This article was medically reviewed by Caroline Chang, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and member of the Prevention Medical Review Board, on August 1, 2019.

So long pencil-thin 90s brows—bushy brows are back, thanks to celebs like Cara Delevingne, Emma Watson, Sofia Vergara, and Lily Collins. While those who hate plucking can rejoice in the tweezer-free trend, there’s one tiny problem: Growing out your brows can be a total pain, especially if you’re not naturally blessed with the fuller look.

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?

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Pencil nordstrom.com $23.00

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.

However, there’s a catch: Microblading comes with some healing time and a few risks. You’ve probably seen a few horror stories floating around the web—like this woman who was left with four eyebrows after her procedure.

But are stories like that really that common? Many people swear by microblading and love the results, so we went to the experts to find out exactly how it’s done, how much it costs, the risks and downtime, and everything else you should know before you try it for yourself.

Contents

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.

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 agent (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 color will look like it disappears and then return, she explains.

“We advise clients to be patient for one full month before being fully healed. At that point, the true color of the brows is revealed,” she says. After that, you may go back in for a touch-up, if needed.

You’ll want to keep the eyebrow area clear of oil build-up and moist for best healing. “This usually means people with drier skin need to stay on top of moisturizing and avoiding over-exposure to water, and those with oily skin need to keep the area clean of excess oil build-up,” says Lee. Your brow artist can recommend products depending on your skin type.

It may be “permanent makeup” but it doesn’t last forever, and the color 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 color and shape every six months, but Lee says some clients come in at three to eight months post-treatment.

“I always recommend staying ahead of the fading curve, meaning coming in right before brows start to fade,” she says. Since everybody reacts differently to microblading, the first session is more of a test to give the artist insight about how your brows respond and what tweaks need to be made next time.

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 favor for a safe treatment and satisfying results.

“Since the procedure requires traumatizing the skin, if the skin is unhealthy, the outcome will be unpredictable and most likely not ideal,” adds Lee. That means people with bleeding disorders, active inflammatory conditions near the eyebrows like eczema, psoriasis, or shingles, allergies to ink, taking prescription acne medications like Accutane, using products with anti-aging ingredients like retinol, and taking blood thinners or supplements may not be good candidates for microblading.

That’s a long list—and still, there are more medical conditions (like thyroid disorders and diabetes) and lifestyle factors (recent waxing or chemical peels) that can compromise skin healing. Always talk to your doctor before seeing a microblading artist; when you go in for treatment, be honest about your current medical history.

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.

Related Story

Microblading procedures “are not regulated for safety, the inks aren’t tested, and I’ve seen a lot of complications, like infection, allergy, permanent scarring, and poor aesthetic outcomes,” says Jennifer MacGregor, MD, board certified dermatologist with Union Square Dermatology in New York City. That may include unnatural looking brows or “block” brows (typically characterized by that harsh, square shape).

Even though Dr. MacGregor has gone through a microblading procedure herself, she explains that a dermatologist will never say a cosmetic tattoo is 100 percent safe, even if you see a qualified artist. No matter where you go, you need to watch for signs of infection. Minor redness (less than a centimeter around the treated area), itching, and minor crusting are normal, says Dr. MacGregor. Pain, significant swelling, oozing, or pus is not.

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.

Stay updated on the latest science-backed health, fitness, and nutrition news by signing up for the Prevention.com newsletter here. For added fun, follow us on Instagram.

Jessica Migala Jessica Migala is a health writer specializing in general wellness, fitness, nutrition, and skincare, with work published in Women’s Health, Glamour, Health, Men’s Health, and more.

What Is Microblading? (Plus More FAQ, Answered)

A trusted expert with proven results can also ease any hygiene-related jitters. That’s because, similar to getting any other tattoo, the dangers of infection are real including staph, Hepatitis C, and even HIV, adds Dr. Goldenberg. (Related: This Woman Says She Got a ‘Life-Threatening’ Infection After a Microblading Treatment) In my case, Lum showed me a sealed blade that she opened in front of me to ease my fears.

Microblading isn’t permanent, which is actually a good thing since as your eyebrows start to naturally become lower on your face with age, a brow tattoo can start to look misplaced.

Depending on your skin type, microbladed eyebrows can last from six to 18 months—although microblading typically fades more quickly on oilier skin types, says Padilla. My brows had some smudges of color a year later but simply looked a little darker and still totally natural.

Maintenance (and more cash) is required if you want to keep up the microbladed eyebrows look on an annual basis. Luckily, these touch-up visits tend to be shorter and slightly cheaper than your first go at it.

My microblading takeaway

In my case, the healing process was well worth it. Waking up with defined brows that flatter my face definitely speeds up my morning routine (plus, getting complimented on your brows is always a nice ego boost). I also feel that I need to wear less makeup overall now.

My number one tip before booking your own microblading session? Look at the microblading before and after pics posted to social media (yes, even the microblading gone wrong photos). Seeing so many different types of brows on a variety of skin tones helped me understand how it will impact my own. It can also help you choose a tech in your area who is serious about microblading and doesn’t mind showing off his or her work. It’s kind of like visiting a tattoo shop—you need to do the research, not just show up.

Will I do it again next year? Probably, but I’ll also buy a bigger hat.

  • By Alina Dizik

When my colleague Michelle October said, in that special Michelle October way: “Suuuuuuue, I have something that you HAVE to do,” I screamed Nooooo in my head. When she told me what it was, I said “Hell no” out loud.

I’m no beauty, but neither am I interested in beauty, having gloriously lost that battle years ago. But this is Michelle October, the most persistent of millennials, and with one flick of a slang word, she’d summoned the millennial army, all bulging eyes and gushing abbreviations, and I was overpowered.

READ MORE: “I Didn’t Wash My Hair For A Week – Here’s What Happened”

The thing I had to do? Microblading. Obviously, this involved a blade. On your face. Worse. Very very close to your eyeball. Because micoblading is essentially an eyebrow tattoo. At the time I wasn’t even sure I cared that it was semi-permanent – it was a TATTOO… On my FACE.

But I agreed. Because A) Millennial army. B) Everyone was doing it. C) My eyebrows are eerie. Old-man white. And patchy. I literally had nothing to lose.

D-Day

Having prepared Megan, the videographer, for tears with a chance of handholding, we took in the room. A lone bed – the kind you’d lie on at the doctor’s – with a dentist-type light above it, and… inks and blades, and my tattooist, the artist with the most… Eyebrows. As she gently, warmly outlined the process, I stared fixedly at her outlines – and almost bolted. Not because they were scary. They were beautiful. But they were just so freakin’ THERE. And so I reiterated for the seventieth time: “Be subtle. Be kind.” Before she brought the blade down. And I shut up.

Want To See?

How Painful Is It Really?

Honestly, I recall little from the next two hours. In the beginning, it was like any regular beauty treatment where one human is touching another: that zen of giving yourself over, half-dazed, and just falling into it. The artist measured and photographed and coloured in, and remeasured and remeasured and remeasured. It’s a meticulous business.

