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A great hairstylist will know which cut really works with which face shape—the way hair frames a face can make a big difference in your overall appearance. In Korea, this hair-framing concept has gone totally next-level.
A while ago, when I went to Seoul and visited Lash Queen's Chemiwani (sidebar: trust when I say she's one of the best eyelash extension artists in town if you ever go to Seoul!), she was asking me if I wanted to get my hairline microbladed (yes, the tattoo that you get on your brows). To say I was intrigued was an understatement—so I dug and got some more info on why women (and men) are taking microblading far beyond their arches. Think of hairline microblading as a new way to "contour" the face (or at least part of it)—one that's smudge-proof and natural-looking. Of course, I needed to know more. Keep reading to learn more about the hairline microblading process, plus what an expert has to say.
What Is Hairline Microblading?
Hairline microblading is a tattooing technique that uses a thin blade to apply semi-permanent pigment onto the skin to create the look of a fuller, thicker hairline. In the U.S., the process is also called scalp micropigmentation.
Michelle Wu, a master therapist at EverTrue Microblading Salon in Chicago describes hairline microblading as "a transformative treatment where we create strokes on the hairline that replicate hair strands. The effect is a realistic, natural-looking hairline that creates the appearance of volume."
It's specifically meant for women (and men) who feel like their foreheads are too big or those whose hairline peaks back toward the top portion of their head in some areas. It's also great for those who don't love their hairline and how it frames their face and want the look of fuller hair, or to help mask the visibility of scars and alopecia. Chemiwani promised me that hairline microblading might frame my face so well that I wouldn't need to contour with makeup—she would give me the most flattering hairline for my face shape. She added that, when done correctly, the hairline would look totally natural.
Benefits of Hairline Microblading
- The look of thicker hair
- Appearance of a less-receding hairline
- A natural look
- Reduction in appearance of scalp micropigmentation
As with microblading on the face, hairline microblading is meant to create the illusion of thicker hair. Because of the precise nature of the technique, it also creates a very defined hairline and—if left in the hands of a skilled technician—a natural look. It's also much more cost-effective than other procedures geared toward the hairline (more on that, below).
How to Prepare for Hairline Microblading
One of the upsides of the treatment is that not much is required on your end. "No preparation is necessary," says Wu. Once you're settled in, though, you'll need to prepare to sit still for a while. "Depending on the area covered (we can go from just temples to a full hairline), the treatment can take one to two hours," says Wu. "We will numb the area before treatment so there is no discomfort."
What to Expect from Hairline Microblading
According to Chemiwani, it's the same process as microblading brows. There's a thin blade that's used to create tattoos one strand at a time right onto the hairline. For the middle of the head and on the scalp, other ink more compatible with the scalp is typically used, but for the hairline, it's the same ink that's used on your brows. (Take a look at some before-and-after images below!)
Hairline Microblading vs. Hair Transplants
For years, those looking to correct a receding hairline didn't have many options aside from hair transplants. While microblading can certainly change the look of the hairline, it doesn't actually add volume to hair, as it's essentially a tattoo. That being said, microblading is a much easier, less intensive procedure, without the high costs (or downtime) associated with transplants. While microblading typically runs anywhere from $1,000 to $3000 per treatment, hair transplants vary wildly in price but can cost up to $15,000.
Potential Side Effects
While hairline microblading/micropigmentation may sound too good to be true, there are some side effects involved. First off, you might not love it, and if you don't go to a good artist, it could look unnatural. Also, there's a small but very unlikely chance that the ink could be permanent.
Similar to the ink used for brows that are microbladed, the ink used for the hairline fades over time and, on average, will last for about two years. This is actually a good thing because it doesn't stay forever and turn into that blue inky color, which looks unnatural, but will gradually lighten and fade away completely. Also, in case you don't love it, well, it's not forever. "Results last for up to a year," notes Wu.
Hairline microblading isn't a one-size-fits-all type of treatment, and the cost reflects that. The cost involves a bunch of different factors, including your location, the microblading artist, how much and what kind of pigment you need, and how much area around your hairline you need microbladed. That being said, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1000 all the way up to $3000 per session.
To help keep the tattooing in top shape after it's first applied, however, you'll want to avoid direct sunlight, swimming, picking, skincare products, and makeup around the area for at least 10 days. "To ensure proper healing and color retention, we ask clients to refrain from washing their hair for around one week after treatment," says Wu. "Once that period is over, no additional care is necessary."
It's also recommended to avoid intense exercise or sweating for five to 10 days after your treatment. Other than that, there's no downtime required.
The Final Takeaway
I didn't end up getting my hairline microbladed, but I have to say, I really love how my hairline looks when some uneven parts are filled in with makeup. (I get nervous even getting a flu shot, so who was I kidding with attempting blades on the forehead?) With my hairline made up, my face looks a little more symmetrical somehow, and I love how I have fuller-looking hair, even if it is just adding in small strokes along the hairline. Maybe I'll use Bumble and Bumble's Color Stick ($26), a great option for those uninterested in committing to the Full Monty like me.