Woman suffers eyebrow disaster in microblading gone wrong

KANSAS CITY, MO (WDAF/CNN) - A Missouri woman is speaking out to educate others after a botched eyebrow procedure.

“It just looked like I was really surprised,” Jami Ledbetter said.

She can laugh about what happened to her eyebrows now. “We actually called it the crazy brow,” Ledbetter said.

That wasn’t the case five months ago. “I was freaking,” she said.

Last November, the 42-year-old mom of three went to a woman who claimed to be certified in microblading, a beauty technique that involves tattooing someone`s eyebrows on. She ended up with botched brows.

“I was devastated. I was even dating a guy and he stopped dating me at that point,” Ledbetter said.

It killed her confidence. She couldn’t cover it with makeup.

“It was pretty painful. It burned a lot, kind of felt bruised,” Ledbetter said.

She even went to another woman who said she could “camouflage” her brows, but six weeks later, still no changes.

“It took everything in me to hold back tears because this is the worse I`ve ever seen,” said Kara Gutierrez, a licensed and insured tattoo artist.

“Within 24 hours of a botched job, I can remove the bad brow,” she said.

She’s been in the beauty industry since 2011 and has specialized in permanent cosmetics going on four years. That includes tattoo removal.

Gutierrez first saw Ledbetter eight weeks ago. She’s removing the messed-up brows with a product known as LI-FT, a pigment lightening solution that`s tattooed into the bad ink and has to be removed in eight-week intervals.

“You want to see blood, unfortunately. You want scabs so it will pull out that pigment. It’s very unpredictable to how much you can remove, but it works,” Gutierrez said.

She worries more and more women will end up in situations like Ledbetter’s because microblading isn’t regulated in the state of Missouri.

The state’s Office of Tattooing, Body Piercing and Branding has a disclaimer on its website about microblading that reads in part, “Although the office recognizes the potential for public safety issues, the office has not been given specific statutory authority to regulate this practice.”

That`s not the case across the state line in Kansas, where permanent makeup technicians are required to have 1,200 of training, at least 50 completed procedures that can be verified and an apprenticeship.

“This is something that is permanent on your face. You have to make sure your artist knows what they`re doing,” Gutierrez said

Missouri State Rep. Nate Tate is sponsoring House Bill 71, which would change the definition of a tattoo to include new cosmetic procedures like microblading to ensure more scrutiny.

“I`m not terribly in favor of more regulation when it comes to businesses, but in this particular situation, whenever you’re actually puncturing the skin, you know, we need to have some more training," he said.

The bill hasn’t gotten far in the legislative process, which concerns Gutierrez.

“Until a senator’s daughter or someone who can pass a bill gets messed up, this will continue happening,” she said.

Ledbetter shares the same attitude, but she said she hopes her story serves as a warning to those considering microblading.

“Research it. If I would have known it was going to turn out like this, I probably would’ve never done it at all,” she said.

Ledbetter will have to have a few more procedures before her botched brows are healed. The cost of having them fully removed will add up to around $1,000.

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