure it would have raised such a laugh, and like you she told the story so well, what could we do.
    tric recently posted…One moment in time.My Profile

    1. I bet they are fab if you get it done by someone who really knows what they’re doing… and tells the truth when they say they’re doing a light version!
      No laughing when you see me 🙂

  6. This is so funny (sorry!)!!!!!! Ah, you’ll have to show us a photo! I wonder do you have a permanent look of some sort now, like do you look super surprised or super stern????? Ah , ha, ha, ha. Come on, give us a photo!

  7. Oh no sorry to hear you were so shocked by your newly coloured brows but as said above they do die down! My friend is a beautician and the only one who is allowed to touch my brows, she knows exactly how I like them and that’s that! She better not move away anytime soon or I’ll just have to let them continue to grow!
    Louise (@TattooedMumsy) recently posted…As I Lay Him Down To SleepMy Profile

  8. I’ll just copy and paste Joanna’s reply?! Having no personal experience with eyebrows of this nature, but having seen many rather unfortunate Frida-disasters, I empathise deeply (although, I’d say yours are lovely. A photo would be good so we could make a proper opinion 😉 )
    Emily recently posted…A Few PaintingsMy Profile

  9. I’m sorry but this made my laugh out loud! You are a great story-teller. I have natural caterpillars that I keep in check with (hideously painful) threading and some brow powder and after reading this I don’t think I’ll ever risk a tint! I’m sure you will look fabulous by Saturday night x
    Sadhbh @ Where Wishes Come From recently posted…A Winner and a Wannabe WinnerMy Profile

  10. Ah you poor thing! I’m sure they’re not as bad as you imagine. I have to agree with you on the up-selling though. I always refuse. The few times I’ve hesitantly said yes, I’ve lived to regret it.
    Muuka recently posted…Sunday picturesMy Profile

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