Hey guys! Of the ten people who read my blog, this has been my most requested post, so here it goes.
I am not using this as an opportunity to give you a step-by-step through the process of microblading. There’s plenty of information on how microblading works and the best resource for specific questions you have is your brow stylist — it’s extremely important to consider their recommendations and after-care instructions. I am not the person to provide those to you!
That said, as with any major procedure, there are some general things I wish I had known before going under the blade. And, no, this isn’t intended to steer you away from microblading — I would do it again in a heartbeat! — but it isn’t for everyone.
Ask yourself: how much does the appearance of my brows impact me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually? For me, the answer was “A LOT.” I, like many victims of the mid-00s Laguna Beach madness, plucked the sh*t out of my naturally dark, thick brows in an effort to look more like Lauren Conrad. Now they hate me, and refuse to grow back. Even though the hair on my head is brown, my body hair is actually a near-black color (lucky, right?) and my eyebrows are easily my most prominent facial feature.
After years of countless Youtube tutorials, trial-and-error and eyebrow pencils (P.S. you can shop my favorite eyebrow pencil here!) I had finally created a brow formula that worked for my face. It was pretty glorious, but I also felt like I was living a lie, and rogue water splashes were always an area of concern (they happen more than you think.)
Essentially, I am someone whose eyebrows literally and metaphorically enter the room a good ten minutes before I do. That said, if you are a blonde or redhead, someone who kept their eyebrows intact during the reign of Justin Bobby, or don’t really feel like your brows are the focal point of your face, I say stick to manual fill-ins. Bladin’ ain’t cheap, fam! Also, I’ve heard a lot of great things about this ANASTASIA growth serum, which could be a less-invasive answer to your brow-related concerns.
Know your coloring. If you’re still reading this, I can assume two things: you are also a slave to your eyebrows, and you probably just finished up skimming Justin Bobby’s Wikipedia page (spoiler alert: he’s a hair stylist now.)
Some people have red undertones, and some people have ashy undertones. No, one is not better than the other, and yes, you will immediately notice if you’ve ended up in the wrong camp. Over the years, I would sometimes buy a pencil with red undertones, and could immediately tell something wasn’t right! Of course, this is a better conversation to have with your brow stylist, but while you’re considering what shape you’d like for your brows make sure to take this into account, too.
There will be blood. The process started out pretty painful. More painful than I had anticipated – probably on par with a bikini wax, but like, a prolonged bikini wax. That said, my stylist added numbing cream throughout, so the pain wore off within 3-4 minutes as she continued the procedure (which took about two-and-a-half hours, FYI.) When it was finally over, I sat up at saw a number of used wipes stained with red, which I then realized — in my post-blade haze, of course — were stained with blood. I’m not a particularly queasy person, but this did flip me out a little because I had been completely numb for the majority of the procedure. That said, bleeding is a normal and expected!!!
My stylist made a pretty big show out of showing me the different equipment, taking a new blade out of the packaging, and instructing me on how everything is kept clean before, after, and during. At the time I was like “yeah, okay, cool, you got it” but once I saw #theblood, I was extremely grateful to know I had chosen someone who takes safety and sanitation so seriously.
You won’t know what the finished product looks like for at least a month. Despite the actual bloodbath, I actually walked out with awesome, normal-looking brows – know that this won’t last. Most of the “after” photos you see online are RIGHT after the procedure, with fresh ink. Your brows will end up looking like a close variation of this, but there’s a good month of healing during which your brows will go through more phases that a 12-year-old who just transferred into public school.
The first week was the hardest, by far. Your brows will take on an extremely dark, thick appearance that I can only describe as “the Sharpie effect.” I knew that this was all part of the process but that didn’t stop me from panicking the first few days! In reality, this is the ink and blood rising to the surface and doing its thing, so stay calm and don’t touch other than to apply whatever ointment, etc. your stylist has provided to you. BTW, the first week is pretty intensive after-care wise, as well, so I recommend scheduling your appointment for a time in which you have nothing going on few a few weeks.
From there, the ink will start to “chip off.” Again, this is #NotCute but also not hugely noticeable to anyone other than you, either. I remember demanding my friends not look at my brows two weeks after the procedure, to which they responded “Did you do something to your brows? We didn’t notice.” Not everyone is brow freak, fam. Maybe that’s a good thing.
Be prepared to live like an unathletic vampire for a few weeks (or, invest in some cute hats.) Sunlight can be extremely damaging to your brows within the first month, so if I could go back, I would definitely schedule my appointment for some time other than the middle of June! When I was going outside, I just wore a hat, which shielded the affected area pretty substantially. Also, sweating is forbidden for the first ten days, so steer clear of this procedure if you’re training for a marathon, teaching hot yoga, or really doing any form of walking in DC from May-September.
A touch-up is required and often included. Don’t expect a perfect look on the first try. There will be some unevenness and missed strokes, which is why a lot of microblading procedures include a complimentary touch-up. Be sure to schedule that six weeks out from your first appointment to ensure the salon doesn’t fill up! When you do go in for your touch-up, write up a list of things you’d like adjusted so you don’t forget anything before the blade gets stroking. (….Why does that sound so overtly sexual?)
Under-doing it > over-doing it. Adding in a few strokes with a pencil for special occasions or scheduling another follow-up appointment is a lotttttt less complicated than getting strokes removed, which requires a process akin to tattoo removal. So, stalk your stylist’s previous work, use pictures give them an idea of what you’re looking for, then let them use their best judgment. The allure of full brows can have a strange effect on people – if the stylist says “no more,” then no more! Mine basically had a to talk me out of a full unibrow, and I am forever grateful for her honesty with me.
Almost a year later, mine have stayed pretty much the same. Of course, everyone is different, but I think this is good to know!
Consider your current relationship with your brows and how microblading could improve or streamline your current beauty routine.
Book your appointment during a time you can avoid sweating, prolonged sun exposure and special occasions for a few weeks.
Research your stylist and stalk their work and Yelp reviews ad nauseam. I saw Hasti at Brow Bar DC, 10/10 would recommend to a friend.
It won’t be perfect on the first try.
Under-doing it > over-doing it.
That’s all! Happy blading!!!