READ MORE: “I Tried The Blood Plasma Facial – Here’s What Happened”

By the time she actually started with the blade I felt like I was floating under palms. For me, it felt… nice, like someone repetitively pressing down on your skin with a fingernail. But apparently, pain during the treatment is relative. According to the microblading pros, scared clients and those who have their period usually feel stronger pain (there is an option to use mild cream or liquid anesthetics that can entirely eliminate the eina), while others compare it to basic eyebrow plucking.

And What Are They Doing To Your Face Exactly?

Your brows are being reshaped to achieve facial symmetry, the benchmark for beauty. And this symmetry isn’t left up to human guestimation – an actual app is used to get it spot-on.

Only once your measurements have been taken and you’ve given the proposed outline the nod does any actual needlework begin. Small blade strokes are made, then filled with pigment and saturated. Brows can be saturated multiple times during the procedure to improve retention – and this is done more so with clients with oily or sensitive skin. Strokes are also always drawn in the direction of natural hairs’ growth to achieve a hyper-realistic look.

READ MORE: “I Tried A Hairstyle From My ‘Hello No’ List – Here’s What Happened”

When I finally looked in a mirror, it was with awe. I was a bit daunted by how prominent they were, but I was pleased too – I did look more symmetrical. I did look prettier! Plus: Over the next two weeks, I figured, it was going to fade into the perfect shape and colour. And hallelujah to never having to pencil in an eyebrow again.

Check It Out

But Don’t Freak Out…

I did. A bit. My Dad was more dramatic, and spent the weekend family braai talking solely to my brows, asking them where he’d gone so wrong. Because the colour is pretty damn dark for the first five to seven days – despite the fact that my tattoo artist had selected the lightest pigment.

But, bless Dad, seven days later, the colour loses 40 to 50 percent of its intensity. The website’s warning is clear: If you think the colour is too dark, don’t try to remove it yourself. Wait seven days for the colour to fade on its own after your skin has healed.

Well, Don’t Freak Out… Yet

I really shouldn’t have been worried about those stark brows. Actually, I opposite. The weird thing with me was that not only did they fade to the perfect hue (a week or so of me walking into the supermarket flicking my hair out of my face with shamefully OTT confidence), they passed that sweet spot and continued to fade until, well, they were gone.

What the hell happened? I’d lost 100 percent colour, and – on inspection – every stroke (you’re only supposed to lose between 10 and 15 percent of drawn strokes after the first treatment). I was also a few original brows less, having shed them, along with a couple of tears, to the scabbing process.

It could’ve been my crazy-oily skin. It could’ve been incorrect aftercare (though I was pretty meticulous). It could’ve been that I missed one of the dos and don’ts (this incredibly long list exists – and you need to read it). Or it could’ve been a combination of all of it. With a heavy dose of bad luck.

READ MORE: 6 Cellulite-Busting Treatments That Will Actually Work For You

I probably should have had it corrected, but I didn’t. Correction seems to be part of the process for most microblading salons – and must be done between four and eight weeks (unless otherwise discussed). Note: If not done during this period, the touch-up/correction will be charged for separately.

How Much Does It Cost?

R3 300. This includes your six- to eight-week touch-up and aftercare kit.

Can You Reverse It?

Hate what’s just happened to your face? There is a way to remove it and it sounds pretty painless. A simple extraction formula is used to draw out the unwanted tattoo ink. Boom.

And What Happens If It Doesn’t “Take”?

According to the website of the company I went through, colour duration primarily depends on how oily the skin is. The oilier the skin (me!), the shorter the colour lasts. Sweating and sun exposure will also mess with your new brows. On average, expected time until a new colour refreshment is between 10 and 12 months. With oily skin, it’s up to six months.

READ MORE: 6 Cool Things You Didn’t Know Tissue Oil Could Do For Your Skin

With my skin, I’m thinking one month… Which is when the healing is fully completed (28 days) and when your first corrective session should happen. With problematic and oily skins, several corrections might be required, and this is definitely something to consider (along with that long ‘good brow behaviour’ checklist) before giving microblading a go. Now you know.

READ MORE ON: Beauty Beauty Tips Microblading

The dark side of microblading

Perfectly groomed brows can do amazing things for the face: They act as an elegant frame, imparting a more youthful, lifted appearance and add structure that helps define features. Maintenance with waxing, threading, plucking and other grooming procedures are effective but time-consuming and requires daily upkeep. So, a growing number of women, including Lena Dunham, Minka Kelly, Mandy Moore and Bella Thorne — as well as hundreds of beauty buffs on Instagram — are turning to a permanent-makeup solution, crediting microblading for their miraculous brows.

The procedure, done with a hand-held device containing small needles, uses short strokes to replicate hairs. It first emerged around five years ago, marketed as microblading despite the fact that no actual blade is used. It has become so popular that the cosmetic treatment Web site RealSelf.com had close to a million searches for it in 2017.

But, along with the success stories, come reports of gruesome results: A slew of horrifying microblading mishaps have been popping up online, ranging from unflattering shapes and faded tinting to scary scarring and infection.

“A lot of people are walking around with eyebrows that are theatrical or cartoonish,’’ says NYC-based makeup and brow designer Paulo Siqueira, who prefers more traditional techniques. “Many model agencies are forbidding their girls from getting microblading because the process can go so wrong. They send me new faces and the bookers say, ‘Please don’t give them those eyebrows that look like black electrical tape or they won’t get jobs.’ ”

In the ’60s, when permanent makeup was first introduced for women with thinning brows, it was a costly option performed mostly in medical offices. A tattoo machine was used to shade in sparse areas. By 2016, the rebranded and refined microblading technique had become a more affordable procedure, offered at hair and nail salons from Manhattan to Miami for as low as $400 (rates average $800 to $900, but can run as high as $4,500).

The increased popularity has led to an army of under-qualified practitioners who are quickly taught the technique in order to keep up with demand. “So many people are trying to make money by offering training. There are courses lasting just two or three days, and those people are being let loose on the public,’’ says Jeffrey Lyle Segal, a permanent-makeup artist who has been enhancing brows since 1991 and now works at the Upper East Side’s Paul Labrecque Salon, as well as the office of cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel.

Although scarring or infection are rare, precautions should be taken, according to Dr. Sobel. “You should avoid the procedure if someone has a history of keloid scars, but as long as the area is cleansed thoroughly with antiseptic, and sterile or disposable instruments are used, there shouldn’t be any chance of infection,’’ he says.

Good microblading (from KarinaNYC Lash and Skin) can result in desirable, full brows.Karina NYC Lash and Skincare

Without proper research, however, people like Arlinda Balidemaj, a 29-year-old event planner who lives in Wayne, NJ, are asking for trouble.

“I went to a local hair salon for microblading and I didn’t like the shape,’’ Balidemaj says. “Then the color started to fade into a weird brown. I hated it and was really upset, so I went to Sania’s Brow Bar and Sania showed me how to camouflage it with a pencil.’’

Vucetaj, who has been tending to the brows of stars such as Hoda Kotb for more than 20 years, discourages her clients from microblading. “If it goes wrong, you are stuck with the shape forever because it never fully fades and leaves an unattractive discoloration.’’

