I Microbladed My Eyebrows And Here's What You Should Know
If you’ve been wondering about microblading, or maybe you’re like, WTF even IS microblading?.. I’m here to give you all the down and dirty deets!
I first learned about this trendy thing called microblading from my co-worker who was talking about it at lunch one day. Her sister is in the beauty industry and they decided to gift a microblading session to their mom for her birthday. I saw the before and after pics on instagram and was immediately like, SIGN ME UP!
Up to this point I had been (not so successfully) drawing on my brows every damn day. You know what’s not so cute? Half an eyebrow because even though you draw them on every damn day you still manage to forget and do something dumb like wipe your face.
So yeah, this lady needed some professional intervention. I am all about #selflove and #liveyourbestlife so after a few weeks of obsessing, I put my face into the wonderful hands over at The Archery in Minneapolis and let them fix me right up!
*Note, this is not a sponsored post. The opinions and experiences below are 100% my own*
So What Even is Microblading?
“Microblading is the skill of semi-permanent tattooing in which artists use a handheld tool to create realistic, hair like strokes to enhance your natural brows. The small blade, created by tiny micro needles, inserts pigment into the skin. Pigments are placed in the upper dermal layer of the skin, more superficial than a normal tattoo which in turn fades over time.”
Ok, I’m Hooked! Now What?
1. Choose Your Artist!
Take time and do some research on who you’d like to spend a few hours with while they carve tiny hairs onto your face. It’s sounds a little morbid, but yeah.. that’s basically what you’re signing yourself up to do. I chose to work with Stacy from The Archery in Minneapolis. I was very impressed with her portfolio and her pricing was totally reasonable.
Prices vary by artist, but you should expect to pay anywhere from $300 - $800, depending on skill level, technique and where you live. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so don’t cheap out on a semi-permanent TATTOO that is GOING ON YOUR FACE. Just sayin’.
2. Timing Matters
It took me several months to even get an appointment because all of the artists were fully booked! You might get lucky and they’ll have a random opening with in a week or two, but it’s more than likely you’ll end up waiting a few months. For me, it ended up being a good thing that I had to wait. Absence makes the heart grow fonder afterall.. haha. That, and it gave me more time to plan around up coming events.
Before you book your appointment, take in consideration the after care process and how long your brows will be healing once you’ve been tattooed. It will take about a month to be fully healed, so yeah, don’t get your brows done the weekend before your wedding, or the day before a job interview.. because you will look CRAY. My brows peeled pretty significantly in the weeks following my appointment, to the point where I was very glad I have bangs and could cover them up.
3. Day-Of Your Appointment
Your appointment will last anywhere from 2 - 3 hours in total, depending on your natural brow and the final look you are going for.
I was told when I booked to avoid any alcohol or caffeine the day of my appointment. I mean, I do love a good whiskey, but that is a pretty easy thing to avoid at 10am on a Tuesday.. but the caffeine. Man, that was a tough one for me. It’s important though because both will thin your blood, making you bleed and scar more easily, and could really mess up the end result. So yeah, a little caffeine withdrawl is a small price to pay.
I showed up to my appointment wearing makeup on my brows as I had normally done so that my artist could see what I typically look like. We spent the first 40 minutes or so with her very carefully maping out how my new brows would look. She used a brow pencil, a ruler and a string to measure and re-measure, double checking against my bone structure and looking at me from every angle. It’s like the saying goes, measure twice, cut once!
She raised the shape and size of my brow up a little above my natural line to help lift my tired soul and give me new life! To use her words, the way I had been doing them before was looking a little ‘sad’. And girl, she was right!
Once the drawings were complete and I gave my stamp of approval, we got down to business!
4. No Pain, No Gain
To put it plainly, yes, microblading does hurt. How bad? I think the word ~unpleasant~ is the best I can use to describe it. I only have one other (real) tattoo on my ribs, and that hurt like a motherfucker. Being microbladed wasn’t nearly as painful as that. Think more along the lines of getting a paper cut, or accidentally itching a spot that is sunburned.
