A bride-to-be has put her wedding on hold until she can get the “wonky” eyeliner she had tattooed on her eye lids as a schoolgirl removed.
Aimee Marsay saved up £150 to get the tattoo job done when she was a teen after being inspired by reality TV stars like Paris Hilton.
But rather than feeling glamorous afterwards, Aimee, from Middlesbrough, felt “instant regret”, reports TeessideLive.
Now a teacher, 30-year-old Aimee feels so self-conscious about the tattoos that she dislikes being photographed with her baby son Thomas.
When she was 16 there was a growing trend for permanent make-up so, after discussing having it done with a friend, she found a salon and booked an appointment for the next day.
“I didn’t even realise it was illegal to tattoo someone under the age of 18 and when I walked in, they didn’t ask me for any ID or anything, they just went ahead”, Aimee said.
“I was expecting a consultation, but ended up having the procedure there and then. It was really painful. My eyes were so swollen they looked like golf balls. But I told myself it would look good in the end.”
Told the swelling would go down within a few days, Aimee could not hide her tattoos from her civil servant mum, Sharon, 60, and tractor driver dad, Graham, 56.
“I didn’t tell my parents beforehand,” she said, “but when they found out they made me feel so silly and stupid, but there was nothing they could do.
“I couldn’t hide what I’d done as my eyes were massive. I kept telling my parents it wouldn’t last forever and tried to play it down. Little did I know I’d be regretting it 14 years later.”
Instead of saving to marry her fiancé Andy Brown, 30, a commercial sailor, the couple’s spare money is currently going towards the £4,000 treatment to remove her dodgy tattoos.
“Instead of saving for our wedding, we’ve been putting any spare cash aside to pay for my tattoos to be removed,” said Aimee.
“I couldn’t enjoy my big day looking like this. I’d have to have my face caked in make-up, constantly reapplying it, to cover up the biggest mistake of my life.”
“I was 16 years old and permanent make-up was the brand new thing. I looked up to Paris Hilton and the Playboy bunnies. They were role models to me. I really liked their style, all my friends did, too.”
Four weeks after the procedure, the swelling had reduced enough for the teen to see the final results, which she says made her want “to run for the hills”.
After complaining to the salon, Aimee says she was offered further tattoo sessions, which she refused – admitting she did not have the self-confidence to fight her case.
She added: “I decided not to have a follow-up, it was beyond being fixed. One side of the tattoo wasn’t even on the eyelid. It was too high and it flicks down at the end. The other side flicks up – so they’re wonky.”
Aimee says that instead of boosting her self-esteem, the tattoos have ruined it. She spends £25 a month on make-up, which takes her an hour a day to apply to hide what she considers to be a “botch job.”
She said: “After having them, whenever I went out I felt I had to cover them up and use more make-up than I had before.”
She added: “I still use layers and layers of concealer and foundation to this day. I have to wear fake eyelashes and go for the fake look.
“I even wear big thick glasses to cover them up if I don’t have time to put my whole face on.”
The schoolgirl error has haunted Aimee for nearly 15 years and has made it a struggle for her to be honest with men she has dated.
“If things became serious and I woke up wearing a full face of make-up, I didn’t know what to say,” she confessed.
“I’d either have to admit to how stupid I was as a teenager, or say nothing and look like I was obsessed with make-up.”
In June 2015, she went to James Cook University Hospital to have her wisdom teeth extracted and was left embarrassed when she was asked to remove her make-up.
She said: “I was waiting to be seen by the doctor when I was asked to take off all my make-up and was handed a make-up wipe. I told them I already had and they looked at me like I was lying.
“I told them again and, like everybody else, when they realised my liner was permanent, they looked at me as if to say, ‘Why on earth would you pay for that?’. I can’t believe I was so stupid. It’s a permanent reminder of how daft I was.”
Aimee is now a mum to Thomas, who was born on February 26, and is engaged to Andy, who she met through Tinder in 2017.
She said: “We went to a petting zoo for our first date and obviously I had a full face of make-up on. But I felt comfortable with him and the relationship moved very quickly. I told him about the eyeliner and he just laughed.”
The couple moved in together after six months and Andy popped the question at home in August 2018 after a planned romantic getaway was cancelled when Aimee broke her knee during a trampolining accident.
The tattoos stopped Aimee from taking part in a professional photoshoot with her son, paid for by a friend as a gift.
“Thomas was only a few weeks old and I went with the intention of going ahead with the shoot,” Aimee said.
“But I just couldn’t. I know it’s only small, but it’s something that I just don’t want to document.”
Aimee hopes to have the removal treatment once lockdown is lifted so she can pose for a family photoshoot and walk down the aisle with confidence.
“Hopefully, by the end of lockdown we’ll have the money for me to finally say goodbye to the tattoos. It will take at least four or five sessions and I know it’s going to be painful but it will be so worth it.
“That first week after Andy proposed I was in a complete bubble. I couldn’t believe how happy I was.
“Then someone talked about booking a dress fitting and all of a sudden I realised I didn’t want to go through with it. You want to feel like you look the best you’ve ever looked on your wedding day and I knew I wouldn’t feel like that.”
The couple are now saving to pay for her tattoos to be removed with Lorena Oberg – a clinic that specialises in permanent make-up removal.
She added: “One mistake has affected my whole life. People think I’m shallow but it’s because whenever people see it they ask why I’m wearing make-up.
“But this is going to be a fresh start and after the procedure I can finally start saving and planning my wedding.
“Although the first thing I’ll do is take a natural photo with Thomas – make-up free.
“There are too many salons offering these types of procedures and the practitioners are not trained and do not hold the right qualifications. Not only do you risk infection, an allergic reaction, swelling or blistering but the needle can even scar the skin.
“Always do a test patch with your practitioner before you commit. Ask to see their qualifications and pictures of their recent work. For a renowned practitioner you will be looking to pay around £400 – £1,000. Don’t be tempted by cheap prices or deals.
“Removal is far more expensive than getting it done right in the first place.”