Xeviare Elezi — an office manager for a construction company who sought out Vucetaj after her bladed brows turned “bluish gray” — says the risks of microblading are not worth it.

“If you get a bad tattoo on your back at least you can hide it,” Elezi says. “When you get one on your face it’s pretty embarrassing.”

Here, the pros weigh in on what would-be ‘bladers need to know.

Ask if your skin can handle it

“Clients with large pores and oily skin aren’t good candidates for microblading because the color doesn’t show up well and can look blurry,” says Jeffrey Lyle Segal of Paul Labrecque Salon. “And those with rosacea have a tendency to bleed too much.”

Make sure your pro is actually a pro

“Ensure that the artist has reviews and referrals, and make sure he or she is CPCP certified,” says Kendra Bray, owner of Nolita salon Better Brows and Beauty.

Karina Freedman of KarinaNYC Lash & Skincare on the Upper East Side, adds that it’s important to go with someone with several years of experience so that they know how the color wears. “This can’t be a guessing game,” she says.

Seek out an age-appropriate look

“An elegant middle-aged woman should go for a more delicate, natural look,” says KarinaNYC’s Freedman. “She can’t get away with a thicker, fashion-forward shape the way a girl in her 20s can.”

Try before you buy

“Ask the artist to draw on your brows first what he plans to do with the machine,” says Danuta Mieloch, owner of Rescue Spa in Flatiron, which offers a program of brow growth using RevitaLash serum and expert tinting. “That way, you can see if you are comfortable with the way it looks before committing to a long-term result.

See for yourself

Skin-care guru Yasmine Djerradine, who has veteran permanent-makeup artist Fabrice Condemi visit from Belgium once a month, recommends checking out the artist’s before-and-after photos.

“You want to make sure you like the style and taste of the person working on your face,’’ she says.

DIY microblading is officially trending — here’s why professionals are cringing

  • Microblading is the process of using a tiny blade to tattoo your eyebrows to make them appear naturally thicker.
  • The ink is not permanent and each session can cost anywhere from $300 to $2,500 when done by a professional.
  • Some beauty YouTubers have been uploading DIY tutorials to microblade eyebrows at home.
  • Professionals say that this practice is unsanitary and potentially dangerous.

Remember that video on Facebook that went viral last week of a woman trying to microblade her eyebrows at home? And it make everyone and their mother say, “Sweetie, NO?”

Well, it’s not the first time someone has tried to DIY microblade their own eyebrows. In fact, at-home microblading has become the most dangerous trend in beauty.

You heard that correctly — there is a SLEW of at-home microblading tutorial videos on YouTube.

Many beauty YouTubers have uploaded DIY microblading tutorials. YouTube

They say if something happens three times, it’s a trend. Well, a search for “DIY microblading” on YouTube yields almost 40,000 results. That’s a trend if I’ve ever seen one.

And some of them encourage some very, VERY dangerous habits and techniques. Take this one by user RachelXXNicole for example.

In this video, Rachel breaks some of the most obvious and most important rules of microblading. She doesn’t wear gloves, uses a coffee lid to hold her pigment rather than a clean, disposable plastic cap, and fails to follow the proper immediate aftercare measures just to name a few.

Though this seems simple when done by a vlogger in their own home, microblading professionals can spot abut a million issues with videos such as this one.

“If you are interested in doing your own microblading make sure you just do your homework,” the video description says. RachelxxNicole/YouTube

Evertrue Microblading Salon founder Ramon Padilla noted the burning sensation this vlogger feels throughout her at-home procedure and attributes it to poor technique.

“Having the right pressure with the microblading tool is crucial,” he said. “It needs to penetrate the skin only enough so that pigment reaches the upper portion of the dermal layer and no deeper — deep enough so that pigment stays but not too deep that scarring occurs. If the tool cuts to the hypodermal layer, then long-term scarring can occur. There is also risk of infection.

“At one point in the video she notices a burning sensation when applying pigment on the microbladed strokes — she cut too deep and that is her skin crying for help. The eyebrow reveal showed what looked to be open wounds.”

Both Padilla and cosmetic tattooer Bethany Wolosky agree that performing this procedure on yourself without the proper qualifications might save you money in the short term, but will likely cost you way more than just money later on.

The YouTuber said it’s a long process but it’s “definitely worth it.” RachelxxNicole/YouTube

“It is true that is not an inexpensive procedure, but the cost of fixing a botched job will be much higher, both in terms of money and emotional distress,” Padilla said. “I would advise those who find themselves in similar situations to perhaps go with a microblading technician who is just starting out with lower prices — the work might not be as good, but it will be better than if done on one’s own — or get together a group of friends and ask for a group discount, or maybe look for training sessions and ask to be a training model.”

“Besides the risk of looking bad, there is the potential to cause permanent scarring and pigment migration if you are not trained in the proper techniques to implant pigment into the skin,” Wolosky said. “Doing this in your home instead of a licensed establishment that meets lawful guidelines in hygiene puts you at risk of an infection. Disfiguring your face is not worth the money you will save by doing this yourself.”

On top of that, it undermines the hard work of trained professionals and spread dangerous advice to a very vulnerable audience, Wolosky said.

“They’re not gonna look this red in a few hours,” she said. RachelxxNicole/YouTube

“People spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to become professionals in this industry and to undermine this because you want to save money puts yourself at a great risk; filming it and distributing it is irresponsible,” she said.

“Microblading is hard and takes a lot of time to master, it is ignorant and arrogant to assume that just because you can order the supplies means you are qualified or capable of tattooing yourself.”

But if that still didn’t convince you to leave this trend in the dust, just look at the results of an amateur versus a professional’s work:

“I am not a professional this is just what I’ve taken and seen when i got my eyebrows done,” the YouTuber wrote in her video description. RachelxxNicole/YouTube / Courtesy of Evertrue Salon

On the left: Microblding done at home. On the right: Microblading done by a professional.

Microblading done safely by a professional isn’t cheap, but the cost is crucial if you don’t want botched results. So don’t even think about this one.

To learn more about professional microblading, please visit the websites of Evertrue Microblading Salon and Bethany Wolosky.

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Is Microblading Worth It? Here’s What I Wish I Had Known Before I Had My Eyebrows Done

I neglected my eyebrows for the better part of 20 years. In their natural state they’re basically translucent, so I saw no need to shape them (I know, I know). But there was one day that shaped both my life and my brows and would lead me down a path that had me finding out first-hand what microblading your eyebrows is like. On this day, I had them filled in by a professional. She recommended that I try brow tinting, because blonde brows are really hard to fill in. So I did.

Life-changing is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but I’m going to use it here because there’s no other way to describe the trajectory of my life. After that, I was a woman possessed. I became obsessed with my brows, tinting them every four to six weeks and hoarding piles of pomades, gels, and pencils to fill them in when they inevitably began to lighten.

Then, a couple of years ago, I noticed my brows begin to thin. (Fun fact: Did you know stress can cause this? Cool.) To say I took it well would be a vast overstatement. Imagine me shaking my fist at the sky and wondering why I had so little time with perfect brows.

