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Bladed Brows



— October 14, 2017

Bladed Brows

  • A technique known as microblading could help you master your eyebrows.
Bladed Brows

Temporary tattooing is the latest way to get the look you really want.

You probably never imagined face tattoos would become a covetable beauty trend, right? But hear us out on this one: A tat technique known as microblading could help you master your brows, whether you like them full and arched a la model Cara Delevingne or prefer them perfectly plucked and straight. No fussing with eyebrow pencils and stencils on a daily basis—that’ll save you some time in the morning. The best news? You can even change your mind, eventually. Eyebrows shaped via microblading fade over time, so today’s trends won’t forever frame your face. Interest piqued? Here’s what the experts have to say about this eyebrow-raising beauty trend.

Don’t Fear the Name

Microblading is also known as “microstroking,” and the technique doesn’t actually use any blades, explains April Meese, a Certified Permanent Cosmetic Professional and owner of Enhancing Beauty in New York City. Rather, a fine row of needles is used to implant pigment into the skin. “The needles are thin and arranged tightly together to create hair-like strokes that are crisp, with a very natural appearance,” says Meese, a member of the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (

It Shouldn’t Hurt

A common misconception is that microblading is a painful process, Meese says. But for most folks, the level of pain won’t come close to, say, getting a tattoo on your ribcage. “Of course, everyone’s pain tolerance is different. However, most clients say it feels like tweezing or threading,” Meese says. “My clients say the procedure can be uncomfortable at times, but not unbearable and overall is worth it.”

Have a Little Patience

The process starts by creating the desired eyebrow shape for the patient, says Amber Follis, RN, with Westlake Dermatology in Austin, Texas, who adds, “I personally try to follow a patient’s natural hair pattern to create the most realistic outcome.” From start to finish, the entire process takes about 1.5 hours. And while there’s no tattoo gun buzzing near your eyes, microblading isn’t noiseless. Follis advises bringing earbuds or headphones so you can drown out the sound of the procedure with your favorite tunes.

The Slow Fade

You may hear that microblading pigment can last up to three years. But Follis says that for most people, a realistic expectation is that your tatted brows will last from one year to 18 months. For those who have oily skin or psoriasis, microblading may only last six months and require more frequent touch-ups, she adds. Why isn’t the effect permanent? The type of pigment used for microblading has an iron oxide base, which allows the color to softly fade over time and ultimately vanish, unlike the inks used in permanent cosmetic tattoos, says Alex Roher, MD, an anesthesiologist at San Diego Botox. He explains that the pigment used for microblading is implanted into the upper layer of the dermis, which isn’t as deep as ink that is injected during more permanent cosmetic procedures.

So How Permanent Is Microblading?

Many experts liken microblading to a temporary tattoo and bill it as “semi-permanent” since its effects fade within three years, but most times sooner than that. However, Meese begs to differ. “Although the pigments will fade with time like any tattoo, it is most certainly permanent,” she says. The microblading tool, she explains, cuts a channel where the pigment is implanted. The epidermis exfoliates during the healing process, leaving the hairlike-looking strokes showing through the skin.

A Post-Chemo Cosmetic Fix

Professionals say all types of people get microblading. Some patients simply want more full or defined brows. Others have gone through chemotherapy, or have other medical conditions that have caused hair loss.

Avoid Moisture

Microblading aftercare is crucial because the better you take care of your eyebrows, the longer the pigment will last. “When you initially get the treatment, it is important to protect your eyebrows from all moisture—this includes sweat and water for 48 hours,” says Jill S. Waibel, MD, medical director of the Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute. “After the first 48 hours, aftercare ointments, which should be provided to you after the treatment, should be applied once or twice a day.”

Men Are Doing It, Too

Microblading is becoming popular with men across all age brackets, Adair says. It seems to be most appealing to those with jobs in the public eye—including sales, CEOs, directors, actors and television personalities.

Let the Effects Even Out

Immediately following a microblading session, the brows oftentimes look darker and heavier, explains licensed esthetician Shareen Adair, founder and CEO of iCandy Eye Salon and Beverly Hills Beauty Group Academy. But this effect only lasts while the brows are healing; people may be tempted to wash or scrub their brows, but they’ll lose some of the necessary color. In addition to keeping your brows dry, allow the area to scab, Adair says. Avoid rubbing your eyebrows and don’t use ice packs. Once the area has healed, Adair recommends using sunscreen to keep your brows from fading.


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