By now, you've probably heard of microblading. Yeah, that thing where you pay someone to "tattoo" your eyebrows on.
Naturally, there are a hefty amount of misconceptions about it. And because I'm proudly extra AF, I had it done to show you what's it's really like.
Buckle up, folks. It's time to educate yourselves.
1. You can't get your eyebrows microbladed by just anyone. Finding the right salon takes research.
Thankfully, I live in New York City, where I had several top-notch salons to choose from. While searching for the right salon, I made sure to only consider places that had plentiful photos of their facilities, real before and after photos, good reviews on social media, and detailed descriptions of the microblading procedure and aftercare.
The detailed work from Evertrue Microblading Salon in the Flatiron District of Manhattan instantly caught my eye, so I reached out to them in the hopes that they'd take my eyebrows to the next level. They graciously agreed.
2. If you don't have a salon in your area, finding a qualified specialist will take a little more vetting.
Evertrue's own Ramon Padilla says if you don't live in or near NYC or LA, you might have better luck searching for specialists and salons that offer "permanent makeup," a blanket term for microblading. Then you'll have to dig deep.
"It's important to really look at the specialist's work to gauge the level of experience," he says. "If they specialize in microblading, that's even better as opposed to someone who does waxing, lashes, and facials in addition to microblading. It takes hundreds of hours of experience to be able to deliver acceptable results."
3. Fair warning: This process is NOT cheap — and that's the way it should be.
At certain salons — and at Evertrue — the price of microblading can depend on who does it for you. My specialist, Jenny Lei, charges $515, which is a pretty average price. Evertrue's master therapist, Michelle Wu, on the other hand, charges $915.
$500 is a LOT of money to drop at one time for your eyebrows. But microblading is a skill that requires professional training, pristine facilities, and a mass of specific supplies you don't normally find in an average salon. If you're going to get a semi-permanent tattoo on your face, you might as well ensure that it'll look good.
4. Once you think you've found The One, you need to book a consultation before you have anything done, for multiple reasons.
Mainly because this is when you'll discuss and choose the shape you want your eyebrows to take.
You can also check out the venue and your brow specialist firsthand. Put your specialist to the test by asking them not just to fill in your brows, but to draw both of them on stroke by stroke. "If they can't do this with a brow pencil, they won't be able to do it with the microblading tool — a huge red flag," Padilla says.
5. When it comes time for the real deal, your specialist will start by cleaning and filling in your eyebrows.
What Lei used on me (that red thing pictured above) was like a super sharp brow pencil that she used to draw each hair stroke-by-stoke once again, but some specialists will simply create an outline of your chosen brow shape.
6. Before the action happens, you'll have to let some numbing cream sit on your eyebrows for 20 minutes while your specialist mixes a ~custom~ eyebrow pigment for you.
This is the perfect time to whip out your phone and document how silly you think you look on the internet. While I did that during my session, Lei whipped up a custom pigment for me based on my natural hair color (which, yes, is the dark brown you see here).
If your hair is dyed, they should be able to create any natural-looking color you desire, though. Just be aware that you will have that color for a long time.
7. This pigment, by the way, is NOT permanent ink. And despite the similarities, microblading is not the same as eyebrow tattooing.
Tattoos are created with ink, which has a thin consistency that permeates skin at a deeper level, which causes their permanence.
Microblading is done with a specially formulated pigment that has a thicker consistency than tattoo ink. It doesn't penetrate the skin as deeply — that's why microblading is only semi-permanent. Pigments are only designed to last for up to two years. That way, you can make changes as you see fit.
8. The blade used is made up of several blades that are so small they're barely visible on camera.
And the (sterile, brand new) blade is attached to a simple handheld tool that looks just like a pen or pencil — as compared to tattooing, during which an artist attaches a needle to a vibrating tattoo machine.
This super specific tool is the reason microblading specialists are able to draw such realistic-looking hairs, whereas a tattoo artist could not.
9. And thanks to that numbing cream, you barely feel the scratching of the blade. At least, at first.
I was expecting sharp pain, but I honestly could have napped through this procedure. I am a person with a high pain tolerance and a collection of large tattoos, though, so take what I say here with a grain of salt if you're sensitive to pain.
The sensation is difficult to describe, but the strokes of Lei's blade across my skin felt less like needles and more like a sharp spoolie combing through my eyebrows. There was not a singular moment for me in which I winced at a particularly painful swipe.
10. The procedure can take up to two hours, and you will definitely start to feel a sting by the end of it.
The more sparse your brows, the longer — and potentially the more painful — your procedure will be. Mine did not take the allotted two hours, because my eyebrows were relatively thick on their own.
While the dull sensation of the blade itself stayed consistent throughout, I did start to notice my forehead began to sting lightly towards the end of my session. Regardless, I still found all of it tolerable.
11. They're the darkest and sorest they'll ever be immediately after they're finished.
I've heard horror stories about how dark and intense microbladed brows can be, but they don't stay that way for long. Personally, I loved how bold mine looked immediately afterward.
My forehead, on the other hand, was not a fan. Immediately afterward and in the two days following the procedure, the skin around my brow felt tight, and making any sort of facial expression was uncomfortable. Sneezing straight-up hurt.
12. To be blunt, this will all go to waste if you don't take care of them properly afterward.
Much like a tattoo, microbladed eyebrows require aftercare, and it's super important if you want to make sure your pigment doesn't fade prematurely. They take two weeks to heal completely, and for the the first week, you can't get them wet or sweaty, wear makeup on or around them, or expose them to too much direct sunlight.
Evertrue offers a "perfecting session" up to eight weeks after the procedure in which clients can ask for adjustments to their shape and color post-healing. Check in with your specialist to see if this is something they offer, too.
13. But no matter what you do, the tattoo WILL peel and lighten during the healing process, which is admittedly irritating.
Also, like a tattoo, microbladed eyebrows peel away during the healing process to reveal a color that's a bit lighter underneath. Mine started peeling six days after my procedure, when this photo was taken, and during the three days they peeled they were VERY itchy. I'm proud of myself for not scratching them right off.
Once they peel, they return to feeling normal. The pigment will start to disperse and the brows will start to look a lot more like they would if they were filled in with a regular brow pencil, as opposed to them having very dark, fine lines.
14. You can get them touched up, but the price depends heavily on when you choose to do so.
One microblading treatment alone might be expensive, but staying dedicated to microbladed brows takes a big, steady budget. At Evertrue, a touchup with Lei would cost $215 if I scheduled within six months of my first treatment. If I went in six to 12 months after my first treatment, however, it would cost $415.
15. Results can last approximately two years.
How long they'll last without regular touchup depends on your lifestyle and your skin type. The pigment fades faster if you swim or are in the sun frequently, or if your skin is on the oilier side.
But, TRUST ME, if you fill in your brows every day like I did, it saves you a hell of of a lot of time. Worth it (at least, for me it was).
Would you shell out big bucks on microblading?
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