My microbladed brows
Bold brows have been trending for a while now. To see evidence of this, one only has to look at the plethora of brow enhancing products currently available.
But, it’s microblading – a semi-permanent cosmetic tattoo technique that’s supposed to leave you with natural-looking, fuller brows – that really is at the forefront of the bold brow trend.
Now, I love a strong, defined brow – always have, always will – so I decided to take the plunge and give microblading a try. Two weeks ago, I visited Debbie Jean – an internationally trained artist – to have my brows done. I won’t lie, I was nervous – not about the fact that I was (in essence) tattooing my eyebrows – but scared shitless of the pain.
When I arrived for my session (which lasted about 2 hours), Debbie explained how she uses a hand held manual tool (see image below) to make fine, hair-like cuts 1 to 2mm under the skins surface, in the upper dermal layer. As she works them through the skin, they get filled with pigment. When executed properly, they resemble the appearance of natural eyebrow hair. Debbie explained that microblading is great for filling in sparse areas of the brows, as well as enhancing and defining brow shape.
IMAGE: This is the microblade tool. It has a series of micro needles that are dipped into colour pigment (that should be especially mixed, using a few colours to closely match that of your brows).
Debbie Jean, all set to microblade
To begin, Debbie applied topical anesthetic onto my brows to numb the area – this took about 25 minutes. Once done, she used a ruler-type tool to accurately measure, and work out what the natural shape of my brows should actually look like. Outlines of where she would be microblading were draw onto the area.
Before (bottom pic), during and after (top pic) microblading
Debbie set to work on the framework (brow outlines) first, then filled in the rest of the brow. Now, while I didn’t feel any extreme pain as such, there was a definite feeling of slight discomfort. I’d describe the sensation as similar to having your eyebrows threaded. Also, Debbie continuously applied anesthetic to my brows throughout the procedure, keeping discomfort at a minimum.
The whole procedure took about 2 hours. I left with my brows looking great, and even popped into Woolies to get dinner.
The following day (Saturday) I woke up, looked at my new eyebrows, and had a complete MELTDOWN! “OMG, what have I done to my eyebrows”, I wailed to my hubby. They looked really, really dark and way too thick (I was told they would). I immediately started thinking I’d made a mistake. I won’t lie, I even went as far as booking an appointment to have my fringe cut that coming Monday.
Needless to say, Monday rolled around and I didn’t cut a fringe. While I was still a bit apprehensive about the way my brows looked, they had begun fading a little, and looked A BIT better. As the days went by, the pigment faded quite dramatically (thank goodness). Last week Friday (a full week of healing after having them microbladed), I filled them in with brow shadow and perfected a few uneven areas. For the first time since having them done, I really liked the way they looked. I have to keep reminding myself that they will take a while to settle, and can look patchy, or have uneven areas.
However, the whole point of doing the microblading was because I wanted brows I didn’t need to fill in and perfect everyday! Anyway, I understand this is a two-part process, and I’ll only really see the proper results once I’ve had my touch up. I’m finding this to be a bit of a love/hate relationship.
I recorded a (VERY HONEST) video diary and chat honestly about how I’m feeling about my microblading. I’m a tad perplexed, as all the local blog posts I’ve seen rave about the procedure immediately after. Are peeps not being upfront? I have to wonder, as the more people I chat to about microblading, seem to have had the same experience as me.
Today, as I sit writing this (it’s Thursday 16 Feb), I feel better about them, but certainly wouldn’t say I LOVE them, or feel confidant that I made the best decision microblading them. I like that I have a good framework (shape) to help me fill in and perfect my brows.
I have my touch-up appointment booked for two weeks time, and it’s during this visit that my brow shape will be perfected, and any faded colour will be given a boost. If I’m still not loving them wholeheartedly after my touch-up, I may just cut that fringe.
I must admit, my newly microbladed brows are VERY photogenic!
A few important facts to be aware of when considering microblading:
- Microblading is not suitable for those with very oily skin, as oil does not hold pigment well.
- Microblading is a medical procedure (because the skin is punctured) so it’s advisable to seek out a reputable artist. I think word of mouth recommendations are best. Ask to see their work beforehand.