It was right around this time that a treatment called microblading, a process that involves tattooing hairlike strokes onto your brow area, started gaining popularity. Microblading, it seemed, was the messiah come to save my face from it’s slow decline into browless-ness.

So, I did a little research (aka read a couple of online articles and went through a lot of Instagram posts) and decided to book an appointment. But nearly two years later, there are a few things I wished I had known before taking the plunge.

Allie Flinn

1. When You Microblade Your Eyebrows, They’ll Come Out Darker (Like, Way Darker) Than They Tell You

When I came home from my first eyebrow microblading appointment, my boyfriend was perplexed as to why I had filled in my brows with Sharpie. You actually want them to be darker at first, because the tint will fade and lighten to your desired shade. But, just from my own experience, you may feel self-conscious leaving the house. Your brows will look dramatic. Here’s what they looked like immediately following microblading. (Please forgive my selfie pose. I hadn’t yet discovered my angles/the nuances of lighting.)

2. It’s Not Totally Pain-Free

Most reputable eyebrow microblading places will apply a numbing cream before they get to work scratching pigment into your skin. Unfortunately, mine started to wear off near the end (my appointment was over two hours long). My technician offered to add more numbing cream, but when debating the existential pain of waiting 15 minutes for it to kick in (on top of the time the rest of my appointment would take) against feeling actual physical pain, the latter won out.

That said, the pain itself isn’t really that bad. What is bad, however, is the fact that…

3. You Can Totally Hear The Tattooing Process Happening On Your Face

It sounds like the little tiny scratches a person hears in a dark basement/closet before they get murdered in a horror movie. Not a deal-breaker (especially if you’re used to getting tattoos), but just something to be aware of before your appointment.

@allieflinn

4. You Need Multiple Appointments

“Sure, I can commit to multiple microblading appointments,” I, a human woman who still cannot figure out how to add reminders to her phone without using Siri, actually thought. If you get microblading, you must do at least one follow-up appointment for best results. This is so that the technician can do touch-ups and make sure there aren’t any patchy spots. In addition to the the time commitment, there’s also a monetary commitment. Microblading is not cheap.

5. If You Have Blonde Brows, There’s A Catch

Like I mentioned, my brows are naturally translucent. (Seriously, if you look at old photos of me, it looks like I have no eyebrows.) I’ve been religiously tinting them for the past few years, but life happens and sometimes I go too long between tints. If you have very blonde eyebrows like I do, you’ll probably still have to get them tinted after you get microblading done, which is annoying and also expensive. Below is a super close-up of my brows about two years after microblading and having them freshly tinted. If you look, you can see where the microblading is faded (it’s the reddish tint).

Before my eyebrow microblading, the tint would fade evenly. After microblading, when the tint on my brows begins to fade, my eyebrows start looking patchy because the faded microblading has turned slightly red and shows through my pale brows.

This was, in part, my fault. I prefer a darker, cool-toned brow to contrast with my blonde hair — think a little bit Daenerys Targaryen-esque. For the first few months I didn’t mind at all having to be super on top of my tinting appointments, but now that it’s started to fade it definitely looks a little wonky to me. Plus, the strokes began to blur together a bit, so the look is definitely less clean.

However, I wouldn’t have gone through the hours-long process of eyebrow microblading to get a result that matched my natural, super light color. My usual tinting would have looked weird over blonde microbladed brows, and blonde brows aren’t the look I want. It’s a real catch-22, or in 2018 terms, the woman shrugging emoji.

Basically, if you have very blonde eyebrows like me, just be careful and make sure you really talk it through with your technician. The photo above shows what my eyebrows look like now, about two weeks after tinting and a year and a half after microblading.

That said, I know many people who swear by microblading — it is amazing for people who have sparse brows, or people who want bolder brows. For me, though, deciding to get microbladed was my 2016 version of “should I get bangs?” I did it, loved it for a bit, then wished for my brows to go back to normal (and by normal, I actually mean shaped and tinted, pre-microblading).

Microblading eyebrows: Risks and what you need to know for the best results

A growing number of my clients lately have been asking my advice on microblading eyebrows, a semi-permanent solution to barely-there brows that don’t have to be drawn on daily.

Now that thick brows are back in fashion, it makes sense that many women are considering the newest cosmetic procedure made famous by social media’s love for bold brows with dramatic before and afters photos of microblading eyebrows.

Since my perspective is limited to my experience as a professional makeup artist, I sought out one of NYC’s best Dermatologists, a master Microblading Technician, and several makeup pros to give you the real, truthful wisdom you need to consider before you have this somewhat irreversible procedure done.

We’re going to cover:

  • What is microblading and is it safe?
  • How much does microblading cost?
  • What are the risks of microblading?
  • What to expect and watch out for before and after getting microblading done.
  • How to best prepare your skin for microblading.
  • Is microblading eyebrows right for you?

If you plan to get Botox and have microblading done, you must read the rest!

Yes, this is gonna be a long article. It may be the most comprehensive piece on the web (that I’ve seen so far) about microblading eyebrows. For a subject this important, you don’t deserve watered-down information simplified into 10 vague bullet points — that’s not how I roll.

It’s my hope that you’ll be well-informed to make the best choice for you, so you don’t waste a bunch of money, end up with a face that looks all kinds of crazy, or have serious health repercussions, because after reading this article you’ll know what to look out for instead.

The first and the most shocking thing you need to know…

The United States as a whole does not require any certification for someone to practice microblading on clients! Seriously, look it up.

Each state may have specific guidelines (and most do) for cosmetic tattooing (i.e. certification, licensing and insurance requirements).

But just know that in the U.S. it’s basically the wild west. You have to look out for you first and as you’ll hear our experts say over an over – do your research! That’s why this article will be an invaluable resource on microblading precautions.

At the end of the article we’ll address the government’s lack of interest in pigment safety.

The “sins” of over-plucking

Photo by Karel Losenicky. Makeup and Hair by Kristen Arnett.

In the 1920s thin brows became all the rage, with a big resurgence in the 70s and 90s, now so many women are kicking themselves because their over-plucked eyebrows aren’t growing back.

If you’re among this group of women, you’re likely around 40 years of age and upwards, and I hate to tell you, but as you get older your eyebrows will start thinning out more on their own too.

Loss of brows due to chemotherapy & alopecia

Of course there are other ways women (and men) end up with sparse brows. Those who have a condition known as Alopecia (an autoimmune skin disease) which causes hair loss for the entire body (scroll below for some reassuring info on that below), and anyone who’s gone through chemotherapy treatments, are two such cases.

The Daily Grind of Filling in Brows

Regardless of why, it’s understandable that you’d want to make your life a little easier by considering having microblading done to your eyebrows, so you can “wake up and go” without the hassle of drawing them in daily.

Of course, if you’ve never learned the right way to fill in your brows with makeup, I promise you that having proper instruction will make a huge difference! If after reading this article you don’t want to commit to a permanent procedure like microblading, I highly suggest you check out my online workshop on filling in skinny brows that will be “eye-opening” for sure!

Now, let’s meet our advisors

Jessica Krant, M.D.

Jessica Krant, M.D.

