10 Things to Know Before Microblading For the First Time
Let’s get personal here. I was recently on a budget flight from France to London, meaning no TV or any sort of entertainment for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Headphones on, I was trying not to get bored and started people watching. We were served by two lovely stewards, a younger woman (around 25) and an older woman (around 50). I know that disclosing women’s age is taboo, but bare with me, I have a point: remember the tattooed eyebrow trend from 20 years ago? Well, the older woman had tattooed eyebrows; thin, spare, with a strong arch.
The younger woman had thicker, Kardashian-like brows. As she got closer to me, the sun hit her face and I noticed that some of her brow ‘hairs’ were actually finely tattooed with very thin strokes. Since the Microblading trend bursted out in 2015 all over my Instagram feed, this was the first time I have seen microbladed eyebrows IRL. And while it may look amazing and thick in pictures, after seeing the demarcation of hairs and strokes I couldn’t help but wonder: if we live IRL most of the time, why hasn’t anyone tackled this issue? Is the picture perfect brow worth it? What are the cons of Microblading?
Ok, first: what is microblading? It’s basically a fancy word that refers to permanent eyebrow makeup, also known by a variety of names such as embroidery, microstroking, feather touch and hair-like strokes. It camouflages missing eyebrow hairs with the deposits of cosmetic colour pigments.
Sounds like a good idea if you live in regret of over-plucking your brows in high school, right? You may want to consider this before making such a (semi) permanent decision.
Microblading has never been FDA approved.
In the US, eyebrow tattoos are not FDA-approved. If you live in another part of the world, check your local health regulations before your procedure. In the US, cosmetic tattooers commonly use cosmetic-grade pigments in their inks, which is not FDA-approved. Topical cosmetics that you would wear on the skin are not meant for under the skin. Remember, your skin is porous. Health regulatory agencies usually investigate adverse reactions from tattoos and permanent makeup, but approving a procedure is different. For these reasons, it is important to find an artist who has a state/local license and a certification from a reputable professional organization such as the Society of Permanent Cosmetics Professionals in the US.
Microblading is not cheap!
Average price goes from 300$ to 2K$ for luxury cosmetic clinics.
It actually hurts
Microblading is painful – especially if you have a low tolerance to pain. A good microblading tattoo entails tiny needles making small incisions into the skin, the depth depending on the thickness and depth of hair strokes you want to achieve. The needles are dipped into pigment for each hair stroke.
It’s a commitment
You may have started budgeting for your procedure, but you may want to think about budgeting for your next touch-up. While some professionals will ask for a fee covering the 1st appointment and the touch up, many don’t. Touch-ups range from $200 to $500.
If your skin is oily, think again
“Very oily skin types are the most difficult to work with,” explains Kira Tai, owner of Tai Brows. “They’re at risk of rejecting the pigment, and more concerning, they are prone to pigment hydration, which is where the pigment fans into each other, the strokes sort of blend and it ends up looking like a powder-filled brow more than it looks like distinct strokes.” So, if you have a tendency to scar easily, make sure the artist has dealt with your skin type in the past. Keep in mind that if you are anemic (24.8% of world population), your body may absorb the iron oxide in the pigment formula as a supplement, making the tattoos fade quicker.
It’s not an overnight ‘perfect brow’ process
You probably won’t wake up with the perfect brow the next morning. Clients usually experience flaxing in the following days or weeks. As part of the healing process, the brows are unflatteringly dark and thick right after the procedure. The tattoo may also appear to fade due to skin renewal. The strokes will appear cloudy or opaque, like most new scars.
Microbladed brows are still tattoos
There is absolutely no 100% guaranteed way to remove microbladed brows that went wrong. Unfortunately, even lasers won’t work, as iron oxides in the ink may turn darker and make the skin and brow area resistant to further treatments.
Severe Reactions Are Possible
Some have experienced severe reaction, such as hair loss or allergic reaction to pigments or products applied during or after treatment. According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, the skin should be treated with the same care you would apply to a wound, using antibiotic ointments to minimize the risk of an infection. Dr. Zeichner also warns, “if you have a history of allergies to previous tattoos or hair dyes, I do not recommend microblading. In the event of a reaction after a microblading procedure, consult the aesthetician who performed the procedure and also visit your dermatologist for a professional evaluation.”
Be realistic about your expectations
Cara Delevigne’s brows are über-covetable, but they may not work with your face shape. Taking into account your forehead, overall face shape, and mouth to nose ratio, you need to understand what is complementary to your face. Microblading could be a morning routine game changer for you, but you still need to work with what you’ve got. This is not plastic surgery. If you have non-existent brows to very thin brows, the natural effect will be unlikely, as the hairs/tattooed strokes ratio will be noticeably unequal at close distance – at least more than if you brows were filled in with powder.
It might be semi-permanent, but it will be permanent enough
If not done properly by a reputable professional, bad eyebrow work will have to be redone. As mentioned, laser is not an option. You may have to wait 8 to 12 months before reworking a botched microblading job, depending on what went wrong. If it’s the thickness and overall shape, this may be more difficult to correct.