She started by making about 15-20 small, precise cuts on one brow with a tiny blade that looked like an exacto knife. This first round of cuts are done without any topical numbing cream. I asked about this and she said the pigment won’t embed into the skin as well if you put the ointment on first. I think it really only lasted about 5 minutes, although I was trying to think about other things besides the fact I was willingly let someone slice open my face, so I can’t be sure.. haha.
After this first round of cuts, she rubbed in the semi-permanent ink and then covered my brow with plastic wrap to let the pigment soak in. While that brow was resting, she started the same process on the other side. Once both brows had been completed in this way, she then could apply the numbing cream.
For the remainder of the session, my brows were in various stages of numbness. It was an odd sensation because I could feel the pressure of her hands and hear the scratching of the blade against my skin, but I couldn’t feel the sharpness at all. Honestly the part that was the most unpleasant for me was when she rubbed in more pigment, because after awhile your skin starts to feel pretty raw. If you’ve had a tattoo done before you’re probably familiar with this feeling.
5. Bladed Vs. Shaded
“Shading is a skilled microblading technique that is combined with microblading in order to achieve a more dense, "filled in" eyebrow result. This may be useful to those who have little to no eyebrow hair, those who like the look of filled in brows, and those who have very little but dark hair.”
- The Archery
My artist Stacy and I both agreed that I should go with a combination brow. This means adding in the shading technique on top of the precise hair-like strokes. In other words, my girl busted out a tattoo gun and filled in my non-existant brows like the boss bae that she is!
Let me confirm that getting a literal face tattoo made me feel like a fucking badass. I do have to admit that I requested more numbing cream though because after the first 15 seconds without it, (especially considering I had just had that area sliced open and rubbed raw with pigment for the past hour) it made getting a rib tattoo feel like butterfly kisses in comparison. Regardless of if I could feel it or not, having a tattoo gun on your face looks totally hardcore and I’m all about it. And trust me, you can definitely feel it after that magical numbing cream wears off, so it is still pretty hardcore.
The shading portion only took about another 15 minutes for her to complete, and it was totally worth it! The final result was much more of the filled-in look I was aiming for.
6. Tips Make the World Go Round
Maybe I’m biased because I worked in the service industry for years, but I think you should absolutely tip your artist. Honestly, I feel like most people know by now you just have to tip anyone who gives you amazing service, especially someone who is making you look and feel your best! However, if you were unaware of this industry standard, now you know and won’t look like a cheap ass by not tipping. (You’re welcome!) 18-20% is customary, but 25% if you’re feeling fancy!
7. Take Care of Yo’Self
The healing process takes about 2 weeks in which you’ll need to take good care of your freshly done brows. This means avoiding the sun, applying aquafore and resisting the urge to scratch that itch.
My brows began to peel on about day 4, and they were quite frankly, totally heinous. Let’s just say I was pretty happy to have bangs. Not everyone heals the same way, but it’s very possible you’ll have peeling brows for a couple of days, so plan accordingly.
8. Follow-Up Appointment
Depending on your skin type and how full your brows are naturally, you will need to book a follow up appointment about 5-6 weeks after your first session. I, a person with nearly nonexistent brows, definitely needed this second appointment to help fill in some spots that healed patchy.
The follow up appointment was more or less the same process as the first session. She ended up using a little darker color ink the second time around for me because they had healed a little lighter than I was wanting.
Let me also confirm that this second round of microblading was more painful than the first because although the skin is healed, it’s still pretty tender. Again, she could only apply the numbing cream after the first round of cuts.
9. The Final Result
Results will vary depending on your skin type, thickness of your natural brow and how well you take care of your brows during the healing process. Because this is only a semi-permanent tattooing technique, you will need to have your brows touched up about once a year. As your skin heals, overtime it will start to push the ink out and your brows will fade if you don’t keep regular appointments.
This process is not for everyone, and that’s ok! For me it is 100% worth the investment and I honestly could not be happier with the results! I have eyebrows that look flawless but natural, and I no longer have to struggle to draw them on every damn day. 10 out of 10!