A board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and American College of Mohs Surgery. She has been named a Top Doctor by Castle Connolly, New York Magazine, New York SuperDoctors, and Westchester County Top Doctors, as well as receiving the Best of Manhattan Award in Dermatology.

Dr. Krant is a graduate of Harvard College magna cum laude and later Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, where she received both her M.D. and Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honors Society recognition as well as her Master’s Degree in Public Health. You can find her at The Art of Dermatology.

Alexandra Puscas

Alexandra Puscas

The owner of Esthetic-Lines, Alexandra has been practicing and teaching the art of permanent cosmetic tattooing and microblading for a number of years both in the U.S. and internationally. Her training has included The International Permanent Makeup Conference and Championships in Warsaw, Biotek Permanent Makeup School with Russian Trainer Anna Savina, and PMU by Nataliya Yeremenko based in Tallinn, Estonia.

Now let’s move on to the comprehensive guide of everything you need to consider before you have microblading done to your eyebrows.

What is microblading and how is it different (better or worse) than cosmetic tattoos of the past?

Alexandra: I think a lot of people do not realize that microblading is cosmetic tattooing. We often times use the same pigment brand, and implant the pigment at the same depth in the skin.

So it really is just a difference in the tool that’s used:

Tattooing is done with a little machine that’s plugged into a wall with a tiny needle or group of needles.

Microblading is done by hand dragging a group of needles across the skin to create microcuts where the pigment is implanted.

Photo by Esthetic-Lines

I think every technician has a preference: I prefer machine work, as I’ve found it produces less scarring, but I’m sure someone who loves microblading would find some reasons to say the opposite.

In the hands of a good technician, microblading can be great, but the majority of bad work I’ve been seeing the past 3-4 years come from poorly trained microblading technicians. The trend came with good and bad for sure.

Are there short or long-term complications people should be aware of?

Dr. Krant: The risks of any form of tattooing are the same: mainly infection risk or allergic reactions, either of which can lead to permanent scarring or ongoing inflammation, including possibly eyebrow hair loss.

Another risk is the difficulty removing the pigment if the color or shape is wrong. These risks would be worse with deeper traditional tattooing than with microblading.

Alexandra: Honestly I’ve never had weird complications. Clients can be potentially allergic to anything – more often than not it’s to the aftercare used, but that is an easy fix.

In the hands of poorly trained technicians, or purely someone who has no skill in this industry, microblading could potentially disfigure a person.

A lot of people think that more is more, when honestly permanent brow makeup should (in my opinion), be a subtle change and improvement to your daily look.

The bigger & bolder you go, the more likely you won’t like something about it in the long-run: whether the way it suits your face after some volume loss, the way the color fades etc.

Will the pigments cause reactions that change the face, possibly requiring more corrective procedures, etc?

Dr. Krant: If infection is found from something wrong with the pigment or the cleanliness of the technique, it can be caused by “atypical mycobacteria” which are notoriously hard to identify and cure. A true tissue infection can also leave permanent scarring.

An allergic reaction to a tattooed dye ink is very tricky to manage, since it’s hard to remove the ink particles and the allergic reaction is permanent and must be managed over a long period of time as it waxes and wanes. This can also cause scarring and lumpiness.

It might seem like these issues can just be reversed by lasering out the ink particles, but laser doesn’t work that way. It breaks up the particles so they are smaller and your body can absorb and remove them, normally. But in the case of allergy or infection, it’s not enough to remove the problem trigger.

Are there certain tattoo pigments more likely to cause reactions?

Alexandra: I always try not to jump on the band-wagon when new pigments come out. Let other technicians try it and then hear from them. Brands will always claim “big things,” but not always stand by their claims. I think if it is a widely-used pigment brand, with no reported reactions, you should most likely be fine.

How can people know ahead of time if they are sensitive to the pigments?

Alexandra: They should obviously tell their technician if they have any known allergies. The legislation is very different depending on the country you work in. I think in the UK for example, technicians have to do a patch test. It is not something I do on my clients. I am not going to claim I am an allergist and it is common knowledge that allergies can be developed later on in life as well.

I’ve worked on thousands of clients with not one allergic reaction to the pigment, so you’re most likely safe when it comes to pigment sensitivity.

Are there concerns with microblading on a face with Botox or fillers such as Juvaderm?

Dr. Krant: I am unaware of specific issues with regards to chemical interaction when mixing makeup tattoos or micropigmentation with neuromodulators like Botox or fillers like Juvederm or Restylane.

Alexandra: You should definitely allow at least 2-3 weeks before and after your treatment to have any botox done in the forehead & crow’s feet area.

One problem I remember vividly in my practice is a client who got their brows done back in 2014 or so, and came for a touch-up in 2017. Her brow shape was completely off. The tails were very high because of the poorly injected botox that weighed down the fronts of her brows.

If you choose properly trained service-providers for both Botox & permanent makeup (including microblading), they’ll know about proper placement and how to make you look softer, more feminine without long-term repercussions.

Which red flags should people watch out for (signs to run from a microblading technician and seek another)?

Alexandra: The most important thing is hygiene. If you feel your health might be compromised, run.

A lot of people think that if their needle/microblade was unopened before the start of the procedure, everything’s clean. Not really…

If the technician touches their reusable products (pigments, anesthetics, or even door knobs) after they started the tattooing process, with the same gloves on their hands, leave.

They obviously don’t know about proper sanitation and they’re contaminating their reusable products with the clients’ bodily fluids.

Definitely try not to pick the cheapest provider in the area. There must be a reason they’re the cheapest.

What cautionaries would you give to patients considering having microblading, or cosmetic tattoos applied to their face, prior to having it done?

Dr. Krant: It’s important to pick a reputable place known for extremely clean technique to minimize the chance of infection, and do lots of research ahead to make sure people are generally happy with their results.

Once the ink is in, it’s really not easy to remove without risking loss of hair or other skin damage.

What steps should clients take before having microblading done?

Alexandra suggests:

No blood thinners of any kind

Especially important if they’re susceptible to bleeding easily.

No sun-tanning

I’d like them to come in as close as possible to their “untanned” skin tone.

No Botox

2-3 weeks minimum before coming in.

No retinols, heavy peels, no acne-creams on their forehead and around the brows

We basically don’t want the skin to be overly sensitive and “raw-feeling.”

I had high a profile lady come in once and as soon as I removed her brow makeup, her skin was almost “bubbling” since she was using retinol products. I had to let her go and advised her to stop using those products for 2-3 months, and then come back to reassess the skin.

Highly-sensitive skin that flares up as soon as you touch it heals poorly. The pigment just doesn’t hold properly, and even in some cases when it does, it tends to fade out faster than on other clients.

How can someone ensure they’ll get the best color and/or shape when microblading brows?

Alexandra: Go to a highly-trained professional that you trust. They should be educated to advise you what’s best for your face not just now, but in the future as well.

I never allow my clients to pick their color out of my pigments. The way our pigments swatch topically is not how they heal.

To give you an example: a Taupe that swatches mustardy might throw someone off completely, but it actually heals beautifully under the skin. That’s the key word: under.

Photo by Esthetic-Lines

Clients may know what suits them best in terms of a pencil or a pomade, but they do not have the training or experience to correctly envision the healed-treatment.

