Eyebrow trends are constantly changing and have been for centuries. Just look back at the Egyptians and the black arches they painted over their darkly-lined eyes. In recent years, however, eyebrows have evolved from bold and perfectly manicured to softer, more natural “boy” brows. What is not changing is the fact that big brows, manicured or not, seem to be here to stay (at least for the immediate future). This could be bad news for those of us who partook in the “hockey stick” brow trend that dominated the 90’s and early 2000’s. If you tweezed your brows to the point of no return and, after a decade, are still having trouble growing them back, there’s good news for you. This news is also good if you suffer from naturally sparse brows, uneven brows, or even no brows at all. It’s called Microblading and you’ve probably heard of it through various magazines and social media platforms…. but what is it? Is it a tattoo? Does it hurt? Is it permanent? I’m here to give you the low-down on all of the above.
I will preface the description of Microblading by first telling you it is not a normal tattoo. Can you recall the eyebrow tattoo’s people use to get? You know, those awful, artificial-looking arches above the eyes that faded into hideous shades of blueish gray? Microblading is absolutely not that. Traditional tattoos penetrate into deeper layers of the skin. This causes the tattoo pigment to be altered over time as skin undergoes its natural shedding process. Traditional eyebrow tattooing also uses shading techniques that far from mimic the natural strokes and arches of the brows.
Microblading is a form of semi-permanent tattoo that not only is completely natural looking but also addresses the problems of its more permanent, highly flawed predecessor. Using a small, sharp blade, microblading does not penetrate as deep as a normal tattoo. By keeping the pigment in the more superficial layers of skin, it will not fade into different, unnatural tones over time.
The first step to microblading is to create the desired brow shape by making an outline with a makeup pencil. The right brow shape is highly personal, but there are shapes known to suit certain facial structures best. Long faces, for example, are typically complimented by straighter brows whereas square and heart-shaped faces benefit from more of an arch. An expert can help you choose a shape that best suits your face. In addition, none of our faces are perfectly symmetrical. If your eyebrows are contributing to this asymmetry, microblading can create more symmetry in the brows. A good outline drawn by a skilled hand and trained eye can correct uneven arches as well as uneven starting and end points of the brow.
After the outline is approved, numbing is applied in order to stay comfortable throughout the treatment. Once numb, the procedure is quick, taking no more than 30 minutes! The practitioner dips a finely bladed pen into a pigment (or combination of pigments) chosen to suit your natural brow color. The pen is then used to create fine strokes within the brow outline that remarkably mimic natural hair. These strokes are made in specific patterns at very precise angles to give a completely natural effect. The end result is often so natural it is hard to tell you have had anything done at all. When done correctly, it even looks completely natural on people who started with no brows.
So, 30 minutes, dream brows, and fuss free mornings that don’t require brow pencils, pigments, and powders. It sounds amazing, right? However, microblading does have some downsides. For one, it is not permanent. Typically, microblading only lasts 1-2 years and then will have to be redone in order to keep your results. To fully maintain the look, touch-ups should be performed every 6-8 months at a lower cost than your initial session. There is unfortunately not yet a way to implant pigment deeper into the skin for a more permanent effect without risking it losing its color and sharpness over time. Secondly, microblading is quite costly! Since this is a new trend, the cost is high and rightfully so. Microblading is a form of art that requires intensive training and practice for practitioners to be able to perform it. So, if the permanence of microblading is short and cost is high, is it worth it? In my opinion, absolutely. Eyebrows are a pivotal point on your face. Although pricey, this simple treatment can completely transform your look and boost your confidence for over one year. The lack of complete permanence also allows you to keep up with latest brow trends, because we know they are ever-changing. If I have convinced you, let me tell you what you need to consider before undergoing the treatment.
Be sure to find a highly trained practitioner. Since this is a fairly new trend, many practitioners of the art are still inexperienced. Once you have done your research and found someone you are comfortable with, be strict and thorough about exactly what you want. You can ask the practitioner for advice, but it is ultimately you who has to approve the outline so make sure it is something you will be happy with for at least one year. If you are taking retinol, stop one week prior to treatment. Also avoid any medication that will thin your blood such as aspirin. Ultimately, after the procedure, your brows will look amazing right away. However, there is some downtime of redness and scabbing due the invasiveness of the process. This should resolve within a week but be sure to limit the amount of sweating during healing time to hasten the process and achieve the best results (ie: don’t plan a hike or intensive exercise, especially in the 2 days after treatment). Lastly, enjoy it! This is a simply amazing innovation in the world of beauty that is being enjoyed all around the world…and should be enjoyed by you, too!
Dr. Kiran Sethi’s instagram handle is @drkiransays and her website is www.isyaderm.com