If your eyes are the windows to your soul, rest assured your look is not complete without some pretty cute curtains. We’re living in the age of no-makeup makeup and natural-looking hair color, which means more focus than ever is on your eyebrows.
For those of us not naturally blessed with oversize Instagram brows, it takes a little more effort to create the look of fluffy, sculpted (but not too sculpted) eyebrows—which is why a little technique like eyebrow microblading—not to be mistaken for eyebrow threading—is so popular on dark brown or ash blonde brows.
Curious about whether or not this inky technique is right for you? Keep reading, my friend. This is how you get brows most people only dream about.
What is eyebrow microblading?
For all the details about the eyebrow microblading process, we turned to an expert: Lucy Masu of New York City’s SIX+AIT Microblading. Before you start worrying about knives and tattoos, you should know the basics.
“Microblading is an advanced manual brow technique that uses a superfine row of needles to deposit cosmetic pigments into the upper dermis of the skin to create thin, hair-like strokes,” Masu explains.
Executed over a period of two to three hours and subsequent touch-up appointments, microblading should leave you with perfectly customized brows.
If you’ve ever gotten a tattoo or a piercing, the microblading consultation process will probably feel familiar. After photographing and sanitizing your brow area, your technician will use a brow symmetry app to map out the outline of your future brow on your skin with removable pigment. Once you’ve had a chance to take a good long look in the mirror, he or she will start by photographing the brow design, applying a numbing cream, and starting in with the pigment. Just like any cosmetic procedure, you should expect an aftercare routine that’s important to follow.
Does eyebrow microblading hurt?
Here’s one for the needle-shy: No, you will not feel it when your eyebrows are being microbladed thanks to a topical numbing cream that’s applied before your procedure. Masu points out that each individual’s experience is unique, however.
“Most clients describe the pain level as minimal and voiced that tweezing and threading is more uncomfortable in comparison...however pain tolerance varies from client to client,” she explains.
While you may not be wincing in pain, it’s not unusual to feel like you hear a strange scraping noise. Because your tech is scratching the surface of your skin, Masu compares the resulting sound to “when you open two pieces of velcro that are stuck together.”
Is eyebrow microblading permanent?
Unlike tattooed eyebrows, microbladed brows will fade dramatically over time. The speed at which they do so depends on factors like your skin type and how long you’ve been getting them microbladed. Interestingly, Masu points out that the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals considers the procedure “permanent,” based on the fact that the speed at which it fades can dramatically differ from person and pigment may linger. Many people appreciate this aspect of the process because it means you can continuously be tweaking the shape and color of your brows. Whether the trend is full and bodacious or tiny and plucked, you’ll be able to adapt to the changing times—unlike your aunt with the tattooed comma eyebrows.
While you may be in for repeat appointments, microblading can ultimately be time-saving if you’re someone who painstakingly pencils in nearly invisible brows every morning. Wouldn’t you rather just hit snooze?
How long do microbladed eyebrows last?
All good things in life fade eventually—or, in the case of microbladed eyebrows, in about a year. Masu points out that introductory microblading sessions are generally sold in packs of two appointments for this very reason.
“Good things come to those that are patient,” the pro explains. “Touch-ups are also normal and expected. We recommend follow-up appointments at six to eight weeks so we can assess and make any changes necessary to our client’s new brows.”
If the healing process was more difficult than you liked or there was something not quite right about your brow shape, touch-up appointments are the perfect opportunity to discuss it with your technician. Once this appointment is over, the average eyebrows will need another touch-up in about a year.
Can you wash your face after eyebrow microblading?
While you’re healing, it’s essential to follow the aftercare instructions provided by your tech. The better care you take of your new eyebrows, the better they’ll look. You can wash your face one hour after the procedure, but follow Masu’s steps to do it the smartest way.
“Rinse very gently with a neutral PH unscented soap—Cetaphil—and warm water,” Masu explains. “Dab the area dry with a clean cotton pad and reapply a very thin layer of the aftercare cream.”
Once you’ve done your initial rinse, back away from the faucet. On days one through three, you’ll repeat this process; days four through ten, stop using the unscented soap on your brows. After that, return to your regularly scheduled skincare routine.
How long does it take for eyebrow microblading to heal?
When it comes to healing your newly microbladed eyebrows, expect to dedicate about 30 days to the process—but only the first ten require a particular process. After that, you’ll just need to avoid common-sense triggers like tanning beds, chemical peels, and antibiotics while your brows settle in for the long haul.
As an added note, don’t panic if it seems like you suddenly have black eyebrows even though you wanted light brown. Masu notes that there will be dramatic fading in the days right after your appointment.
What should you not do before eyebrow microblading?
If you’re interested in microblading, it’s important to make sure you’re a candidate before heading in. Masu discourages people prone to hyperpigmentation and rosacea around the brows from microblading, as well as those undergoing chemotherapy or experiencing a breakout of any skin condition.
“Sincemicroblading punctures the skin with tiny needles, we cannot work with clients with these conditions,” she says.
Thinking of getting facial filler touched up before your microblading appointment? Think again. Get the microblading first, or wait three weeks before scheduling an eyebrow appointment.
Additionally, if you have very oily skin or large pores, microblading may not be a fit for you.
“Those with very oily skin and large pores are not good candidates for microblading,” Masu says. “The strokes will heal powdery and blurry oftentimes with lack of consistency.”
When in doubt, just ask. The best microbladed eyebrows a product of open communication—yes, that means being totally honest about the years your spent plucking your brows to death—and honesty. Enjoy those newly fluffy brows, because you’ve earned them.