Permanent makeup – my experience with nanoblading, combo brows, eyeliner tattoos, and lip blush.

*This is a sponsored post.  Yes, I sacrificed my aging and sun-damaged “Mom” face to the brilliance of Layal at Slay Artistry just so I could share the results with you.  Trust me – I’m so glad I did!

I am a child of the 80’s/90’s.  Well, I was born in the 70’s, but my makeup routine was formed in the 80’s and 90’s when I was finally old enough to wear it.  Which means; over plucked (over-waxed in my case) eyebrows.

Yup, I’m part of that generation of women that strove for the beauty of thin eyebrows then waxed, plucked, picked, and painted them until they were almost non-existent.  For those of you that don’t know – over-waxing damages the hair follicles and eventually leads to no hair growing back at all.

In my defence, the other trends of my youth were Pamela Anderson boobs, grunge, the “Waif look”, and hip hop fashion… so over-plucked brows were the least of the evils.

But, my brows have been something that niggles at the back of my brain as somewhat embarrassing.  Particularly since I don’t wear very much makeup and certainly didn’t bother to draw them in.

Before photo - summer 2022

This is my before – Summer 2022.

I have on moisturizer (not tinted) and a bit of eyeliner that I can see smudged in the corners – my day-to-day look and very low-maintenance.

Not ugly, but there’s room for improvement – in my CONFIDENCE – so I started looking into microblading, nanoblading, and combo brows as a permanent makeup solution.

I followed several talented artists in my area, but after a month of checking out their styles and results, I approached my favourite (and the biggest sweetheart) Layal of Slay Artistry to see if there was any hope for this 49 year old Mom of teenagers.

Combo brows

Combo brows is a combination of two forms of semi-permanent makeup: microblading or nanoblading (hair strokes applied with a blade or needle), and powder brows (pixelated shading).   The difference between microblading and nanoblading is in the size of the blade.  Nanoblading is a much finer needle, so precision and accuracy improve allowing for more natural looking results. A smaller needle also means less pain and bleeding and, in most cases, a longer lasting tattoo (up to 3 years).

Layal of Slay Artistry determined that a combo brow would be the best solution for filling in thin and bald areas, while still giving natural-looking hair lines.  I was not about to question a professional so off we went!

The combo brow process starts with mapping of the brows and then a template drawn on with makeup to see if the client likes the shape, size, arch etc of the future brows.

pre-draw of combo brows

You know I had to test out the pre-draw to make sure that my eyebrows would still express all of the emotions I need to use on a daily basis:

The “I can’t believe this worked!”

The “What do you mean you didn’t do the dishes after I asked 20 times?”

and the “I’m not driving you anywhere until that f*&king room is cleaned up!”


Once the effectiveness of the pre-drawn brows was okayed, it was time to start the permanent makeup process.

Combo brow process, application, healing and results

The video will take you through step-by-step, with commentary from Layal as to her process and application so you can get a better idea of how this permanent makeup works.  

The entire process – for the first application – took less than 2 hours, and a numbing ointment is used after the first blade strokes so the pain is negligible.

Combo brows - nanoblading and powder tattoo

I apologize for my images – it was tough to zoom in enough to get a crisp image of all of the tiny little hair lines that Slay Artistry applied.

This was immediately after the first application and I was THRILLED!!  Please note, your permanent makeup will fade in colour by 30-40% – so don’t panic if it seems dark.

Combo brows - nanoblading and powder tattoo

Now there is a healing process with any tattooing – true also of nanoblading and permanent makeup tattoos;

Day one (application day) there will be a small amount of swelling

Day two-three – the colour of the permanent makeup starts to darken as the surface layer of skin begins to scab slightly

Day 3 of healing from nanoblading

By the second week, the scabs will start to slough off and the colour of your combo brows will seem much lighter.

nanoblading tattoo is beginning to slough off.

By day 10 you will start thinking “why did I bother, there’s nothing left”… but give it a bit more time.

At week four your brows will be completely healed and the colour (a faded but natural version) will have returned.

Week 3 after nanoblading

I did lose some hair strokes in healing (I have an oily T-zone) but that’s what the touch-up session between weeks 4 and 6 is for.

Layal, Slay Artistry, is now familiar with my skin and healing, so she was able to change up her tattooing technique slightly to make the brow strokes a bit more saturated, as well as thicken any areas that I wanted more “fill” for.

This is the “before” photo of the touch-up session.  Still much better than my real face, but it did need some touch-ups.

Before nanoblading touch up session

This is the “after” the touch ups:

after nanoblading touch up session

Better still – below is my healed brows after both sessions:

before and after of nanobladed brows, combo brows


In the photo below the only makeup I’ve put on is a bit of highlighter, vaseline gloss, and mascara.  NOTHING ELSE!

permanent makeup, combo brows, nanoblading

“But Shelly, you look like you have eyeliner on?”


That was the second treatment I asked Layal for:

Permanent eyeliner tattoos

My reason for wanting permanent eyeliner was to be able to wake up and walk out the door.  No smudging of eyeliner when I itch my eyes or sneeze.  No drooling of black if I cry from a sad movie or from laughing too hard.  No morning “hooker-look”, if I don’t wash off my makeup before bed.  And – IF I worked out (lol) – my eyeliner would remain perfectly in place through it all.