What is the average length of time it takes for the microblading procedure?

Alexandra: I book my clients for 2-2.5 hours, though the actual tattooing time takes between 30-55 minutes.

If your technician works on you for hours and hours on such a small area, something is not right.

I had a lady call me in tears 2 months ago because of a fellow-technician who worked on her for 7 hours. You can imagine how butchered her brow area was.

How long will results last?

Alexandra: It depends on so many factors. So I really cannot give you an exact answer. It technically lasts forever in the skin, but it fades a lot (sometimes to visually nothing) due to sun exposure and just the body breaking down the pigment. So clients should prepare for touch-ups every 1-3 years.

How much does microblading cost typically?

Alexandra: It depends a lot on location. I’ve seen Groupons at $100 and people who charge $3000. Look at people’s websites and gallery in the area. Take some notes on their pricing.

If you do not value this treatment, I’d highly recommend you to stick to pencil & brow products.

Paying a cheap price is a bad idea if you have a lot of doubts about the person who is about to tattoo your face. It won’t be worth the savings. You could be left scarred for life.

So remember, want something cheap? That is okay, but go to Walgreens or Ulta and get a brow product. You’ll be much better off.

What’s the best eyebrow microblading after-care routine?

Alexandra: Every technician has their own “thing” that works for them.

After trying many ways through the years (Vaseline, A&D ointment, Aquaphor, Bepantene, Grapeseed oil, washing & not washing), what I currently ask my clients to do is:

Wash brows 2x day.

Pat them dry and use some ointment on it. The ointment I suggest might be After Inked or Aquaphor (depending on the country I’m working in).

No sun on the brows for 10 days.

No heavy sweating on the face.

No hot showers.

Just use common sense and treat it as you’d treat a wound.

Who is the best candidate for microblading?

Alexandra:

In my opinion, the absolute best type of client specifically for microblading are those with alopecia.

Like I’ve mentioned before, 95% of my brows are done with a machine and 5% with microblading. That 5% tends to be clients with alopecia. Their skin feels a bit more rubbery and tough, so microblading seems to work better for them.

Otherwise, I’m sold on the machine. I put the quality of the skin above everything else, and visually you can achieve VERY similar results.

Who is eyebrow microblading not for?

Alexandra: I don’t recommend it for very young girls that do not need it.

I also don’t recommend it to people who constantly spend time in the sun without willing to use SPF on their brows in the future. The brows will fade very fast that way.

Also, if you think you have highly sensitive skin, seborrheic dermatitis in the brow area or anything that causes that area to feel raw and sensitive – don’t do it.

No matter how good your technician is, they’re not magicians. Your skin has a lot to do with how the treated area heals.

Microblading From a Makeup Artist’s Perspective

Photo by Roy Schweiger. Makeup and Hair by Kristen Arnett

Artistry is a huge part of selecting the technician you use for microblading. In addition to all the other factors we’ve covered, talent and the ability to really create harmony, balance and color on the face in a flattering way is enormously important. Your eyebrows not only frame your eyes, but they give your face expression.

In fashion we often bleach (yes, bleach) eyebrows or use other crazy methods to make them “disappear” on the face for a more editorial effect, like the photo above.

So you may want to consider rocking your no-brow look every so often, if you’re not ready to commit to a permanent solution.

If you need help with using makeup to fill in your eyebrows, be sure to check out my “skinny brow” workshop.

What other makeup artists have to say about microblading eyebrows

I polled my makeup artist friends (some of the best in the biz!) and they chimed in with their thoughts (which truly echo my own):

Christie Sayer: I happen to think it’s kind of nice for those who have fallen victim to the over-plucking phase of life and their eyebrows never grew back. It’s away for them to look more put together with less ready time in the morning and I think looks more realistic than having to draw them on with makeup (which can be a bit rough for the everyday person to try and recreate eyebrows when there’s not much left).

Margina Dennis: From a consumer standpoint, I understand it in the same way I understand eyelash extensions. It just that there are very few times I have seen it done well. From a work standpoint, I don’t like it. I find it very limiting in the same way eyebrows tattooed on are.

Deborah Haynes: Ultimately, it comes down to the individual and how they feel daily when they wake up and look at themselves. Like anything, you have to find a person who is really talented in this field. I have seen clients that it looks great on, and I have seen where it’s not so good. Each persons expectation is what concerns me the most.

Fiona Lee: I like Microblading a lot. If done right, microblading can do wonders on people with sparse/no brows wanting a natural look, and it helps give them self confidence back.

However people must do their research, as it is not regulated in the United States very well. Meaning anyone can do it (and teach it) without any experience with health and sanitation or even an Esthetician license.

Also some microblading technicians do not know color theory very well, what looks pretty and natural on the face of the client. So be careful!

Is Microblading Toxic?

While we covered hygiene, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention that there’s the potential that tattoo ink could be a toxic threat to your body’s health.

Just announced in August of 2018, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is assessing the risk cosmetic tattoo pigments may pose to human (and even environmental) health. Read more here.

And you know if the EU is only now getting around to this investigation, then it won’t be until the 22nd Century that the U.S. follows suit.

We’ll save the more in-depth look at tattoo safety for another article in the future though.

Risk vs. Reward

By now you’re probably super clear on all the ways to hedge your risks and get the best results from eyebrow microblading. It could just be the answer to your thin-brow woes!

Have you had eyebrow microblading or cosmetic tattooing done on yourself? Care to share your experience in the comments below for us all to learn from?

Feature photo by Esthetic-Lines

I Got My Eyebrows Microbladed Last Year—Here’s What I’ve Learned Since

Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images

Some people celebrate anniversaries with a husband or wife. I, on the other hand, am marking one year with my eyebrows. That is to say, it’s been exactly 12 months since brow wizard Piret Aava microbladed my brows, giving me the arches I’d always wanted. We’ve been in the honeymoon-phase ever since.

VIDEO: Watch an InStyle Editor Get Eyebrow Microblading

But, as in any relationship, I’ve learned a thing or two—both good and bad—about my microbladed brows during our time together. Ahead, the totally-honest answers to the microblading questions I’m asked most often, including how long microblading really lasts…

What is microblading?

Microblading is the process of using a teeny-tiny blade to semi-permanently deposit pigment underneath the skin. The best pros use short strokes of varying lengths in order most closely mimic actual hairs. I know what you’re thinking: Yikes! Doesn’t that hurt? For me, not really… each stroke felt only like a scratch on very dry skin. (Plus, you’re numbed ahead of time.)

The end result is meant to be incredibly natural-looking—as if you just so happened to be born with full, shapely brows, no pomade or pencil required.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Microblading Your Eyebrows

How long does microblading last?

It’s tough to make a blanket statement here. Most pros say your faux hairs will be visible for up to three years, but they’ll lose their “crispness” and thus require a touch-up anywhere between seven months to a year post-treatment. “There are a lot of factors that contribute, including sun exposure and your skincare routine,” says Piret. “If you’re a big exfoliator , that will make them fade faster, for example.”

