Microblading: Why We're Still Not Over Its Brow-Transforming Powers

Updated 05/07/18

Microblading is the new brow trend that has taken over Instagram (and the internet) by storm. While the service, which involves imparting pigment into your brows via small incisions with a blade-like tool (gulp), is being hyped a lot right now, we wanted to find out whether or not it’s all it’s cracked up to be. We called on London brow guru Tracie Giles for her insight into microblading. Keep scrolling to find out exactly what it is, what to expect from the treatment and what you need to be wary of…

What is Microblading: Bella Thorne
Getty/ Matt Winkelmeyer /Stringer

First off, what is microblading?

Microblading is the art of applying permanent makeup, usually to the brows, using a row of tiny needles placed together that resemble a blade. The blade is then gently swiped in the direction of hairs with brow-coloured pigment so that the impression of hair strokes can be placed into the skin permanently (lasting up to—or more than—one year, and sometimes indefinitely). It probably originated in the Far East and can be traced back to many hundreds of years ago.

What’s the end result of microblading like?

It gives an incredibly natural end look and is not for everyone. The hairs are so fine that they’re often hardly noticeable when healed but will create a fuller natural-looking brow. Depending on the skill of the technician and the skin of the client, it can look very realistic.

How does microblading eyebrows differ from tattooing or brow tinting?

Microblading is a massive hype right now. It can create beautiful, realistic hair strokes and offers an alternative to those who don’t want to hear the buzz from the needle device used when tattooing. Both methods give the same results in experienced hands. Microblading is essentially tattooing, but the device differs in that it is a “manual” technique. Currently, microblading is a buzzword, with many people not understanding that this can be beautiful, but their skin may not be suitable for it.

Brow tattooing is more often reliable and more suited to a variety of skin types.

There are many technicians throughout the world that are only trained to do microblading, and the problem is that they do not always inform the client that the needle system may be far more successful for them. Both the nanoneedle (used for tattooing brows) and microblade can produce almost identical results, but the skin type and outcome desired by the client should be paramount in the decision. Therefore it’s always better to ensure that your technician does both needle and blade systems and can advise accordingly.

Brow tinting is purely for colouring the existing hairs; it will not create the illusion of more hairs.

What’s the process like?

First, we apply numbing cream before we pre-draw the brows into a shape that looks great and suits the client. Next, the blade is placed onto the skin with a matching pigment colour to the client’s hair. The blade is pulled back in a curve to resemble a hair stroke. The blade follows the direction of the natural hair growth until a series of etched hair strokes appear in the skin. Next, the technician will rub the area with the pigment and leave this to soak into the skin. The colour then has time to develop into the etching.

This is then gently removed revealing a realistic-looking eyebrow. Sometimes extra hairs will be added at this stage to ensure that the brows match.

About how long does it take?

Microblading can take from 45 minutes up to two hours, depending on the complexity of the shape, hair stroke directions and, of course, the skill of the technician. A second treatment is then required that’s shorter in duration for a retouch of the colour. This is normally scheduled around four to 12 weeks later.

Should you have your brows shaped first or is that part of the process?

You don’t necessarily need to shape your brows before having microblading, as the shape should be planned and discussed with your technician, and the messy hairs will be removed by either threading, waxing, tweezing or a little brow razor to keep everything neat and tidy.

What is Microblading: Amy Lawrenson
Amy Lawrenson

I’ve had my eyebrows microbladed—here’s the before and after.

Is there anything else our readers should know?

We stock and use the finest blades from the Harmony Range direct from master blader Tina Davis in Canada. These are EO-sterilised, single-use only and super sharp, so that our master technicians can do perfect strokes on your skin.

How much should you expect to pay?

Prices range from £250 to £750, depending on who is doing your brows and the area. Few top microbladers will work for less than £500 for top-end work, so shop around. Above all else, ensure that they’re experienced in all permanent makeup procedures, can provide you with genuine before and after (and healed) pictures, are registered with local authorities and have insurance. Remember, this is tattooing—and it’s on your face. This is a fabulous treatment, but ensure that you’re in trusted hands. ■

For more information on microblading, head to TracieGiles.co.uk.

Want to fake the microblading look at home? Use a precision brow pencil to fake the look of hairs—like Benefit’s Precisely, My Brow Eyebrow Pencil (£19).

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