Ok so you probably heard my story about a bait and switch from a local company who posted to Nextdoor that they’re offering low prices for brow models and then raised them when people already booked and took the day off. Because of that, I was very wary when a nice person off the FB interwebs messaged me at 10pm about a last minute session the next day. She showed me pictures of their work and said that hers was done by them a while back as well, and this was legitimately free. So I thought about it and gave her my info, not knowing if I was going to go thru with it, since I had back to back appointments and wasn’t sure I wanted to model for 6 hours.
A little info about me, I had friends that owned beauty colleges in SoCal and always volunteered for hair, makeup, facials, waxes, you name it. How else can people learn other than by doing, under supervision of course. I’m always game to help out, and it’s usually temporary since hair grows out, makeup can be washed away, etc. Semi-permanent tattooing is of course a different matter, but I figured that I can always say no if I don’t like the way it’s measured and it wouldn’t cost me anything but time and I have glasses worst case, they can’t see it anyways.
Andrea messaged me that morning with directions and an appointment via Square. I felt better researching her a little bit. She went viral on TikTok for showing off the work that she does…Link HERE. People come from all over the nation to train under her. She’s been doing it for over 1.5 yrs now. She used to work at a call center and wanted more flexibility in her work to be there for her son. She took a course and started working in the field-apparently in Texas all you need is a 2 day course, passing a test, and getting your tattoo license, cosmetology license ISN’T needed. She does such great work that a lot of her clients would ask her to help them learn, so she started training and honestly she’s sooo patient and professional, it was a good sidestep for her.
On the day that I went, she had me sign a form in the parking lot, kinda like a doctor’s form to make sure you don’t have allergies and understood the risks. Then showed me in her boutique where there were 3 separate rooms with the front room being the office, and the other 2 with beds. She introduced me to my technician who was there from Amarillo, Elva, who was doing the 2 day course, the 2nd day being that they would practice on live models (me). She had already spent the day before learning concepts, passing the exam, and practicing on a fake model. She found Andrea on TikTok and paid for her own travel and lodging as well as $2400 to train under Andrea. There was a trainee in the front room who came from Oregon to train with her, so she’s very popular. She also does training sessions around the nation. I think she went to Sacramento the week after I got my brows done.
So Andrea (trainer) has Elva (trainee) explain to me what they are going to do.
In theory, the process was pretty simple:
1. Measure the eyebrows, make sure I like them
2. Draw them in
3. Shave the hairs around outline of eyebrows
4. Select the tattoo colors
5. Tattoo the outline
6. Shade in the outline
7. Apply numbing cream
8. Go over the eyebrow several more layers depending on how it shows up
9. Check on the one eyebrow
10. Repeat on other eyebrow
In practice, it was a lot of work (hence the normal costs of $400-$800 for the 1st session, not including touch ups).
What they did was spend 3 hours measuring and comparing and making sure that each line was symmetrical and precise. I’m talking about millimeters here. They would use a charcoal floss like thing to create a diagram, then painstakingly connect them to each other. They used Instagram’s camera with the gridlines to compare both sides so that they were exactly symmetrical. I appreciated this minutiae, but didn’t like having to sit up still the entire time, not slouching, so that they can make mini adjustments. The course comes with all the items you need to be a brow artist, and Andrea was training 2 others at the same time on their models. One was the girl from Oregon and the other was local to El Paso. She originally was a client of Andrea’s and wanted a change in her career so she can be more flexible with her hours. She was practicing on her sister; I half joked that they better be happy with the results and that they were brave because they have to sit together for Thanksgiving. They laughed nervously. Oh to be a fly on their wall! LOL
Anyhoo, back to me and the tedium of measuring, concealing and correcting with a flat brush, millimeter my millimeter. Andrea used MAC and even with models who weren’t paying, she used high quality items, gloves, brushes, concealer, charcoal, etc. I was impressed. She didn’t skimp on quality and honestly her work shows it. After Elva measured and drew, Andrea would come by, give some pointers and she LET Elva do it, so she can learn. Her patience was extraordinary. I would’ve grabbed that brush in a heartbeat and just said, here do it like this. But no, she let the individual stylist learn her own spin and angle and gently corrected anything out of the ordinary. When they were done, they asked me if I liked it.
