It seems like there’s a new beauty treatment promising youth every week: creams, lasers and minimally invasive surgery…which is still surgery. Those treatments can be impossible for clients with sensitive skin or those looking to fit a certain budget. And don’t get me started on botched procedures.
If you’ve never heard of microblading eyebrows, pay attention. We got tips from an expert who can tell you what proper microblading should look like.
What is microblading?
It’s 2018, and it’s all about eyebrows. I’m talking Brooke Shields, thick, beautiful eyebrows. Many women spend more than 10 minutes filling in their brows with pencil and powder to create the perfect shape without looking like the makeup is caked on, myself included. That’s until I met Casey from Suite Lovely in Dallas who saved me from this time consuming habit.
Let’s get one word out of the way: Tattoo. According to Casey, microblading eyebrows is not like a regular “brow tattoo.” The procedure and tools are very different.
“A regular brow tattoo creates a solid eyebrow shape,” Casey says. “The procedure itself differs from microblading. Regular brow tattoo uses a handpick tattoo machine which implants pigment into the skin deeper than microblading eyebrows does. The result often is unnatural looking.”
It’s cheaper, less painful and less recovery time than a face lift. What’s not to love?
Thin strokes are made with a microblade to mimic real hair. To create the stroke, microblading is done with a “pen” that has thin rows of needles that are not as deep as a regular tattoo. The result is a natural look, not a thick marker-like line.
“There are some artists that use the tattoo machine for microblading,” Casey says, “but traditionally, it is the non-machine way.
“A single application lasts around 12-18 months. The durability of this method depends on the quality of pigment, depth the blade enters the skin and the individual’s skin (oily skin may not last as long). When using an extremely fine, thin blade, the hair produced will look crisp. The ink will not smudge under the skin, making full and beautiful brows.”
Microblading eyebrows works fine with older women’s skin. The second “touch-up” session may need to be scheduled six to eight weeks—instead of four to six weeks—depending how you heal. Casey says this is because mature skin typically takes a little longer to renew.
“This does not apply to a certain range of age,” Casey explains. “but clients should be aware of medications that are blood thinners. This can cause excessive bleeding and dilution of pigment, which results in poor retention of pigment.”
How does it work?
Clients arrive with no makeup on, and Casey suggests washing your hair the night before. (You’re not supposed to get your brows wet for three days after the session, so washing your hair before can help keep your brows dry.)
For about thirty minutes, a light numbing cream sits on my brows making for some silly selfies. She wipes it away, and we’re ready to start shaping the brows.
Casey expertly measures what the shape of your brows should be according to your eye shape and size. Once she makes the outline and you approve it, she waxes off some stray hairs. Now to the good stuff.
The first several strokes feel more like a little sting because of the numbing cream. Honestly, I’ve had worse papercuts. She did warn me about the weird scraping noise it makes but it’s not that bad.
After the first round of strokes, she then generously applies a special pigment. This stings a little too, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. After wiping it away, we’re ready for round two of the strokes.
This round stung significantly more, but she’s very quick. Before I know it, we’re applying more ink. Finally, she does a third round of strokes and ink, perfecting the shape.
What to Expect
Looking in the mirror was shocking and amazing, like looking at yourself for the first time after a makeover. My eyebrows were evened out (something I didn’t even know was possible) and the shape was perfect. There was some redness and the strokes were very thick and dark—at first, but they gradually fade over the next few days. I could already see a significant improvement—I had the eyebrows of my dreams!
Because the pigment isn’t deep like a normal tattoo, there’s a natural fading period, but Casey warns all her clients that they might freak out at first. Personally, I loved how it looked right away but for some clients it can be intimidating. So keep in mind that it will fade!
Afterwards, there wasn’t much I had to do other than stay dry for three days and apply some healing ointment like A&D.
For about two days, my brows were itchy because of the healing skin. But after that, there was no scabbing; my skin came off in little flakes that resembled dandruff.
My eyebrows faded into a pretty, dark blonde over the next few weeks. My mom kept gushing about how natural it looked which was very important to her. Now in the mornings, I already feel like half my makeup is done. It has really boosted my confidence.
About six weeks later, I went back for my second session, following the same routine as the first time.
“Pigment can last up to two years, however it will lighten with time,” Casey says. “I suggest clients get an annual touch up to maintain color/hair strokes. Some clients get touched up as soon as six months after. Some I don’t see again until 18 months after. This varies because everyone’s skin, and how it holds pigment, is different.”
Advice and What to Avoid
Clients need to understand this microblading eyebrows process takes patience, from the initial session to healing and getting touch-ups.
“[The whole process] can take up to eight weeks,” she says. “Some skin retains pigment less than others, so a third round may be necessary. That can take an additional four to eight weeks. Some people expect instant results, but it doesn’t work that way. Clients need to have a real expectation; even a good [microblading] artist can do wonders, but they can’t make you look like Beyonce.”
Casey has seen plenty of botched microblading or tattooing. She can help some clients over time, but for others, there’s nothing she can do for them.
“Do your research before booking this procedure!” Casey stresses. “Make sure the pictures of microblading eyebrows from that artist are authentic. These days there are so many filter features where photos can be manipulated. Make sure the artist has photos/videos of not only before and right after the procedure, but how they look after healing.
“During consultation, whether by phone or in person, ask the artist about color and how does he/she go about picking the color for your individual set of brows. For example, if you are blonde and the color pigment has any black mixture in it, it’s a NO! This sounds dramatic, but I had clients come in with black microbladed brows when she was a blonde.”
About Casey of Suite Lovely
In 2015, after leaving a comfortable corporate job, Casey started Suite Lovely. She took a multiple day course to be certified that consisted of training in brow shaping, color theory, sanitation/safety and more.
“I’ve been sketching and painting since I was nine, and when asked what I wanted to become when I grew up, my answer was…an artist. But due to expectations from my family, I was steered into Business Management and IT.
“After getting a side job at Sephora and seeing how enhancing someone’s face made a world difference for them—I knew right then that beauty is my passion. What’s a better feeling than helping someone feel more confident about themselves?”