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Everything You Need to Know About Microblading

Microblading in the beauty salon
Kotovfot/Shutterstock

This semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo treatment promises to restore thin brows to full, natural-looking glory. But first-timers might be understandably intimidated: not only is it a tattoo, but it has “blading” in the name.

Your microblader should provide you with the information you need before your first appointment. Eyebrow trends change every few years, or so it can seem to those who’ve lived through more than one trend. Anyone old enough to remember the thin brows of the ‘90s and early 2000s might suffer from overplucked eyebrows that just won’t seem to grow back. Is microblading the answer?

We’re here to clear up your questions about microblading so you can decide if this treatment is the right way to get the brows you want. Read this before you book an appointment!

What is Microblading?

Microblading, as the name suggests, involves using a tiny blade to place ink just below the skin of the eyebrows. The result is tiny, hair-like tattooed strokes that will make your brows look thicker, but in a natural way.

The microblading tool looks like a pen, but with a small blade at the end that’s designed to scratch your skin just enough to make the ink stay in place. The blade is actually made of little needles that pierce your skin in hair-like lines. Although the ink penetrates your skin, it doesn’t go as deep as a conventional tattoo, so the results aren’t permanent. Microblading usually lasts about a year and a half to two years.

Microbladers work by hand to sculpt your brows into the right shape. They’ll customize the shape and color to complement your face best. The results always look slightly different, and good work takes a combination of skill and artistry. Some people have made a name for themselves on social media simply by posting their amazing microblading work.

Risks of Microblading

Microblading isn’t as risky as it might sound at first glance, but there are still a few potential risks you should know about before booking your first appointment.

  • Allergies: Microbladers should always use safe, medical-grade pigments. However, it’s still possible (although rare) for someone to have an allergic reaction to those pigments. It’s a good idea to test the pigment in a small area first to see how your skin reacts before moving forward.
  • Infection: Microblading must be done in sterile conditions to avoid a higher risk of infection. Some microbladers use single-use pens for added safety, while others sterilize their equipment for re-use. Make sure to book an appointment with someone who takes cleanliness seriously. You should leave your appointment with a list of rules for keeping your brows clean and infection-free—make sure to follow them carefully.
  • Imperfect Results: Since microblading is individualized and done by hand, there’s no guarantee that you’ll like the results. If you aren’t happy with your new look, it is possible to reverse the process. However, you could end up spending more than you’d bargained for if you need to erase the results and start over.

Is Microblading Right for You?

Microblading eyebrows workflow in a beauty salon
Lestertair/Shutterstock

With those risks in mind, is microblading right for you?

If you aren’t happy with your brows and want a solution that doesn’t involve daily cosmetics, the answer is yes. You can minimize the risks by carefully selecting the right provider for your new brows.

Microblading is no longer a new and untested treatment—chances are good you know someone who’s had it done. If you talk to a real person about their experience, you’ll feel much more confident about moving forward with microblading.

What to Do Before Your Appointment

Get your money’s worth and the brows of your dreams by following these steps to get the best results possible.

Do Your Research

Much like getting a tattoo, you’ll want to book your microblading appointment with someone whose work you like.

Once you’ve found some names of microbladers in your area, check their social media for pictures of their work. You’ll often notice patterns: one person might specialize in bold brows, while another may offer a more feathery, natural look. Find someone who creates brows that look like what you want.

Prep Your Budget

The more popular the microblader, the more they’ll usually charge. You can expect to pay from $500 to $1,500 for the procedure. Beware of super-cheap options: you don’t want to get this procedure from someone who’s inexperienced or who cuts corners.

Book a Consultation

Many of the top microbladers will have a consultation with you before the first appointment to make sure they’re a good fit for your brow goals.

A consultation helps ensure you’re hiring the right person for your brows. You can also bring pictures of brow shapes you like to this appointment, so the microblader knows the results you want.

Get Ready for Your Appointment

Your microblader should provide you with the information you need before your first appointment—but here are the preparation basics you should know.

For a week or two before the appointment, avoid plucking, exfoliating, direct sunlight, and anything else that will make the skin around your brows more sensitive. Stay away from blood thinners. Also, don’t exercise on the day of your appointment, and avoid alcohol, ibuprofen, and aspirin for a day or two leading up to it. You don’t want anything to make you bleed more than necessary.

Show up prepared for mild pain. Your microblader can numb the area some, but you’ll still feel a sharp, scratching sensation—and you’ll need to hold still during the process.

You should also learn the signs of infection before your appointment. That way, on the off chance that you get an infection, you can treat it before it becomes severe.

Follow Proper Post-Care

Your microblader will also let you know exactly what to do after your appointment. The main things are to keep the area clean and avoid disrupting the ink while the skin is healing.

Some microbladers recommend gently cleaning your brows right afterward with approved products. Others suggest that you avoid getting your eyebrows wet for at least a week. Follow their advice, and take care not to exfoliate the brow area while it’s healing. Use clean pillowcases to reduce the chance of infection.

You’ll need to avoid makeup and skincare products on your brows for at least one week. For hydration, you might use a small amount of coconut oil on the healing area. You should also stay out of direct sunlight, avoid steamy showers, and stop intense exercise for that week.

Understand the Results

The way your brows look will change as they heal. At first, the pigment may seem way too dark and intense, but don’t worry—it will even out in a few weeks!

Microbladers include a touch-up appointment in the cost of the procedure. At this appointment, they can add more ink where the first strokes didn’t entirely take. Your brows won’t be complete until this second appointment, so you might want to reserve judgment until after the touchup.

Love Your New Brows

The results of microblading will vary—but that’s the best part. You’re getting a customized procedure with the right shape and color to enhance the brows you already have.

If you book with an experienced and skilled microblader, the chances are good that you’ll love the results. Microblading lets people with all brow shapes get a thick, full brow look without applying makeup, making it one of the hottest beauty procedures of the moment for a good reason.

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a Seattle-based writer and editor with a Master's in Writing Studies from Saint Joseph's University. Her work has appeared in publications like Racked, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and Rum Punch Press. She was awarded a 2017 Writing Between the Vines residency.  Read Full Bio »

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