What’s the old saying, eyebrows should be cousins, not twins? Or is it sisters, not twins? Either way, what if your eyebrows resemble something more along the lines of an online dating match gone bad?
I digress. The good news is if you find overplucked 90’s brows staring back at you or you have found that sparse is the new term you use to describe your brows, you might want to stick around for this review of eyebrow microblading.
What is microblading?
Eyebrow microblading is a semi-permanent tattoo technique that helps shape, define, and create a full eyebrow look.
While a tattoo gun may be used to shade, microblading includes using a handheld tool to create hair strokes using pigment which becomes implanted into your skin.
Why I chose microblading
As a teenager and then a young adult, plucking my eyebrows was not really my thing. I have fairly light eyebrows and never really understood how much eyebrows can add to the look and shape of your eyes.
Then I entered my 30’s and, with her birth, my youngest child gifted me hypothyroidism. And with that came hair loss. Now, I was all too excited when my leg hair became sparse, but when my eyebrows slowly disappeared, that excitement went with it.
The tails of my eyebrows became non-existent and drawing them on became the only way to get any definition.
Luckily, I had taken an interest in freelance makeup artistry by this time, but after years of spending every morning with an eyebrow pencil, I was over it.
In my opinion, this is the most vital part of making the choice to have permanent makeup done. I mean, this is quite literally permanent ink, on your face.
And while it’s not Post Malone tattoo status, it’s still something that has the capacity to alter the way you look drastically.
The shocking part for me when researching microblading is that there are virtually no licensure requirements for artists. And for me, that is a bit terrifying because bodily fluids and blades are involved.
You can literally buy the tools on Amazon. Yes, you heard that correctly.
When it comes to choosing an artist, do some serious research! Find out if they have any cosmetic licenses, ask questions, read reviews, and most importantly, pay close attention to their before and after pictures!
If their social media is not full of images of their work, or if you see huge discrepancies in their clients, you might want to keep looking.
I spent an entire year following a local artist, checking for continuity in her signature shape, and asking questions.
I had too many friends that went the Groupon route of choosing an artist and needless to say, it did not end well.
This is a great first step to deciding whether or not microblading is a good choice for you and it’s your first step to getting to know an artist. One of the most important things I learned is that not everyone is a good candidate for microblading.
In my opinion, a good artist will be honest about your skin and microblading.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not made of money. I’m a teacher. Which isn’t exactly on par with being a Real Housewife of the OC. BUT, I knew that permanent makeup was something I was going to save up for so I could get the best possible result.
Every artist is different, and I definitely paid for what I got, but it was literally worth every single penny. Every single one.
My total cost was just over $600, which included a free consultation, my first session, touch-up, and aftercare products for both appointments. Again, in looking at my end result, it was worth every penny.
Amber (owner of Northern Nevada Permanent Makeup) is what I like to call the eyebrow queen. She came across my Instagram page over a year ago and I quickly hit the follow button.
Simply scrolling through her instagram will tell you why. Not only does she have a full cosmetology license, but she is also a licensed tattoo artist who got started in permanent makeup about 5 years ago.
In her words, communication is a priority and she tries her hardest to make sure that she not only understands what her client wants, but that they understand what is best for their skin.
This is a tattoo, so it’s a mixture of art, talent, skin anatomy, and science, and it’s a huge reason why she not only dedicates her time to her clients, but to training new artists.
Her shop is located in downtown Reno at 418 Flint Street and one step through the door lets you know that her environment is a reflection of her work. Beautiful, clean, and professional.
I also feel that her dedication to training new artists shows her commitment to the industry. She is open and willing to share her knowledge to prevent inadequate artists from doing work that is not satisfactory. Artists supporting artists. I’m here for it.
There weren’t a whole lot of rules to follow before my appointment. Amber advised me not to get Botox 10 days before or after my appointment, to avoid taking over the counter drugs like Ibuprofen, vitamins, and anything that was not a prescription for 3 days before microblading.
