We’ve all dreamed of it: waking up every morning with full, perfectly shaped, Jessica Alba eyebrows—no pencil, pomade or powder necessary. Well, for a cool $700 to $900, this dream can come true!
Microblading is the answer. Also known as “microstroking,” this increasingly popular procedure is a form of semi-permanent cosmetic tattooing. But WAIT — we’re not talking about the obvious stamped-on look that Pamela Anderson and Angelina Jolie rocked in the ’90s. No, no—microblading creates gloriously natural-looking brows for those who just weren’t born with them or for serial over-tweezers in need of a little reconstruction.
Certified specialists use a handheld microblading pen with tiny blades to draw individual hairs that look just like brow hairs. The blades deposit pigment under the skin, et voila—the best brows of your life, sans any makeup magic. Take a quick scroll through #microblading on Instagram to peep the impressive results (but don’t get put off by random scary photos that happen to include the hashtag… be selective).
Understandably, anything you put on your face you can’t wipe off with makeup remover might make you anxious. The best way to approach microblading is to understand exactly what happens so you walk in informed and confident. Here’s what you need to know.
Who to Trust to Microblade Your Brows
The process is meticulous, as should be expected when it comes to transforming your face—not to mention letting a sharp object so close to your eyes. That’s why seeking out an experienced specialist is a must. This is not the time to put your blind faith into a beauty-school noob for a 50% discount; look for an artist who comes highly recommended by people you know.
For lucky Angelenos and New Yorkers, Audrey Glass is ace trained and certified by Shaughnessy Keely. Glass’ services are so coveted that you can only book appointments on a designated day each month for about two months ahead.
Microblading isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so artists with a permanent-makeup license through their state’s board of cosmetology and/or a tattoo license, as well as certification from the Society of Permanent Cosmetics Professionals or the American Academy of Micropigmentation are safer bets, too. But always, always look for a good portfolio with photos of healed results before you take the plunge with any artist.
How to Prepare Before Your First Microblading Appointment
Once you’ve booked your first appointment, lay off using retinol products and taking blood thinners like aspirin or alcohol for a few days since these can all exacerbate bleeding. While you’re at it, use your best judgment and avoid anything that sensitizes your skin, like a chemical peel or even using a cleanser with exfoliating ingredients. If you’re unsure, ask your artist! This is not a time you want to take a guess and trust only Google.
What Actually Happens During the Microblading Procedure
The appointment starts with the artist evaluating everything from your facial shape, bone structure and eyebrow hair pattern to your skin type in order to craft your ideal brow look, including custom colors that’ll look natural and add dimension.
The artist then draws in the hairs with a removable pencil so you can approve of the shape and volume.
Next up, they may apply a topical numbing cream and a liquid anesthetic to the brow area before starting to semi-permanently “tattoo” in the faux fringe with the microblading pen. Don’t sweat this part—many who’ve braved microblading claim it’s not actually painful, attributing the sensation to little scratches. Worth it for beautiful, low-maintenance brows, no?
Afterwards, your brow area might be a little red and swollen, but generally, you should be selfie-ready right away. The brows may look a little bold at first, which some people are all about; but for those who prefer subtlety, the color fades a bit within a few days. A follow-up appointment after six to eight weeks is recommended—the artist can work with you then if you do want even darker, more dramatic brows.
What to Do After Microblading
In the meantime, take a few precautions as your skin heals. For the first few days, you’ve gotta shield your brows from moisture, oils, cleansers, and sun exposure to let the pigment set. That means keeping your sweaty workouts to a minimum, avoiding applying anything (including makeup) to the area other than a little bit of lukewarm water to rinse, and wearing big sunglasses or hats.
Absolutely do not pick or scratch at any dry skin or flakes; just let them fall off naturally. The artist can offer you a special ointment to aid the healing process. Once a fresh layer of skin forms, your faux brow hairs may look like they’ve disappeared—don’t panic. They’ll reappear in all their glory within one to two weeks.
Let’s Talk Investment: What It Will Cost You in Cash and Time
Not gonna lie—microblading ain’t cheap. It can cost upwards of $700 for the first treatment, and $150 for the follow-up. Yearly touch-ups will also cost you around $250 a pop, but they’ll keep your brows on fleek for a lifetime of #IWokeUpLikeThis selfies.
Your first appointment will last around 60 to 90 minutes. About four to six weeks after, you’ll go in for a follow-up (so don’t plan a vacation then!). The second appointment should take around 30 to 60 minutes. Finally, after that, your new amazing arches will last between a year or two, in some cases even longer. That’s a wide range, I know, but it really depends on the person’s unique physiology and skincare habits.
So, would you try microblading? Or will you be sticking to your tried-and-true Boy Brow?