- The healing process is 4 to 6 weeks and the shade WILL fluctuate during this time, but once you’ve had your 2nd procedure, the colour and shape will look more finished off.
- A touch up is COMPULSORY for this technique.
- Microblading requires a touch-up approximately once a year and lasts 1 to 2 years.
- The treated area will feel sensitive for a day or 2
- Avoid alcohol, aspirin, ibuprofen, any anti-inflammatory for 1 or 2 days before your microblading as these thin the blood, making you bleed, pin prick bleeding is fine but once the blood gets thinned it interferes with the procedure. And the more you bleed, the less likely your skin is to hold onto the pigment. You can pop some painkillers before the actual procedure; just ensure they are not Aspirin based.
- It’s NOT a good idea to partake in any vigorous sports (especially outdoors sports) for at least 4 days after your microblading. You don’t want sweat seeping into your brows and causing an infection.
Who is NOT a good candidate for microblading?
- Pregnant women, diabetics or those suffering with severe rosacea are not good candidates.
- If you’ve been on a course of Roaccutane or Accutane, you need to wait at least 6 month to a year before doing microblading.
- Wait at least 6 weeks to microblade after having had a general anesthetic.
- If you’ve had Botox or Fillers around the eye area, wait at least 15 days before microblading.
- Cancer patients cannot have microblading whilst undergoing chemotherapy. However, you can have microblading done before or after.
- Waxing and electrolysis can be done 5 days PRIOR and from 2 weeks AFTER microblading.
- If you suffer from keloids or scar badly, you need to inform the person doing your microblading prior to your appointment.
Caring for your newly microbladed brows
Aftercare is very important, especially for the first 10 days after having your brows microbladed. You shouldn’t get your brows wet for at least 5 days (easier said than done). I found it’s best to wash hair in the bath and have a dry face-cloth close at hand. You could also shower – just make sure your shower cap is pulled over your brows.
Cleaning your brows is important, as they start scabbing and obviously accumulate some dirt. Debbie recommends I cleanse mine daily with Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Lotion, then rinse lightly with water and dry with tissues.
Itching is normal (although I didn’t experience any unbearable itching), but don’t pick or scratch. Debbie gave me a very soothing serum that I applied onto my brows 3 x a day. I think this helped tremendously with the healing process. Infection is rare, but can happen if you don’t follow the aftercare routine. It’s also very important to protect your brows from UV rays (for at least 10 days) as the sun will fade the pigment. Do not expose your healing skin to chlorinated swimming pool water, direct sun, tanning beds (who the heck still uses these beds of death?), steam rooms, salt water, direct shower spray, hot water and skin creams.
Once your brows have healed, be cognizant of the fact that treatments like chemical peels should NOT be applied over the brow area, as the ingredients will cause the colour to lift and fade. Sun also fades the pigment, so I’d advise that you protect your microbladed brows with a sunscreen, especially when you’re poolside or at the beach.
“Having microblading is in fact a medical procedure – not a beauty treatment. Having one’s brows enhanced with cosmetic tattoo/permanent make-up has suddenly become very popular. Many salons offer this procedure – some without much knowledge on the perfect brow shape to suit an individual’s unique face shape. Cosmetic tattoo artists work 1/2mm under the skin; therefore are exposed to body fluids. It’s important that the artist you select does not put your health at risk during the procedure by exposing your skin to pathogens. Procedures are safe if your artist is responsible and educated. Avoid any ‘amazing’ offers or half price microblading special you see online.” – Debbie Jean
What’s the cost of microblading?
Prices vary from artist to artist. Debbie charges R1800 for the initial microblading procedure. You then need a touch up within the first three months, at an additional cost of R1300. If you go for your touch-up after the three-month period, the fee increases to R1800.
Debbie Jean resides in Knysna, but travels to Cape Town every 6 weeks to service her clientele. For more information, and to see some of Debbie Jean’s work, follow her on Facebook HERE or email her on email@example.com for more information.
Do you have any questions about microblading? If you do, pop them in the comments section below. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on microblading and if you’d consider it.