I also had to let my brows grow out as much as possible because Amber tries to use every natural hair possible. Other than that, I woke up that morning, and headed in!
To numb or not to numb
At first, when Amber told me that she does not start with any pre-numbing cream I thought, this is gonna be bad. But then after she explained why she uses this process, it made perfect sense.
In her words, the skin is a sponge. And when a topical numbing cream is applied, the skin not only absorbs it but becomes full. This does not allow pigment to be absorbed and could impact the end result.
That was enough convincing for me. If a few minutes of being uncomfortable meant a better result, I was all in.
That uncomfortably turned out to be almost nothing. I would say I have a high pain tolerance and compare everything to the pain scale of childbirth, so for me, it was a breeze. There was some slight stinging, but it was almost more annoying than painful. I would rate it a 1.5 – 2 on a pain scale of 10.
Amber likes to do what she calls “the first pass”; the first set of strokes to define the shape of the brows. This first pass without numbing cream takes about 3-4 minutes per eyebrow. After that, a topical numbing cream is applied and it’s literally smooth sailing from there.
In total, the process took a little over an hour.
After my appointment, I was sent home with aftercare instructions and a small package of products.
The rules were simple. No water on my eyebrows for 48 hours, then wash with a special ointment and apply a healing balm, twice a day for 10 days.
Amber also gave me a breakdown of what to expect in terms of healing for the next few weeks. This was one of the things I was most grateful for because nothing came as a surprise.
Day 2 is going to go one of two ways. You are either going to wake up thinking, “Oh my gosh, my new brows are so fierce and amazing. Best decision ever!” Or, you are going to think, “Oh. my. Gosh. What the hell did I just do to my face?”
This is because days two and three are when your brows are going to look darker, sharper, and bolder. Like. Holy brows bolder.
Amber told me to pay attention to how I felt on this day because it would dictate how she would approach my touch up appointment. For me, after going so long without brows, I was HERE FOR THE BOLD!
Now, this is where your commitment to the process needs to kick in. Cause let me tell you, you are gonna look a little scary. Your new eyebrows are going to scab. And fall off. Yes, fall off. And for you pickers out there, you are going to have to show some serious restraint.
No matter how badly you want to pick off that dangling scab. Don’t do it! Unless you want to run the risk of interfering with your healing and end result.
Oh yeah, and when those scabs fall off, you are going to notice that the pigment will appear to have vanished. Don’t be angry, just be patient.
The pigment in your brows will begin to return and the end result will be on the horizon. Here is where you can use brow products if you desire.
Amber warned me that I may feel underwhelmed with my result but that it was done on purpose. It allows her to go darker if needed, and well, you can always add pigment. Taking it away is another story.
I was scheduled for a touch up around the 6-8 week mark after my first session. Here is where Amber was able to see how my brows healed and we decided to go a little darker since I loved the boldness of day 2.
This session was exactly like the first. No pre-numbing, first pass, topical numbing, final pass, and shading, then on my way with the same aftercare instructions.
From here, touch-ups will occur every 12-18 months.
In the end, I would have made this decision a hundred times over. I wake up every morning with perfectly structured and shaded brows, and with how much I am wearing a mask these days, it makes me feel somewhat put together.
My final thoughts on microblading…do your research, follow multiple artists and their work, ask questions, and get a consultation before diving in.
Best of luck, and may good brows be in your favor.
**Please note that this blog is an account of my own personal experience. When choosing an artist, your consultation, appointment, aftercare, touch up, and final results may be different. Photos were provided by Amber at Northern Nevada Permanent Makeup and Hanna Wozniak
Megan Rix is a former at-risk high school English teacher turned stay at home mama, lifestyle blogger, and entrepreneur. After leaving the classroom to focus on being a mama, she needed a place to document the life of her very strong-willed child and what she realized along the way were all the things in her life that “anchored” her. A love for food, beauty, family, and giving back to others helped shape the blog as it looks today.