Yes, I am that lazy and makeup-illiterate.

So back to my before photo:

before eyeliner tattoos

Rode hard and put away…. alone. 😂

This is the process of application, healing, and touch-ups that Layal went through to get me to the finished product:

Now check out the after – after touch-ups had healed.

before and after of nanobladed brows, combo brows

The permanent makeup eyeliner / eyeliner tattoos held up really well from the first application, so hardly any touch-ups were needed.  Layal has this incredibly steady hand that kept the pigment right along the lash line for the lower, and with a slight wing and shadow on the lid.

permanent eyeliner, eyeliner tattoo

permanent makeup, permanent eyeliner, eyeliner tattoo

The most common question I get asked about all of my permanent makeup – but particularly about the eyeliner tattoos – is “Didn’t it hurt?!”

You’ll see in the video above that there was no flinching, eye watering or any indications of pain during the treatment.  It wasn’t bad at all.  The nanoblade does have to break the skin initially before a numbing ointment can be applied, but I liken the sensation to dragging a toothpick across your skin.  Not with a lot of pressure, just moving it back and forth in one spot.  At first it’s negligible, but over time (if you didn’t have the numbing ointment) it might feel a bit raw from repetition in the same spot.  Not pain (hey, a lot of us have had kids, so nothing is considered actual “pain” to that level) but an annoying scratch maybe?

Trust me – I did the brows, eyeliner and lips – TWICE EACH including touch-ups and if it hurt, I certainly wouldn’t have.

Guys, this is SO WORTH IT!  I’m not a fashion mom, or glam mom… in fact, I’m usually a covered-in-sawdust-and-paint mom – but I FEEL pretty.  Without adding a single extra second to my already busy day.

Lip Blushing

Lip blushing is a form of permanent tattoo or makeup where people are looking to rejuvenate the colour of their lip border or the actual substance of the lip ~ Elle Magazine

As we age, and with sun damage, our lips lose pigment.  Over time you will notice the colour fading from the outer lines of your lips and it will continue to move inwards as we age.  Along with the loss of moisture and collagen that comes with aging, our lips become thin-looking.  

We’ve all seen a Grandma over-line her lips with the bright red lipstick… I didn’t want to be her.

thinning lips

Yes, those dried out crusty things are mine.  I usually hide them behind a light gloss, but you can see here that there is no definitive line to my Cupid’s bow or lower lip.  

F*!k you aging!!

I researched this newer trend called “Lip blush or lip blushing” and decided that I could stand to have an improvement in that area as well.  Nothing so bold or dramatic as filler – just a soft, natural colour to my existing lips (faded sections as well) to give me the look of more fullness.

Lip blush / lip blushing is another permanent makeup solution.  With proper care (stay out of the sun!) and maintenance the colour and lining could last up to 3 years.  

It is applied in much the same way as the brows and eyeliner – with a nanoblade (needle) that deposits pigment just below the surface of the skin; not as deep as actual tattoo needles – just one or two layers down into the dermis.  The process involves dotting the dermis in sort of a pixelated fashion to add colour to areas that have lost it, as well as evening out the colour of the rest of the lip.

This is the immediate result of my lip blushing after the first session (with gloss):

permanent makeup, lip blush, lip blushing

You can see that Layal (Slay Artistry) was able to create a defined shape to my lips – while still remaining within my natural lip lines.

I keep mentioning this so that you don’t get confused and think that lip blushing will fill out your lips or actually make them fuller.  It will not.  What it does is bring back colour to areas that have faded with sun damage and/or age.  It brings back the outline your lips had in say your 20’s.  Still my lips, still all natural shape and size – but they look fuller because the colour has been brought back.

This is me right after the first treatments of combo brows, permanent eyeliner and lip blushing.

permanent makeup, lip blush, lip blushing

After 3 weeks, the colour has almost completely faded and scabs are gone – but don’t worry.  In another week the colour will come back.

Week 3 after nanoblading

Below you can see that my lips still look better than my “before” and this is just prior to the touch-up session at week 4-6.

after nanoblading touch up session

It is at this session that Layal can determine how your skin heals and what “tweaks” need to be made for the best final results.  In my case, Layal decided to go with a different shade of pink on my lips to darken them up slightly and show more definition.

permanent makeup, lip blush, lip blushing

While I would never wear a red lipstick, this will fade 30-40% in healing and will leave me with a very natural-looking colour.

Below is with gloss.

permanent makeup, lip blush, lip blushing

And the final, final, healed after?

permanent makeup, combo brows, nanoblading

Subtle, natural, and zero maintenance makeup.

Smudge-proof, kiss proof, clothing proof.  I can add a layer of gloss or chapstick and still have a “blush” to my lips.

I honestly and truly wake up like this every day.  No effort, but with the look of effort.

I’m so happy!

Head over to Layal’s website; Slay Artistry for more information and don’t forget to follow her on

Instagram to see her portfolio of work.