Iro Smith is a professional aesthetician who’s been practising for more than 25 years. She became interested in permanent make-up through tattooing around 20 years ago and, after extensive studies, pioneered the practice in the Middle East.
Formerly living in Saudi Arabia while her husband was employed at Aramco, she has worked on VIPs and even royalty across the Gulf on everything from permanent eye-liner to creating eyebrows for burns and alopecia sufferers and the correction of vitiligo – the condition which leaves victims with patches of unpigmented skin which seems to be very common in this part of the world, perhaps due to the extreme sunlight. As well as working in Bahrain she is officially ministry certified in Dubai and has salons in her own native Greece too.
Looking at her before and after pictures – she has literally thousands of them – it’s not surprising that she’s also able to show off hundreds of often heart-rending letters from people whose lives have been changed by her steady artist’s hand.
From burns victims who have had their confidence, and facial features, restored to those who’ve experienced the worst of the tattoo ‘artist’s’ trade and have gone to Iro for correction (it’s a shame she didn’t meet the late Mr Jackson), what she can achieve is actually quite amazing.
And of course there’s areola reconstruction for mastectomy patients, scar coverage (yes, incredibly this is possible with skin-coloured tattooing) and the beauty side, which has really taken off in a big way here in Bahrain.
She said: “Of course I love to help my clients look better but I’m also very pleased and proud to be able to help people (much of her medical work is carried out free of charge).”
And something else the world of Hollywood could learn from Iro is that, when carrying out beauty procedures, she actually works to suit a person’s face.
“You have to bear in mind that this is permanent,” she says. “So if someone comes and wants something that’s going to follow fashion but really isn’t going to suit their face, I make sure to try to come up with an idea for some sort of compromise.
“For example, at the moment there’s a big trend, particularly among the Arab ladies but also growing among the expat community, for the block eyebrows but who’s to say two or three years down the line they will still want to look like this? I can do it and I can make it look good but I will try to convince them to go with something that is going to be more timeless and will continue to suit their face for years to come.”
In fact her art can take years off the face – we know we tried it – restoring eyebrows that have thinned either with age or through the phase, much-loved of the 1970s and 80s, of over-plucking to the point of extinction.
The lip liner and in-filling can actually reduce the appearance of those telltale lines.
And our editor reckons the eyeliner is just the thing to make her look alive in the morning though, despite pals’ protestations to the contrary, she did find the procedure somewhat uncomfortable. To find out more check out www.irosmith.com or call (36 841 663).