As someone who is cosmetically challenged, the idea of shaping my own eyebrows into a look that is considered socially acceptable is a task best left to professionals. Oh, I tried to groom my own eyebrows. Once.
An attempt was made in ninth grade which involved a men’s razor, tears of horror & anguish, and is henceforth known as the Lost Eyebrows Episode of 1990.
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What I learned from my follicular crisis was that it was far better to entrust your brows with someone who knows what they’re doing. Unless, of course, the professional screws up… which can happen. And did, to one poor woman in Kansas City, Missouri.
Jami Ledbetter, a 42-year-old mom of three, booked a microblading appointment in the hopes of achieving perfectly sculpted eyebrows. What she got, however, was less of a brow sculpting, and more of a literal brow-beating.
For those not in the know (like me!), microblading is the process of tattooing color into the eyebrow area with a tiny needle, either to fill in sparse spots or to create a definitive brow shape. When it’s done correctly, microblading gives brows perfect arches & uniform coloring.
Ledbetter, who was born with nearly non-existent eyebrows, was given a $250 Groupon gift certificate for the procedure by her thoughtful daughters, & couldn’t wait. She booked the appointment with a woman who claimed to be certified in the microblading process.
Certified, my arse- the “professional” somehow managed to make poor Jami’s brows look certifiably cray-cray.
When it comes to eyebrows, a common beauty saying is, “Eyebrows are not twins, they’re sisters.” The expression means that each individual eyebrow should ideally follow its own unique shape, based on the natural contours of the face.
Poor Jami Ledbetter ended up leaving the salon with a pair of wild, angry sisters -that seemed to want to float on up into her hairline if given the choice- that were now permanently tattooed onto her face.
As you can imagine, this experience rocked Jami’s world, and not in a good way. The botched brow job embarrassed her so profoundly that she didn’t want to be seen in public, only leaving her house for work & essential errands.
And as if this traumatic experience wasn’t enough of a blow to her confidence, her boyfriend broke up with her… over the busted brows. As Jami told Missouri news station WBRC:
I was devastated. I was even dating a guy and he stopped dating me at that point.
(One word for that guy: LAME. Seriously, guy??)
First Jami tried to cover the “crazy brow” -her term for them, not mine!- with cosmetics, which wasn’t effective. The makeup irritated the tattooing, giving Ledbetter unwelcome side effects:
It was pretty painful. I tried to have a good attitude, but it burned a lot. It felt kind of bruised.
(As bruised as her ego probably was, poor thing!)
She next enlisted the help of a woman who said she could camouflage the tattooing, but the method also proved ineffective.
A friend finally referred her to the services of Kara Gutierrez, a licensed & insured tattoo artist that specializes in cosmetic tattooing & tattoo removal.
Gutierrez, a seasoned professional, has undoubtedly seen all matter of tattoo regret & poor results. Her first reaction to Jami’s appearance illustrates just how bad it was; as Kara told Fox 4 Kansas City:
It took everything in me to hold back tears because this is the worst I’ve ever seen.
And that’s coming from a woman who’s probably removed more than her fair share of tattooed Tweety Birds & hearts off countless butt cheeks, so that speaks volumes about Jami’s plight.
Kara’s procedure to remove the brow blight from Jami’s face involves more tattooing; a special pigment lightening solution known as Li-ft is tattooed into each specific spot that contains the original brow ink.
Every eight weeks the solution is then removed from the tiny insertions- the holes develop scabs which are then ripped out, pulling the tattoo pigment up with it.
OUCH. Guess we can’t complain about the standard eyebrow waxing discomfort, now can we??
Ledbetter’s appearance has vastly improved since she began the treatments in November of last year, & should ideally only require 2-3 more sessions.
And how does Jami look now, you may be wondering? Well, apparently we’re in good company in wanting to know, because when I typed her name into Google, the most popular auto-fill search is: “Jami Ledbetter now“.
We want the deets, Jami! Are you ok, girl??
A recent picture shows that Jami’s brows are looking a lot less ferocious, & we’re relieved for her:
Jami’s experience is a cautionary tale about the need for more stringent regulations when it comes to cosmetic procedures.
Although some states have specific regulations, many do not; unfortunately, Jami’s home state of Missouri is one that does not.
Without regulating, virtually anyone can claim that they are “certified” as a cosmetic technician… without having the hours of practical training & procedural knowledge that are necessary to avoid devastating outcomes like Jami’s.
Kara Gutierrez wants to emphasize to people the importance of doing your research when it comes to selecting a technician for potential cosmetic procedures:
A certification is just a fancy piece of paper saying [someone] learned how to do this. It doesn’t necessarily mean [they’re] an expert. “Don’t just look into the person that’s doing it. Look into their instructor.
Jami agrees; she echoed Gutierrez’s sentiments to WBRC as well:
Research it. If I would have known it was going to turn out like this, I probably would’ve never done it at all.
TRUTH! While her browline will recover, her wallet might take a little longer to heal; the removal process is costing her a fat $1K. But considering the embarrassment she felt from the botched brows she was sporting prior, I bet she feels the removal is worth every penny.