I, for one, am a big exfoliator. That said, I only started to notice fading about ten months after the initial procedure. I plan to see Piret for a touch up every year or so.

What’s the after care like for microblading?

I won’t sugar-coat it: The day after I microbladed my eyebrows, things were a little rough. As expected, each individual “hair” scabbed over, which looked just as glamorous as it sounds. But just 72 hours later, it was business as usual. My skin care routine pretty much stayed the same, exfoliation and all—I just avoided directly coating my brows when possible.

Should I get my eyebrows microbladed, too?

If, like me before microblading, you spend more than ten minutes a day attempting to tint, shape, and otherwise groom your brows, it’s totally worth it. (And I say that knowing the price tag for the initial procedure is usually around $1,200.) It doesn’t get any better than waking up with pre-groomed brows.

How long does getting microblading take?

For the first Microblading session, the entire procedure should take about 2.5-3 hours. During this session, the brow technician will shape and style the client’s brows for client approval. We then follow with pigment color selection. Once the client is satisfied with the choices, we begin the procedure.

The client is to come in for a follow up visit in order to have any minor necessary touch ups. The second Microblading session takes place after 4-6 weeks after the initial session. This session will take approximately 1.5-2 hours to complete.

IMPORTANT: Remember to keep your eyebrows from getting wet when you wash your hair in the shower. You can use Brow Patrol Eyebrow Shields, they’re super inexpensive and easy to use and will keep your eyebrow pigment from changing due to excessive moisture.

How long does it take to heal?

The eyebrow area will be slightly red after the procedure and color will appear very dark. This is normal for the procedure and part of the healing process. The color will fade by up to 40% as it heals. In the following days, the eyebrows will continue to be dark and you will notice slight scabbing.

Do not pick at the scabs as this may damage the skin and the outcome of the microbladed area. The eyebrows will lighten up in color as it heals. No down time is required after microblading procedure. It takes approximately 7-14 days for the brows to heal over, and about 1 month for the color to fully set in.

You’ll notice the color is very light right after the two weeks after healing; the skin will have an opaque milky looking quality to it. This is known as the milk skin and is common in tattooing. This is due to the the tissue still healing from the inside out even though the surface of the skin is healed. True color will reveal itself once healed.

IMPORTANT: Remember to keep your eyebrows from getting wet when you wash your hair in the shower. You can use Brow Patrol Eyebrow Shields, they’re super inexpensive and easy to use and will keep your eyebrow pigment from changing due to excessive moisture.

Is the touch up session necessary?

Yes! A touch up session after 4-6 weeks is necessary as everyone heals differently and outcome will vary. Certain areas may not pick up during first session and will need to be refilled.

Pigment color may need to be adjusted, brow thickness and more strokes can be added. Individuals with oily skin often require a deeper shade during the touch up session as the oils tend to lighten the pigment.

Most importantly, your touch up session is when we refine your brows to ensure it looks perfect and retains the color for the whole year!

How long does it last?

Since microblading pigments are not implanted into the skin as deep as traditional tattoos, the area will naturally fade overtime. Microblading typically lasts 1-3 years, depending on skin type (normal, oily, dry), age (youthful/mature). Skincare routine will also affect the lasting effect of the pigment: patients who tan, uses products with AHA or Glycolic Acid with fade faster as your skin will resurface faster.

Each individual’s color retention within the skin will vary. To maintain the brows looking fresh, a touch up is suggested every 12-18 months. Clients can let the microbladed area fade over time, but please note a slight shadow may remain.

IMPORTANT: Remember to keep your eyebrows from getting wet when you wash your hair in the shower. You can use Brow Patrol Eyebrow Shields, they’re super inexpensive and easy to use and will keep your eyebrow pigment from changing due to excessive moisture.

The ever-popular brow fix is your one-way ticket to thicker, fuller looking arches

Gone are the days of super-thin, fine brows. These days the thicker the better. If you want to know how to get thicker brows, then read on, because along with the best brow products, microblading is one of the most popular ways to amp up your arches – from filling them in, to making the most of your eyebrow shape. But unless you’re clued-in on the latest beauty treatments, you might not know exactly how the process works (or, more importantly, if it’s for you). That’s where we come in.

To get the low down on microblading for eyebrows, we caught up with brow expert and Browhaus founder, Cynthia Chua, to answer all of your burning questions about the procedure.

‘Microblading is a new and updated semi-permanent make-up technique where, through manual process of inserting pigment into the upper layers of skin, we create the desired fullness and shape of the eyebrows,’ Cynthia explains.

‘The effects can last up to 12-24 months, depending on skin types, after which the pigment fades leaving the skin and your natural brows exactly as they were. The results are very natural and lifelike, giving the brows a natural, fuller look.’

How much does microblading cost?

Wherever you go for microblading, you’re looking at spending at least a couple of hundred quid for the procedure.

‘At Browhaus we charge £550 for the microblading procedure and an additional cost of £73 for the aftercare, which we highly recommend to protect your newly-shaped brows,’ says Cynthia.

Microblading before and after:

We get it: what you really want to know is what the results actually look like. As you can see from the below, microblading makes your brows appear thicker and fuller without looking too ‘done’ or over-filled.

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Look out on this page for Black Friday Special. Guess what is it about 🖤 #microblading #eyebrows #beauty

A post shared by Browhaus (UK) (@browhausuk) on Nov 20, 2018 at 2:16am PST

Microblading aftercare

‘For the next 10 days after the procedure, you need to keep the brows as dry as possible. No water is allowed around the brow area, as this can result in the ink being washed out of the skin.

‘We also suggest avoiding any hot holidays, which will cause you to over-sweat and push the ink out of the skin, as well as activities such as the gym or saunas.’

Are there any microblading side effects?

‘In your first session, it’s very common for your body to try to reject the ink, so you may experience up to 60-80% rejection. After your 10 days of healing, I would then suggest exfoliating over the area twice a week to help reduce the pigment.’

When should you get a microblading touch up?

Top-ups depend completely on your own personal preference. ‘If you’ve had just one session we would encourage you to re-book between six to eight weeks to ensure all lines and colour have taken, as well as giving you a chance to make minor changes such as extra strokes,’ advises Cynthia.

‘Once both sessions are complete, clients can re-book anywhere between three months to two years. It all comes down to preference when needing a top-up.’

Why Is Microblading So Expensive? This Brow Treatment Follows A Similar Procedure To Tattooing

A killer set of brows can often be the staple of a makeup look, so it’s no wonder that the introduction of microblading took the world by storm. Filling in your brows can often be the bane of your beauty routine, so why wouldn’t you want to take the time it takes to get those beauties perfect out of the equation? Believe it or not, it all comes down to cost. This treatment can make your brows look heavenly, but it can also burn a substantial hole in your savings. So, why is microblading so expensive?

It’s all down to the procedure. If you weren’t already aware, microblading involves the use of semi-permanent ink deposited in small, hairlike strokes to give the effect of a fuller brow. While the process of microblading is similar to regular tattooing, the ink is only applied to the surface of the skin, (as opposed to being injected into the dermis) so the ink will eventually fade. If you want to have the effect of fuller brows through microblading regularly, this is why you have to have regular top-up sessions. With that in mind, it’s not hard to believe that the art of microblading comes with a pretty hefty price tag.