I had shown them a couple of styles from Andrea’s IG that I liked, but she make it less arched on my face. When I pushed her to make it more arched, she gently told me that the style wouldn’t suit my face. It would be too harsh as I said I wanted it more natural and the reason it looked natural on the other girls was they had more angular faces with higher noses (they weren’t Asian) and it would look off on me. She then gave me the option of not continuing if I wasn’t comfortable. I thought about it and then acquiesced to her expertise. She also gave the same choice to the sister who was starting to get headaches, because she couldn’t take aspirin before the procedure as it’s a blood thinner.
They then started the process of choosing colors and Andrea taught Elva and the others how to wrap the tattoo stick gun, and choose the colors so it wouldn’t fade or turn green. She quizzed them on why they did things a certain way, or why those colors, etc. It was definitely a learning experience and one that you probably won’t get unless you’re learning like they did. Each step of the way she was there to guide, soothe, explain, and correct if need be. I felt VERY comfortable.
The next step was the tattoo part and I was hella nervous because I hate needles. Andrea said that most of her clients fell asleep during it and it didn’t hurt. The 1st pass wasn’t numbed. Andrea would start the outline and Elva would do the shading. They would only do one eyebrow at a time to fruition before moving on to the next one. Honestly, it didn’t hurt a bit (and I’m a major wimp). It felt irksome, like a pen scratching your skin on the same spot. Both Andrea and Elva’s touch felt the same, just scratchy. Afterwards they put on the lidocaine and had me wait precisely 10 mins for it to absorb into the raw skin.
It was smooth sailing after that. I did ask for more halfway thru (I ended up getting 4 layers) because I was starting to feel it becoming irritated and wasn’t sure how much more it would take. Better safe than sorry and they did it without question since they want us to be comfortable. Most places are super stingy with the numbing cream (I had laser hair removal) and it was nice that they weren’t. I did sort of fall asleep because each eyebrow took about 1 hour. I was laying down and was starting to get sore so I can imagine how sore their backs were. Each step of the way, Andrea would guide and correct Elva and I could feel her confidence growing the more she did.
Afterwards they gave me instructions and expectations on how to care for the eyebrows. I have to come back for a touchup and after 6 hours, I was done.
I was glad listened to Andrea about the shape because it looked awesome on me. It wasn’t a shape that I would’ve drawn on myself, but it did look natural. Also most of the time when I drew my own, it was lopsided and these were amazingly symmetrical. There was a slight soreness, but even after 4 days (today as I’m writing this) there was no pain, no soreness, no itchiness, nothing beyond healing and patches falling off as it healed naturally.
Everyone apparently can see the difference and likes it. It’s a bit darker and more defined but I know that with regrowth it will look a lot softer and more natural and I can’t wait to see what it looks like in 3 weeks. As far as my experience goes it was a really eye opening and enjoyable experience and I can’t believe that such a talented artist and trainer is available in El Paso! Not that we don’t have talent, but that it was so random to find her here when she’s apparently famous around the world.
Contact her HERE if you want to book or train under her. I’m not paid to advertise her or anything, I just think she’s worth it. If I had the patience or hands for brow work, I’d train under her in a heartbeat. In the meantime, I’ll be gawking at my reflection cause my brows “on fleek” as the old saying goes right?
Best part? It was ALL FREE. I paid nothing, zilch, nada, not even a tip because they don’t accept it. They’re strictly there for training purposes so you help them as well. It’s a win win! She does need more models around the nation as she travels for training so reach out to see if you’re a candidate.
If you want to model for her, let her know that you found her though this site and then she can blame the right person. 😉