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When microblading first came onto the beauty scene, it was impossible to scroll through Instagram without stumbling on photo after photo of women getting their eyebrows tattooed. Even now, there are over 11 million photos tagged with #microblading on Instagram alone. In the off chance you've managed to miss one of those posts, microblading is a semi-permanent tattoo technique used to create the illusion of fuller brows by creating hair-like strokes that mimic your natural hair growth.
These days, there's a new hashtag on the rise. Microfeathering is the new brow tattoo trend that has gained some serious traction over the past year. But what's the difference, you ask? To get all the details on the newest semi-permanent brow solution, we tapped the woman behind Microfeathering, Kristie Streicher, who not only created the technique, she trademarked it. Here, everything you need to know from Streicher, herself.
Meet the Expert
Kristie Streicher is the co-founder of STRIIIKE salon in Beverly Hills. She is a celebrity brow expert and the creator of The Feathered Brow technique. Her clients include Mandy Moore, Keri Russel, and Mila Kunis.
"When I first learned Microblading, I was actually quite turned off by how unnatural it looked. I thought it looked much too over-filled and resembled a tattoo," says Streicher. "It wasn't until I started developing my own technique that I recognized the many variables that can affect the end result. She spent a year developing her technique on over 300 test models, using it to conservatively fill-in sparse growth, rather than recreate an entire brow. She says, "Microfeathering is my trademarked and proprietary technique created to help give people their fullest, most natural-looking brow. I genuinely try to create hair-like strokes that resemble and mimic natural hair to fill in sparse areas." She describes the final look as "soft, natural and truly custom to the individual's face."
How to Prepare for Microfeathering
"I insist on working with one's natural brow shape and not a previously shaped brow," explains Streicher. All clients looking to receive Microfeathering with Streicher must begin with growth training, which can range anywhere from six to 12 months. During training, she strategically tweezes every six to eight weeks, with no tweezing in between to evaluate and perfect your natural shape. She says, "Not working with the individual's natural hair growth pattern can detrimentally affect the outcome. My greatest fear is to take away the very thing that gives us a beautiful natural brow and individual character."
How It's Different Than Microblading
If you've ever thought microblading looked too perfect, too filled-in, or unnatural looking, Microfeathering is its cooler, more effortless big sister. "With Microfeathering, my ultimate goal is to try to create hair-like strokes that resemble and mimic natural hair. The look is not solid," explains Streicher. "You should be able to see skin between the hair and the strokes."
To create the Microfeathered look, Streicher says, "Small incisions, or strokes, are made in the epidermis with a custom pigment designed to mimic the color of the client's brow hairs." She adds, "We use iron oxide pigments as they are considered the safest semi-permanent pigments to use on skin. Over time, these pigments will fade as the body naturally absorbs it."
Streicher tells us Microfeathering could take up to three sessions to get it perfect. "I take baby-steps by testing the skin during the first appointment. Here, strokes are created in some of the more dense areas of the brow as a way to test the pigment, structure, and design of the hair strokes. She explains, "The second appointment occurs six to eight weeks later—depending on how the client's skin heals or responds, this is when additional strokes are added as needed. This ensures the best and most natural result possible, as every client's brows heal differently."
How Long Does Microfeathering Last?
Streicher says the strokes will fade after eight to 12 months of application, but they won't totally disappear. "We recommend that clients consider a touch-up appointment at this point. Depending on the client's skin and health, the pigment may leave a soft haze of residual pigment behind."
However, she does have a few tips for making your Microfeathered brows last as long as possible. First, she tells us to stay out of direct sunlight or shield yourself from the sun with a hat and SPF 30+. "It's important to keep all semi-permanent makeup protected from the sun to help maintain the integrity of the hair-like strokes. Sun exposure can cause the ink to fade and "bleed' under the skin, giving it a blurred look." Streicher also says to avoid products that contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or chemical peels, as these acids will fade the pigment color.
The Best Candidates for Microfeathering
Streicher says there are three skin types that respond the best to her Microfeathering technique. First, she says, "Dry skin with small pores works because it's not very sensitive and doesn't bleed easily. This skin type is thin, but not overly thin or crepe-like." Next she says, "normal to oily skin with medium pores is usually thicker," making it a great candidate. And finally, "normal to combination skin type with small pores is usually non-translucent and doesn't bleed easily," she explains.
Risks Involved With Microfeathering
Proceed with caution if you have oily skin. Streicher says, "The constant production of oil will cause the hair strokes to heal with a thicker, diffused look. Overall, the pigment may get rejected by oils in the skin or the end result will appear fuzzy, requiring frequent touch-ups." On the other hand, if you have hypersensitive or thin, delicate skin, you might want to err on the side of caution as well. "Hypersensitive skin is usually translucent, with nearly invisible pores and often suffers from rosacea or dermatitis," explains Streicher. "Generally, this skin type bleeds very easily and has a harder time healing, which causes the pigment to appear more ashy, blurred, and patchy."
Finally, if the pain factor is top of mind, Streicher says, "I use a very effective and fast-acting proprietary topical anesthetic cream for the client's comfort during the procedure." At the end of the day, it's still a tattoo on a prominent part of your face, so prepare to feel a bit of a sting.