I just got my first tattoo ... and it's directly on my face.
Thanks to celebrities like Cara Delevingne and Brooke Shields, thick, full eyebrows are in style and the trend doesn’t seem to be losing steam anytime soon. For those who aren’t naturally gifted with the look, there’s a service that can help: microblading.
What is microblading? Microblading is a treatment where a technician tattoos eyebrows onto your face using a small tool with nine tiny blades. It takes two visits under the knife (and roughly $700), but the promise is that you'll wake up with perfect eyebrows every morning for one to three years. Because my morning routine consists of trying to fill in my eyebrows while my baby grips my legs yelling to be held, I decided to try it out.
The process of microblading
“So, basically, you’re going to stab my face over and over again” ... was more or less how I introduced myself to Kendra Bray, a microblading technician and owner of Better Brows in New York City. And I was partially right, but before we got to that, Kendra asked me what I was hoping to accomplish with the procedure. My mission: more sculpted, symmetrical eyebrows that don’t need any upkeep in the morning.
Kendra then spent 30 minutes mapping out my eyebrows with threads marked in ink. This allowed her to see the shape of my eyebrows more clearly and where they needed filling in.
Next came the good stuff: lidocaine. I asked (ahem, begged) her to be liberal in applying the numbing cream since my biggest fear was the pain. After it set for 30 minutes, it was time.
There are two things you need to know about what came next:
- It did hurt … but not the entire time. Sometimes I didn’t even feel it. Sometimes I really did. And it felt exactly how you’d expect tiny blades scraping your skin to feel.
- Speaking of scraping, you actually HEAR a scraping noise. While Kendra did warn me about the sound effect, it was totally freaky.
Once the incisions were made, Kendra quickly went over them with a dye she had created to match my brow color. After a few minutes of allowing it to settle into my skin, she wiped the excess away and I was free to go about my day with new and improved eyebrows. (Beware! You have to go back one month later to do it all over again — and the second appointment will be equally as painful.)
The hardest part isn’t having blades glide across your skin. It’s caring for the tattooed area afterward. Here’s a taste of what it was like:
- My eyebrows itched like crazy for the first 24 hours. Because you aren’t supposed to touch them while they heal, I had to get a little creative with how I stopped the itching. (See my technique above.)
- I couldn't get my eyebrows wet for five days. I quickly learned that washing my face without getting it wet is nearly impossible.
- Washing my hair became really tricky. If you’re considering a microblading treatment, please, learn from my mistake and wash your hair the morning of your appointment. (Then stock up on dry shampoo!)
- The incisions scab for a few days after the appointment, and you aren’t supposed to pick the scabs off. Not only am I a serial picker (teenage acne was an emotionally confusing time for me), but this only adds to the itching. I’m happy to report I stayed strong.
It’s now been close to two weeks since my follow-up appointment and, to be honest, the ink has faded significantly. This can happen with certain skin types and it can sometimes take a third session to really get the ink to stay — but I'll need to work up my courage before going under the blade again.
I would definitely recommend microblading to someone who spends a lot of time filling in their eyebrows every day. But if you only spend a little a few minutes a day touching them up, I would stick to the makeup pencil.