At this point I think we all know that having good eyebrows is one of the best things you can do for your overall look. Having groomed, filled in eyebrows can help make you look more polished, younger, and can really frame and transform your face. Because of this need for great brows microblading has emerged as a semi-permanent solution to help you say “I woke up like this.” Tattooed eyebrows used to look like a faded sharpie, but we’ve come a long way since then with microblading looking much more natural.
I have been absolutely loving my brows now that I’m getting them threaded ($7) and tinted ($20) at Aruna’s Threading Salon in Hollywood, but I have to go back every 2-3 weeks and the tint lasts maybe 1-2 weeks so microblading may be in my future…
What is Microblading?
Microblading is a cosmetic tattooing procedure that is used to fill in the eyebrows. It is semi-permanent and will fade over time. Microblading is supposed to look like tiny, hair-like strokes in order to look more natural than tattooed eyebrows used to look. It can help you look “naturally” more put together and can speed up your makeup routine eliminating the need for filling in your brows daily. It is also referred to as 3D or feather stroke brows.
The tool used has 7 needles on the end. The needles or prongs are dipped into the color pigment, and a manual tool (or machine) is pushed into the skin to deposit the pigment into the epidermis.
Who is a good candidate?
- People with no brows at all, people with very sparse brows, people with uneven brows, people with a hole in their eyebrows. If you put makeup in your eyebrows or like how they look filled in, you’re probably a candidate.
- Pregnant, nursing, and diabetic clients should all avoid microblading.
How can you prep for your microblading appointment?
- Avoid plucking or waxing for a week or two. Avoid exfoliating 72 hours before application and that includes using skincare that contains glycolic acid, Retin A, Renova, AHAs, etc because they can inflame the skin.
- Don’t take blood thinners (if possible) for 24 hours prior to your appointment. This includes aspirin and alcohol.
- If you plan on going on vacation it’s recommended you plan your trip at least 14 days after the procedure.
What’s the procedure like?
- You’ll want to bring in pictures of yourself on a good brow day or eyebrows you like to show your eyebrow specialist. Expect some serious measuring, marking, and calculating to begin with. They may have you fill in your eyebrows to show them how you like them to look. Now is not the time to get shy, make sure you speak up and tell them exactly what you’re looking for or if something they’re suggesting is not looking like what you had in mind (this is semi permanent after all!)
- Next they will numb your brows with cream. The cream takes about 25 minutes to work.
- They will also be choosing a color so think about what color you want your brows to be and speak up if the color they choose doesn’t look like a good match. You may want a patch test done on the skin to show the color.
- During the procedure you can hear the needle/blade scraping or scratching. If this weirds you out you might want to bring earbuds.
- After all of the microblading they will put the pigment all over your brows way outside of the lines and will be left on for a little bit to soak in to intensify the pigment a little bit.
How much does it cost?
About $400-$1000+ with an average cost of about $500 which includes one session + 1 touch up session.
How long does it last?
- 6 months-5 years. On average 1-2 years. Count on having your brows touched up at least once a year. It depends on how your skin holds onto ink.
- The color is also a contributing factor with blonde fading faster than dark brown.
- Excessively oily skin, larger pores, thicker skin and eyebrow keratosis can affect the absorption of the pigment too.
- Normal tattoos deposit pigment deep into the dermis layer of the skin while microblading only deposits the pigment into the epidermis which is why it does not last as long.
- The good part about microblading not being permanent is you probably will not want the same eyebrow shape and color forever.
Does it hurt?
Yes, yes it does. You’ll likely be given a lidocaine or benzocaine numbing cream and can always ask for more. Everyone’s pain threshold is different so I say go in assuming it will hurt, but you will survive and emerge with eyebrows that are worth the pain. The day after it will feel like a bad sunburn.
What will it look like immediately after?
The pigment will be very dark for the first week or so and you might want to wear other makeup on the rest of your face so it will look more balanced. Your eyebrows will also look bigger than they will end up being and more defined or sharp.
What’s the aftercare like?
- Swelling and redness can last up to 3 days, but shouldn’t look worse than a sunburn so you should still be able to leave your house.
- A sealant may be put on your brows at the end of the procedure to help avoid getting the brows wet for the first 3 days.
- You can shower and bathe normally, but want to avoid putting soap directly on the brows. Be sure to wash your hands before touching the area (and try not to touch it at all) to prevent spreading any bacteria.
- Avoid swimming, exercising (or any excessive sweating), and direct sunlight for at least 10 days.
- A few days after there is a flaking/itching/scabbing phase which you have to really try not to touch even though it will look like your eyebrows have dandruff. Do not scratch or pick them!
- One recommended method to heal is dry healing which means don’t put any moisturizer on them. This is because the moisturizer can cause the pigment to bleed and the tattooed “hairs” will look less defined. Other specialists may recommend putting a special jelly on the brows or Aquaphor.
- Don’t apply any makeup to the tattooed area for the first 2 weeks.
- After the flaking/itching stage, your brows will start to look patchy and the color will look uneven, but a week or so later the color of the ink will re-appear and look even again.
- It takes 4-8 weeks to fully heal (it will look healed on the surface sooner) and that’s when you’ll see the true color of the brows, which is why a complimentary touch-up is usually included in the initial price and recommended anywhere between 4-12 weeks later.
- Expect it to take at least 2, and sometimes 3 or 4 sittings to get your brows perfect.
How can you take care of your micro bladed brows?
- Avoid the sun. You all know how I feel about SPF so you should already be doing this! Sun exposure makes the pigment fade faster.
- Exfoliation and especially chemical peels can make your eyebrows fade more quickly as can laser treatments. Avoid putting any kind of exfoliating acid (i.e. glycolic acid, Retin A, Renova, alpha hydroxy acids) in that area.
- Iron deficiency can also make them fade more quickly so if you’re anemic make sure you take an iron supplement and/or eat lentils, beans, leafy veggies, pistachios, tofu, and fortified breads or cereals especially if you are vegetarian or vegan.
Do you still have to fill in your eyebrows?
You don’t HAVE to, but microblading is supposed to look like individual hairs. Most people when filling in their brows fill them in to look somewhat solid with maybe hair-like strokes in the front portion of the brow, so if you want that more solid look then yes you will fill them in, but it will be much faster and easier.
Microblading in LA
Here’s a list of people I found that do microblading in the LA area who have good before and after photos. Be sure to do lots of research, see lots of examples of the artist’s work, and read some reviews before choosing who is going to tattoo on your brows!
Crispy Brows/Roxanne Crisp
KD Brows/Katya Dmitrenco