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If you’ve spend any time on Instagram lately, then you’ve been hearing a lot about microblading. But what exactly is it? And more important, do you NEED it?
Spoiler Alert: If you have wimpy eyebrows, you absolutely do.
My eyebrows were as weak as they come; two lil’ sad sideways commas from years of over-plucking (thanks 90’s). So when I started hearing the microblading buzz last year, I couldn’t jump on board fast enough.
Essentially, microblading is semi-permanent tattooing. But rather than the jackhammer motion of an electric tattoo gun, this is a manual process using a tool that looks like a row of tiny X-acto tips. The tool is dipped in pigment, then pulled through the skin to draw “hairs.”
So, I know what you’re thinking “Tattooing your FACE?” Because I thought the same thing initially. But if you pick an artist who’s skilled, you’ll be in good hands.
I placed my brows in the good hands of Narin Khy-Ly at Shaped Microblading (2018 update: now closed), who was recommended highly by a friend. But I’ll also admit, though my brows were comped for this article, I was pleased that she’s a bit more affordable than the prices I was researching. At this time her appointments are $400 including your first touch-up. I’ve seen them upwards of $900 with other Los Angeles area artists.
After drawing the outline of my soon-to-be brows (some freehand, some with the aid of a measuring device), having me ok the design, and choosing the proper shade, she got started.
And this is where I’d like to tell you some microblading truths…
1. It doesn’t hurt that much. But listen, it’s no picnic.
If anyone tells you this doesn’t hurt at all, they’re totally lying (or superhuman.) I mean, there’s teeny blades involved! Some people compare the feeling to a cat scratch, but repeated cat scratches. So yeah, ouch. But they’ll numb your brows with a topical anesthetic, so that helps a lot. And the actual procedure only lasts about 30 minutes, so you can totally do it.
You’ll leave the appointment amazed. I did! I couldn’t believe I had brows again. But…
2. They’re going to get darker within 24 hours of your appointment.
That shade that looked totally natural in the salon is going to get way darker. Honestly, you’re probably going to freak out a little. I call this The Groucho Marx stage (look it up, kids). But please know, this is totally normal. As they heal and the pigment settles, they lighten by up to 40% within 10 days.
Bonus Truth: You’re going to be really happy if you have bangs.
3. You can’t wet your brows for 7-10 days afterwards.
I know, that’s a tough. Believe me, I know. And during this healing time, they’re also going to scab a bit too. You’re going to dream about taking a wet washcloth to them. But don’t. Seriously. No working out. Showering is tricky. Here’s a tip: Invest in a terry cloth headband to wear around your hairline to catch drips. Dry shampoo is also going to be very handy. But the last thing you want to do is pull out any of the pigment while they’re healing.
4. It’s a two-part process, no exceptions if you want good results.
Your touch up appointment is recommended between 6-8 weeks later and you absolutely need it. During this second appointment your artist will add more strokes to even the brows, fill in any spots and retouch any areas that faded. Consider it the fine tuning.
5. Microblading doesn’t last forever.
The pigment isn’t going as deep as a traditional tattoo, so don’t expect the same kind of forever results. Not to mention the beating brows take through sun exposure, facials and treatments. Typical microblading lasts 1 -2 years. Narin recommends a touch up once a year to keep them looking fresh. If you have oily skin, you’ll probably be at the lower end of the range (but then, your skin doesn’t wrinkle as fast either, so you’ve got that.)
The joy of having brows again is REAL. I still use products to shape and define them a bit, but we’re talking 15 seconds of application versus 3 minutes or more.