For most people, simply using an eyebrow pencil to fill in those sparse areas can do the trick and create the illusion of thick eyebrows. But what if you don’t want to spend the extra time getting ready in the morning? Or you simply want thick brows without the worry of them fading throughout the day—say, during your workout or at the beach?
That’s where microblading comes in: a semi-permanent makeup treatment that places special pigments under the top layer of your skin, explains Renee Lee, CEO and master artist and trainer at Le Kitsuné, a brow studio in New York City. The result is tiny hair-like strokes that create natural and fuller-looking eyebrows.
What is microblading, exactly?
Think of microblading as a tattoo, but not as deep. The brow artist uses a pen-like tool outfitted with seven to 16 (or more) micro-needles in various configurations, says Lee. “Microneedles are so tiny that they can’t be seen in detail by the naked eye,” she explains, so they can realistically mimic brow hairs by creating thin strokes. The artist may also use a shading technique that involves “plucking” the skin to deposit the ink manually.
How much does microblading cost?
The cost varies depending on your location and the experience of the artist, but can often go as high as $1,000 for the first treatment.
Does microblading hurt?
Your first microblading treatment will take the longest. Initial appointments can last 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the skill level of the artist, says Lee. This includes paperwork, consultation, and developing a plan for the brow shape you’d like to go for. You’ll have a numbing cream or other agents (like lidocaine) applied to the brow area and then the procedure itself will take 30 to 45 minutes, she says.
If you’re interested in microblading, here’s the best news: “It absolutely does not hurt,” says Lee. (Big sigh of relief!) “We’ve mastered addressing the pain during the procedure and strive to make the entire process as comfortable and relaxing as possible,” she says. This is all the more reason to go to a trained, skilled eyebrow artist—someone who has a lot of experience in the treatment or makes this the mainstay of their work.
However, you may notice some discomfort after the procedure as the area heals. Popping an OTC pain reliever will help.
How long does microblading take to heal?
You’ll often have a 2-week aftercare plan, but it varies, says Lee. The day after your appointment, you may see the eyebrow area turn very dark, then it will soften and peel (either lightly like dandruff or patchy in chunks). Finally, the colour will look like it disappears and then return, she explains.
You’ll want to keep the eyebrow area clear of oil build-up and moist for best healing.
How long does microblading last?
It may be “permanent makeup” but it doesn’t last forever, and the colour will fade. While microblading can last up to two years, the results differ depending on the person and their reaction to the ink. Typically, people are advised to touch-up the colour and shape every six months, but Lee says some clients come in at three to eight months post-treatment.
Does microblading ruin your natural eyebrows?
“When performed properly, microblading should cost minimal damage to your natural eyebrows,” explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “However, it is important to visit a reputable salon. In the event that the technician deposits the pigment too deep in the skin or if you develop an infection, there may be permanent damage to the hair follicles. It also is possible that the blade cuts some of your natural hair is in the process of depositing the pigment into the skin.”
Can anyone try microblading?
People with healthy skin are good candidates for microblading, says Lee, and that goes a long way in tipping the scales in your favour for safe treatment and satisfying results.
Is microblading safe?
Even if your skin is healthy, you need to do your due diligence to find a skilled and reliable eyebrow artist. Earlier this year, a woman spent three days in the hospital because of complications from microblading. A few days after her appointment, her brow area grew red, painful, and swollen. She was eventually taken the ER for antibiotics and steroids.
The bottom line? Do your research!
Ask your friends who have tried microblading or even your dermatologist for recommendations. In the end, you’ll simply have to weigh the pros and cons to decide if the end result will be worth it for you.