Then there are brows. Don’t forget brows! Brooke Shields’ famous shrubbery has resurfaced on Lipstick Jungle’s character-who-has-it-all. On the runways last month, Christian Dior paired thick arches with blunt bangs. Marni’s eyebrows were flatter but just as fat, lining up under severely side-parted bangs.
If you really want to commit to eye enhancement, there’s a more lasting option than plucking and feathering. “There’s a big increase in women asking for permanent makeup for their eyes,” said Amy Kernahan, who runs an eponymous Upper East Side studio offering the procedure, which is similar to tattooing but with gentler pigments. Business has tripled in the past few years, she claimed.
“It’s a trend but also a huge convenience for women who don’t want to spend most of their time in the morning making their brows look perfect or trying to apply eyeliner,” Ms. Kernahan said. “One of my younger clients had a new boyfriend and she didn’t want this new guy to see her in the morning without makeup, She wanted to wake up looking fresh.”
Laura Vivas, 24, a student living in Brooklyn, had her brows permanently enhanced by Ms. Kernahan last May. “I am definitely happy,” she said. “My brows were very sparse from over-plucking. I had to wake up 45 minutes early every day to pencil them in and it was very annoying.” Ms. Vivas plans to have permanent liner added soon as well, copying one of her friends. “She’s thrilled. She is a mom and she has no time for makeup.”
Melany Whitney, a certified permanent cosmetic professional (CPCP), also works on the Upper East Side, in the office of a dermatologist named, we kid you not, Dr. Doris Day. She said the procedure, which can be performed during lunch hour, is complementary to cosmetic surgery. “And for those who don’t want to go under the scalpel,” Ms. Whitney added helpfully, “PM can give the illusion of a face-lift.”
She described the “two-step process” of applying permanent liner. “First I apply a layer of pigment and I’m very conservative. Then, four to six weeks later, I see what the skin brings back to me, and then I make corrections or additions. This gives the client a chance to live with the makeup for a month and decide if they want anything changed. Then I apply the second layer on top.”
How permanent is it? “If you expose your face to the sun a lot, it can fade faster, but for some women it lasts 15 years,” Ms. Whitney said. “Lighter colors also fade sooner. The average process takes years to fade. And if you decide you don’t want it anymore, there are lasers that will remove it, although removing permanent eyeliner is more delicate to do than the eyebrows.” Yee-ouch!
New York may not be ready for permanent makeup, but on one thing everyone can agree: If you paint your lips along with the eyes, “you look like a drag queen,” as Ms. LaGuardia put it. “There’s too much going on.”
What does the ordinary woman on the street have on her mouth?
“Chapstick!” said Lisa Sdrigotti, 19, shopping at Sephora in black eyeliner and fringey ankle boots.
“Chapstick!” said one Mayer sister.
“Nothing!” said the other. “But right now I wish I was wearing Chapstick.”
—Additional reporting by Pamela Weiler Grayson and Carla Pisarro