In the quest for perfect eyebrows, we've tried a lot, including pencils, gels, powder, pomades, and beyond. (As for some of the more extreme methods, like eyebrow implants, we don't quite foresee those in our future.) With a new year on the horizon, though, new trends are popping up, and we predict that 2017 will be the year microblading dominates. With the in-your-face "Instagram brow" on its way out, microblading is an incredible solution to a beautifully natural, fuller brow no matter how dire you think your brow situation is.
"I think we will see a return to more natural-looking, full yet more subtly arched brows. The exaggerated arches seen all over Instagram in 2016 will seem a little dated and a more sophisticated brow trend will emerge," says Johanna Hedman, Certified Permanent Cosmetic Professional and president of Hedman Method in Miami, Florida.
NYC-based celebrity brow specialist Piret Aava, whose clients include Serena Williams and Malin Akerman, says microblading is indeed the way to get a soft, natural-looking set of arches. "Cosmetic tattooing has been around for a really long time, but microblading has become popular because it looks so natural." Hedman agrees: "Microblading has boomed in the latter part of 2016, and it is becoming more mainstream," but she advises that those considering it do their research beforehand.
Keep scrolling to learn more about microblading, the eyebrow trend that will reign supreme in 2017.
Yes, microblading involves a sharp object, but it is in no way, shape, or form scary—promise (this writer has survived it and loves her brows). It's a form of cosmetic tattooing, but it's not the old-school method involving blocks of ink. There is no machinery involved—instead, certified specialists use a manual, non-vibrating tool with a tiny, wispy blade that deposits pigment under the skin to mimic the look of individual hairs. It goes nowhere near as deep as a regular tattoo, and the tool allows for more control to achieve those thin, hair-like strokes and leave behind a dreamy set of brows.
"It is very natural, but it doesn't last forever, which makes it great for someone who's scared of [the] commitment. It a great way to enhance natural beauty and shorten your everyday makeup routine," says Aava.
If you think your brows are just the worst and have no hope, think again. Hedman says, "Microblading is a great solution for clients who want to fill in sparse or over-plucked eyebrows, improve their eyebrow shape, cover up scars, or define their eyebrows. It can restore the confidence of alopecia patients and cancer survivors."
The process itself takes around two hours, with a shorter 30-minute follow-up four to six weeks after the initial session, and pricing can hover around $900 and up, depending on the city. It's not cheap, but nothing worth it is ever free, right? In the two hours, you discuss your desired results, and your specialist draws out your brows, mixing pigment to match your hair and then actually doing the microblading.
"I analyze your facial structure, eyebrow hair pattern, hair and skin tone and take detailed measurements," says Hedman. Based on the analysis your shape is drawn on, never with the use of stencils. "To achieve the most natural-looking results, I respect the integrity of your natural eyebrow while making subtle enhancements that make a big difference," she adds.
Feedback is also encouraged, and the microblading process won't start until you are completely comfortable with the shape and color. Once you give the thumbs-up, you'll be one hour away from your #browgoals.
Healing time will vary, but after about a week or so, you'll slowly start to see the beautiful arches of your dreams. "It takes about a week for them to heal, during which you must keep them dry from water and apply triple antibiotic cream and Vaseline," says Aava.
During the process, some areas will retain pigment more than others; there is minor scabbing, too, so don't freak if they're a bit off (and definitely don't pick), as this can easily be fixed during your second appointment.
"For the first three to four days, brows usually appear bold and intense as some of the pigment oxidizes at the surface before shedding off," says Hedman. "After five to eight days, you may see some light shedding of the excess pigment. After shedding, the brows will appear lighter and softer, and some areas may have lost more pigment than others, which is why it is important to come back for one month touch up."
While final results vary, the pigment will gradually fade over the span of one to three years, and annual touch-ups are a good idea if your new arches are in need of sprucing up. "Everyone's skin is unique and holds the pigment differently depending on skin type, skincare regimen, and lifestyle," says Hedman.
Of course, first and foremost, Aava and Hedman urge anyone looking to try microblading to do their research. Due to the rise in the trend's popularity, many can get a license to practice in a matter of days, without prior experience. "There is currently no minimum microblading training requirement in the state of Florida, besides a three-hour bloodborne pathogens course that can be taken online," explains Hedman. "Microblading is a highly technical and artistic skill that takes years of practice to master. It is imperative to choose a reputable and experienced professional who is board certified, licensed, and insured and operating in a safe, clinical environment."
Aava agrees, saying that the short courses are not enough training. "Look for someone who has been specializing in brows for a long time. Do your research and look at pictures of healed results."
Do you think you'll give microblading a try in 2017? Tell us in the comments, and then shop the brow-perfecting products that suit your needs.