Hairstroke eyebrows – Expectations vs Reality

The Hairstoke eyebrow.

The holy grail of “I cant believe those are tattooed”.

But are they right for you?

What is the answer and how can we stop clients from being disappointed with what we can realistically achieve?

So first thing first. We might as well all admit right now, that in more than half the people we see, that hairstroke tattooed brows only work if a specific set of circumstances meet perfectly

Good skin + great technician + strict client aftercare= healed hair stroke brows.

But long term, even if we have a perfect set of circumstances, science just isn’t on our side. Here are some additional factors to consider:

  1. The many small details required to get a hairstroke brow, go against everything traditional tattooists know. Any tattoo, anywhere on the body that has hundreds of little lines packed closely in together, will eventually merge and spread. Its a fact and its what the body does as it heals.
  2. There is no outline to keep the hairs in place. In traditional tattooing theres a pretty good reason they love to outline. Not only does it give your tattoo definition and contrast. It keeps the colours separate and helps keep them in place. We cant outline your brows or you would look like a crazy person 🙂 but this leaves them open to movement over time.
  3. The face is like no other part of the body. We are contending with basically a pretty hostile environment for such tiny delicate pieces of tattoo. We have oil, hair follicles, wrinkles, skin conditions, makeup, UV rays, the list is endless.


So what CAN we do to stop clients being disappointed with their haistroke brows?

I genuinely think that the answer lies in educating your clients depending on the situation you are presented with. Every single person is worried the brows will look unnatural – and that’s why they opt for hairstroke, but more often than not, this technique alone just isn’t for them. Now – they may still be able to have hairstroke brows – but maybe you need to include some shading through it. A combination brow is usually a much better option, but how do you convince a client that is set on strokes, that they need strokes AND shading?

The first thing you can do is  –   spend more time studying skin types so that you can help your client choose the best brow for them. By being able to confidently explain the processes that the tattoo will endure, your client will start to trust you. (see our previous blog “skin vs brows”)

The second one, is take time out of your day to create cases and examples that you can show your clients so that they can also understand and build trust with you.  I am as busy as all of you, so sometimes, I need to stay late, get some models in and spend a couple hours photographing specific scenarios, so that I can show them to prospective clients.

Let me show you one that helps us out a lot.

This model was brought in for us to be able to show the differences between haistroke brow, and hairstroke plus shading. She has good skin, but has over plucked her brows over the years until they just wont come back in. There is also a big height difference.


So we now need to spend some time drawing on templates (which can look pretty scary) and reassuring the client we will only be working inside these drawings, so as long as they like the overall shape and position, the actual tattooed brows will be smaller when we are finished .


So we started off with hairstroke tattoo. You can see from this close up picture, that really, the strokes on their own, just aren’t enough. I will never get a good blend between her own eyebrow hair and the tattoo. The colour just isn’t dark enough for her either – but she has such a purple undertone, I’m stuck using yellow based colours (the techs will understand that last bit)

I can still see that patch of natural hair that we have kept – and although the client wanted hairtsroke – there is no denying, it looks unfinished. Lets have a look at the brow now when I add some light shading.

In an instant, these brows start to transform. Look complete, blend away natural hair, and look a much better colour. The client likes these much better – and so do I!

Pictures like these really help my clients see the difference in the techniques available to them, so that we can best meet their needs.

Listening to what out clients want and making them feel heard is a skill that we have to implement every single day. But doing something that wont work just because a client is asking for it, will only end in upset for both parties. If you have a client that is insisting on hairstrokes, but you know the skin cant take it, then it is your duty to let the client know why it will not work. A good tech can always offer an alternative. Whether that be powder, or ombre or a combination brow, or sometimes even saying “No” altogether.

Making people happy is the goal. So lets help our clients choose wisely 🙂

Lots of love

Mrs Makeup xx



10 thoughts on “Hairstroke eyebrows – Expectations vs Reality

  1. Perfect explanation, the pictures definitely let you show the client the difference, helping them choose the perfect procedure, thank you!


      1. I can’t answer that because I have no idea what kind of training you are asking for? Are you a beginner? Advanced? Eyebrows? Eyeliner? If you take the time to tell me what you need I can happily give you prices


  2. I love your blog, it’s so spot on and informative! Quick question-
    When you added her shading, did you shade with a darker color, or still her original yellow based pigment?
    Newbie to MB but I did just take a machine class for shading. It was a blast. Thanks ☺️


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