This was my first reaction when I was first approached about having my brows microbladed…anything that has the word “blade” in it immediately freaked me out, so I was more than a little weary when I started researching this new phenomenon called ‘microblading’. And then when someone described it as “tattooed eyebrows”, I looked at them like they were crazy…but the more I educated myself on this strange beauty technique, the more I was intrigued. Let me explain…
What IS eyebrow microblading?
In lamest terms, microblading is a technique in which precise, tiny, individual incisions with a manual hand-tool resembling a pen are made in and around your eyebrow to give you a fuller, more defined shape. These incisions are then covered with a layer of pigment which absorbs into the skin and gives you the appearance of a real, eyebrow hair! This is a great option for those who want a more defined arc, fuller overall shape, or a natural fill from over plucking. The goal of microblading is to provide a NATURAL eyebrow appearance, so you won’t have to worry about looking too ‘made up’ all the time.
I’ll walk you through the process…
Before you even walk into your appointment, keep the following in mind to ensure your brows come out as great as possible:
- Do not work out the day of the procedure
- Do not tan or have a sunburned face
- Do not take Aspirin, Niacin, Vitamin E or Ibuprofen 24 hours before
- No alcohol or caffeine on the day (this thins your blood and makes you bleed easier!)
- No waxing or tinting 3 days before
- You cannot be pregnant or nursing
^These are my natural brows (I apologize for the SUPER close up of my face, but I wanted to show the details of my real brows versus the ‘fake’ ones because it’s so impressive!). I’ve never had thick brows and barely ever wax or pluck them, so this is what I got. I was approached by a Bay Area microbladist (not sure that’s the term) who owns her own business called Brows by Betsey (@brows.by.betsey). Betsey Nguyen has been in cosmetology for years and recently switched to specialize in microblading; having trained under one of the best, Betsey explained that when choosing your technician, be sure they have at least a full week of training in this field and that they measure twice, cut once (ha!) when doing your brows.
The first step of this process is determining your desired brow shape. I let Betsey map out the shape of my face and current brow line, and then determine the shape and arch that would be best for my face. This step is VERY important and should take quite a bit of time. Betsey was very meticulous in this mapping stage and made sure that the shape would be even, symmetrical and work nicely with my current brows.
Once the shape is determined, Betsey then gave me 3 different color options. I’ve always had relatively light brows, so I decided on ‘Hazelnut’ as my brow color (‘Cappuccino’ was a close second!). I was a little nervous about the color matching since blonde hair is always a struggle to get right, but Betsey knew how the color would look once absorbed into my skin and directed me to the perfect match. She then applied a topical anesthetic to numb my brow area and reduce any discomfort when the ‘blading’ begins.
Next comes the actual ‘microblading’ portion. Betsey first applied a topical anesthetic to my brows which numbed the surface of my skin. She then started with the outline of my brows in which she used a hand tool (a #12 needle for all of you educated on the topic). Since my skin was numb at this point, the sensation felt like someone drawing small lines across my brow with a butter knife; I could feel the pressure, but it didn’t feel like something was penetrating my skin. Once she finished with the outline of my brow, she swept on a layer of color to sit and ‘soak’ for a couple minutes. Betsey then repeated this process with the inside/fill of my brow.
Does it hurt??
This is one of the most frequent questions I get asked! My overall answer is no, but everyone reacts differently to the topical anesthetic and has different pain tolerances, so this may not be everyone’s experience. With the topical treatment that made my brows very numb, the sensation that there were tiny incisions was there, but I didn’t have much pain. The only discomfort came at the very end of the process after my brows had been worked on for a while and the topical anesthetic was wearing off a bit…my brows felt almost hot in a dull, stinging way but there was very little real pain. Probably the worst part (much like being at the dentist) is the scraping sound the pen makes when making the small incisions; if this bothers you, simply put in some headphones!
Since this process is very similar to getting a tattoo, there are a few ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to ensure your brows recover properly. First, you should not get them wet or apply any creams or lotions for 10 days. When taking a shower, tape a little piece of plastic wrap over your brows to protect them from water (this looks silly but do it!). You should also avoid being in the sun for too long as not to disturb the color as it sets properly into your skin.
Remember as well that you basically just got tons of teeny, tiny cuts on your face…you’re going to scab! By the morning after the procedure, my brows were already starting to scab which made them look quite a bit darker than the day before. Don’t be alarmed by this! Within 3 days, the incisions will have healed, the scabs will begin to disappear, and your new brow color will be visible.
- No water, cleansers, creams, or make up for 10 days
- Do NOT rub, pick or scratch-this may cause scarring
- Avoid direct sun for 3-4 weeks afterwards
- Avoid heavy sweating for 10 days
- No facials, botox, chemical treatments and microdermabrasion for 4 weeks afterwards
- Avoid sleeping on your face for the first 10 days
So that’s it! The entire process took about 3 hours (and you WANT it to take long because it means your technician is being careful, meticulous and working slowly to get your brows right) and now I have perfectly plump brows. What I love about this procedure is that is looks completely natural and cuts down your make up time for those who are lazy like I am. It is recommended to get a touch up 1-3 months after the initial procedure to fill in any gaps and reinforce your shape; I have my follow up in an few weeks and will keep you guys updated with the final-final results!
My gal Betsey Nguyen is located in San Jose and books up quickly so be sure to get an appointment in the books if you’re interested! You can check out her other work on Instagram (@brows.by.betsey) and make an appointment via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feel free to ask any questions by commenting or email me at email@example.com! Happy to answer any!