Microblading is the latest thing in the beauty industry, as one after the other celebrities are choosing to have their brows semi-permanently tattooed, or etched onto their skin to create fine lines and streamlined shapes where there previously weren’t any. Girls creator Lena Dunham is the latest to try the treatment, courtesy of Vogue.com and was amazed at the difference having properly maintained brows made to her appearance. Since it’s arrival on the beauty scene Instagram has been filled with women, and some guys, getting the five star brow treatment just search for #browsonfleek #perfectarch and #browinspogoals and you’ll see what we mean! However, the quest for perfect brows can, on occasion, lead you in a rather odd direction.
After, all we’ve all seen what happens when eyebrow tattooing goes wrong and someone’s left with a pair of permanent caterpillars or worse always being asked what’s wrong because their eyebrows are forever raised. Not to mention there’s the endless jargon which tends to leave even the most dedicated beauty blogger browbeaten! You’ve got etching, feathering, stroking, powder fill, microblading and, weirdly enough 3D brows because if they’re real and on your face aren’t they 3D already? It’s hard to tell a beauty therapist exactly what you’re after when you’re not 100% sure if the process is right for you or what it involves, so we’re here to make things a little simpler, answer a few questions and hopefully leave you with a better idea of why everyone’s suddenly sporting brows so perfectly shaped they look like they’ve been sculpted by the world’s smallest artist.
Of course, before we get lost in the weeds, or hair in this case, it’s important to say that no matter what you call it, having your brows becoming semi-permanent is having a tattoo so you need to think carefully about whether you’re willing to run that risk. Remember, depending on what country you live in the age you can get a tattoo will differ, always check the beauty therapist’s credentials and if you don’t feel comfortable with their experience or methods then you’re free to leave. Microblading, or brow tattoos aren’t for everyone but if you are thinking about having the procedure done try to speak to someone who’s been there before you. Not only will you hopefully be able to get a good recommendation for an artist in your area that’s not too expensive but they’ll be able to show you what the final results are. If, privately, you can’t see much of a difference then it’s probably best you save your hard earned cash for something better or just splash out on a Bobbi Brown Brow Pallette!
Only Skin Deep
When it comes to tattoos a lot of people make quite a bit of noise about permanent vs. semi permanent and that one’s far worse than the other. Let’s be perfectly clear no matter how long it lasts for if it’s being etched or needled into the skin it’s a tattoo. Other types like stick on, transfer and henna are different because their only being drawn onto the surface and tend to wash away after a few showers anyway. Depending on how deeply the ink has been injected will have a bearing on how long it will last, when you decide to get a body tattoo the artist uses electromagnetic coil machine needles that help to pierce the epidermis and get the ink into the sub-levels of skin so the colour and design last longer. Luckily, semi-permanent brow tattoos don’t require you to be quite so committed. Instead of a needle, beauty therapist will use a digital pen, or microblade to gently impress the ink upon the skin without causing too much pain.
So how does it work? What are the nuts and bolts of microblading? Will it affect the eyebrows growth? In short, microblading means having your brows etched by a tiny tool that looks like an Exacto knife but isn’t one at all. The needles are super tiny, and allow small feathery strokes to be drawn onto the skin, but depending on your natural hair color and brow length the shade of pigment will vary. Once the microblading is completed the beauty therapist, or cosmetic tattooer will give the ink a few minutes to settle into the skin before wiping the excess off. While you’re examining your ‘new brows’ from every angle do be aware that this isn’t a one-time procedure. Due to the nature of microblading, you’ll need a few follow up appointments around four to eight weeks later in order to achieve the best look. Which means when you’re shelling out up to $1,500! Depending on where you live and how much cosmetic tattooing experience the artist has you’ll need to think carefully about whether this is one beauty trend too far! Secondly, there are a number of factors that might affect how much brow maintenance you’ll need.
Ink pigment is comprised of a number of different compounds, some of which aren’t advised if you’ve got sensitive skin. Oily skin is also harder to work with than dry skin, so if you’re serious about microblading you might want to improve your diet, skin care regime or change up your beauty products otherwise you may find the whole process is a waste of time and money. Underlying health conditions such as anaemia can also affect things, being anaemic means your body may start to feed off the iron oxide that’s found in some tattoo pigments so the colour will fade quicker. Second appointments will go over any original strokes, darkening them if client’s wish, tweak the brow itself’s shape and layer on thinner strokes to give the illusion of fullness.
What’s In A Name?
It seems a little crazy to have half a dozen different names to describe one cosmetic procedure and different artists have their own terms for brow art. You see, eyebrow embroidery so to speak hasn’t always been the fine, carefully honed feather strokes we know and love today. The 70’s and 80’s were filled with women going to the beauty salon to have their fine brows tattooed on, so they didn’t have to faff with drawing them on every morning. Sadly, unless you’re a cartoon character nobody looks good with stamped on sharpie lined brows and lots of women ended up feeling more self-conscious than ever about their appearance. Luckily, artists began to hone their brow art technique, making them look more natural and drawing individual strokes instead of feathered lines. While they may not last as long, these types of eyebrows are easy to adapt and won’t permanently change the shape of your face. It’s also important to note that every time you have a touch up you’re recreating those tiny lines, so an unskilled technician could easily leave you with scarring that’s difficult to cover up.
Any Safety Concerns?
It’s vital to remember that it’s nothing like learning how to get longer eyelashes by attaching falsies, or using a super lash boosting mascara or lash effects wand. At the end of the day if you decide you’re not happy with the fluttery, butterfly look you can simply use a cotton pad or face wipe to remove them – when it comes to microblading things are much more permanent. What this means is that you need to make sure that you’re going to a reputable cosmetic tattooist, observing health and safety precautions and never put your love of a beauty trend ahead of your own health and well-being. Remember, eyebrow tattoos are not regulated by the FDA, and a good tattooist won’t pretend that they are. The only cosmetic compounds that have been are things like blush, lipstick and face cream that just sits on the surface. Because there’s no guarantee you’d have the support of an investigatory body if something goes wrong you need to make sure you do your homework. Tattooists should not only have a state license, but accreditation from a cosmetology board as well as possessing certification that shows they’ve been approved by a professional body such as the SPCP, or the Society of Permanent Cosmetics Professionals.
Once you’ve decided to go ahead with the procedure you’ll want to pick a brow style to suit you. 3D, 4D and 6D brows are currently bang on trend and refer to an artist using, three, four or six ink shades and needles to create the perfect arches you desire by mixing multiple hair strokes, lengths and direction to create fantastic natural brows. Feathering refers to how much depth a client may need i.e. people with finer eyebrows will more likely want lots of shading to give the illusion of fuller features. Wearing ‘fake’ eyebrows tends to also give you more options when it comes to makeup. A dramatic look i.e. smoky eyeshadow, berry red lips and charcoal eyeliner will look better with fuller brows while daytime looks will be fine with nothing added in.
While you may be tempted to go with powder filling, it’s seen as a more outdated look as it’s just one solid line of color from one side of the brow to the other.