Varying from practice to practice, the average cost of a microblading session is “upwards of £300,” according to Heat magazine. That may seem like a lot, but when you think of what’s involved in the treatment it’s understandable. “Higher prices don’t always mean better results, but they do usually mean that the artist is more experienced,” celebrity make-up artist and brow professional Daniel Chinchilla told InStyle magazine. “Also, it’s sometimes better to pay a little more because the artist is more likely using better tools and pigments for the procedure.”

Sean Locke/Stocksy

And when you think about it, microblading is somewhat of a solution to keep your brows full without having to regularly spend money on products that offer the same effect. As Elle reports, microblading usually lasts between 12-18 months depending on your skin type, so while you’ll need a top-up when the ink starts to fade, it totally saves money in the long run, and sheds substantial time off your beauty routine. It’s a win win.

However, injecting ink into the skin does come with risks. Even though microblading isn’t anywhere near as intrusive as regular tattooing, it isn’t a procedure you should undertake on a whim. Ample research is a must, from making sure you chose a reputable artist who is qualified and has experience in the field to being aware of how your skin could react to the treatment. “You should take into consideration that different skin types also factor into results,” microblading expert Betsy Shuki told InStyle. “Excessively oily skin, larger pores, thicker skin and eyebrow keratosis can affect the absorption of the pigment.”

Like everything in life, this brow treatment has its pros and cons. Thankfully there are many alternatives to achieve the same effect that microblading provides so your brows can slay regardless.

If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you probably know I went through the ordeal that is microblading. This is an expensive semi-permanent cosmetic procedure that I wanted for years, and it was great to finally get it done. But was microblading worth it?

Microblading is a form of semi-permanent make-up that involves using tiny needles to deposit pigment below your skin to give you a look of fuller and more defined eyebrows. It can last up to 3 years, but you typically will need to get touch-ups done once per year.

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I’ve wanted to get my eyebrows microbladed for years, but since the process is essentially a face tattoo, I wasn’t able to when I was pregnant or nursing. Because I had my priorities in order, I scheduled my appointment the week after my baby was weaned.

The cost breakdown of microblading

Where you get your eyebrows down and what artist does it will be the largest determinant of the price tag you pay. I paid on the highest end of the scale as far as I know, but I also saw the same artist that did Mrs. Universe’s brows. Not everyone needs to get their microblading done by someone who services beauty queens, but I was nervous about tattooing my face. I was willing to shell out extra money for reputation and results. And know what? I wasn’t disappointed.

Expect to spend anywhere from $400 to $700 for the cost of microblading. While you might be tempted to aim below that range in order to reduce your costs, remember that this is semi-permanent make-up. When you pay a premium you are paying for your artist’s time and talent, as well as the quality of facilities and the equipment used.

My eyebrow microblading cost breakdown:

Appointment deposit $150 + tax = $157.50 — I had to pay a $150 non-refundable deposit to hold my appointment when I first booked it.

Microblading appointment $450 + $81 tip + tax = $557.55 — My actual microblading appointment was 3 hours long and I paid the remaining balance owing after my deposit was applied to the total, plus tip. In retrospect, my $81 tip almost seems too low, because it’s only 18% of the $450 total I paid that day, not the whole bill!

6-week touch-up appointment $0. The touch-up appointment took 2 hours, but the cost was included in the full payment for my brows. However, future touch-ups will be done annually and cost approximately $250.

Total = $715.05

I don’t think I have to tell you how I saved up for it, but just in case there’s any doubt: I set up a goal in KOHO. I think I even mention it in my Koho review video on YouTube! Microblading was my first Koho goal ever, and saving a little bit every day is how I was able to come up with the $$$ painlessly in order to afford it!

RELATED: KOHO Review: Spend Less, Save More, Budget Better

The microblading process

The first appointment takes 3 hours, the first half of which is devoted to drawing your brows on. Seriously, over an hour was spent with the artist carefully drawing my brows, ensuring they were the right shape and symmetrical, and then asking if I was happy with them.

Be particular with your eyebrow shape. This is semi-permanent make-up! Since my brows weren’t going to wash off for years after this appointment, I was super specific with the length, width, and angle before the artist even begun the microblading process. That said, she drew them on so well (way better than I ever have!) that I didn’t have much to change.

Once your brows are drawn on to the shape that you like, the artist will apply a numbing cream and then begin microblading your eyebrows. It is painful, but I found less so than getting an actual tattoo. This is maybe because they don’t go as deep into the skin, and because of the numbing cream. It takes approximately 14-21 days for your brows to heal from the microblading procedure.

Microblading healing process day by day

Day 1-3. Your brows will look big, dark, and dramatic and sting a little if you frown. They heal with a hard dark scab made from tattoo ink and blood. Nice right? At this time your brows will probably look bigger and darker than you actually want them to, and you might be worried you overdid it. They will heal lighter and thinner than they look at this point. You’ll be given a petroleum jelly to put on 1-3 times per day and the only important thing is that you don’t get your brows wet.

Day 4-14. From around Day 4 onward, the scab will dry out and start to flake off, sometimes in fairly big chunks. These chunks might leave pale gaps in your brows, making them look patchy. When the scabs fall off, you brows underneath might look way too light or even like there’s no color at all, and you’ll start to worry that you didn’t go dark enough! You’re still supposed to apply the petroleum jelly and make sure not to get your brows wet. However, by Day 10 to 14, all the scabs will have fallen off and you’ll be good to wash your face normally again.

Day 14-21. Your brows will darken until the full color takes effect. At this point you’ll be able to know what they’re look like finished, and you can see if you want anything fixed at your 6-week touch-up appointment.

Random sidenote: I have oily skin which makes it quick to heal but also less likely to hang on to the tattoo pigment. I found the hairstrokes of my microbladed brows healed patchy and fade faste, but the rest of the brow that was darker and more filled in held up nicely. Thankfully, I knew the oily skin problem would be an issue going in, and is one of the reasons I went with the powdered ombré look in the first place. I love how hairstrokes look, but I knew my skin wouldn’t take them well and I was right!

The result? Yes, microblading is worth it

My eyebrows are perfect 100% of the time. They are actually better than I’ve ever drawn them on myself. I almost never bother to fill in my brows anymore. Honestly, the only time I do have to do anything to my brows is if I’m going out with a full-face of makeup and did not apply my foundation carefully enough so that it makes my brows look less sharp.

my natural brows before microblading

my fully-healed microbladed brows

Most people cannot tell I have my eyebrows microbladed, so they do not look unnatural in any way. In fact, the only people that guess I’ve had them done recognize it because they have theirs done too! The main telling sign I see is my natural eyebrow hair is blonde, whereas my microblading color I chose is more an ashy gray. However, I have found over time the difference between the two is less obvious and now, 6 months since I had my eyebrows done, it looks more natural than ever.

I LOVE my brows and will continue the upkeep even though it is a couple hundred dollars each year. Previously I was filling my brows with Anastasia DipBrow at $23 a pop, so at least I’m saving on that!

When did microblading start?

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