With the booms of popularity in both tattooing and professional makeup artists, it’s no surprise that microblading — the technique in which eyebrows are essentially tattooed on (or at least enhanced) by hand — has also seen a serious increase lately. But while many who specialize in the semi-permanent style have either professional makeup or tattooing knowledge, Haley Buckner-Zazueta is able to apply what she’s learned from both industries to make every brow look perfect.
“Once microblading kind of came on the scene, I thought it would be perfect for me,” Buckner says. “I’ve always loved doing brows, and my husband is a tattoo artist, so it kind of just went hand in hand with what I was doing.”
Although microblading is still a relatively new technique, Buckner’s 12 years in the Hollywood makeup scene — along with her cultural and marital ties to the tattoo world — made her a perfect fit for it. The Lake Forest-based artist believes that both microblading as a whole and her own work has blown up recently largely due to many celebrities’ and models’ desires to go with a more natural makeup look. Unlike heavy tattooed or drawn on eyebrows, microblading is designed specifically to look like it isn’t there.
“I just slice into the skin to make little hair-like patterns, so it looks more like actual hair than the old-school permanent makeup way of doing a tattoo that’s more solid,” Buckner says. “It’s become such a big thing now. A lot of people are seeking it out and want to do it because it’s not a huge commitment.”
But even for something that’s not as big of a commitment as getting a regular tattoo, having someone put semi-permanent ink under the skin of your face still takes some trust. Thankfully, Buckner’s experience in high-level makeup and her demonstrated success with microblading gives her clients little reason to doubt her skills. After all, who better to tattoo makeup on your face than someone who knows the technique from both sides?
“I’m really flattered that people trust me and appreciate that I do have a makeup artist background,” Buckner says. “I think that’s why they’re willing to allow me to do such a nerve-wracking procedure for them. You really are getting your face tattooed, but I think they see my experience and my more natural style with it. People who are a little more particular might be a little more hesitant, but I think once they see the work that I’ve done, they’re willing to trust me.”
Soon, the veteran artist will be taking her microblading game to the next level. When renowned tattooer Carlos Torres opens up his new shop in Long Beach, he’ll be doing so with a space specifically set up for Buckner. Considering her existing clientele and stature in the makeup industry, working alongside tattoo artists like Torres will extend her validity into the tattoo world — both for microblading and beyond..
“I don’t know of a lot of tattoo shops that have microbladers working in there, but I’m so incredibly blessed to work with such big names,” Buckner says. “It’s inspiring, but it’s also great because I’ll be able to learn so much more from such great tattoo artists. When you’re actually opening up skin as opposed to how temporary makeup is, it gets so complicated. It’s good to know things like color theory and to actually be an artist when it comes to tattooing someone’s face.
“Microblading is sort of a good marriage between tattooing and makeup because people are already really interested in both of them,” Buckner continues. “It is a beauty service — and it technically is makeup — but it’s really a tattoo. Maybe because it’s semi-permanent, people don’t think of it as a tattoo.”
Appointments with Buckner-Zazueta can be made via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Instagram: @haleyzazueta