Once upon a time, we set out on a quest to determine whether or not microblading is really worth the hype. After speaking with an array of patients about their experience with the brow-defining treatment, the answer was a resounding yes. Everyone was smitten with their newly emphasized arches, and, across the board, the ‘regret’ (if you can call it that) was not trying microblading sooner.
For the uninitiated, eyebrow microblading is a semi-permanent makeup technique that creates the illusion of fuller, more defined brows. It involves using a cosmetic tattoo pen to make small incisions that deposit pigment into the skin in hair-like strokes that mimic the natural brow. Unlike regular tattoos, microblading is considered ‘semi-permanent’ because it only penetrates the superficial layers of skin. Results typically fade over the course of one to three years, depending on a myriad of factors.
Waking up to expertly manicured brows every morning is a dream come true for many, and microblading can offer that. Even so, a positive outcome is not a given. As with any aesthetic treatment or procedure, you need to do the proper research, establish you are a candidate, and find the right provider. Since you likely stumbled upon this article as part of your research, we’re here to explain five things to consider before booking a microblading appointment.
1. Microblading Isn’t for Everyone
Let’s not forget that microblading is a semi-permanent face tattoo. Just like traditional tattoos aren’t for everyone, neither is microblading. For starters, you’ll want to consider your skin type. “While microblading can be an excellent option for almost anyone, certain skin types definitely benefit more from this procedure than others,” says Shaughnessy Otsuji, a celebrity cosmetic tattoo artist and founder of Studio Sashiko.
As she explains, those with normal to dry skin that “isn’t very reactive or sensitive” are the “perfect” candidates for microblading. “This skin type often yields the most crisp healed results,” Otsuji notes. If you are someone with oilier skin, the treatment can still work – though there are some things to keep in mind. “If you have oily skin and larger pores, microblading can heal softer, more diffused and may fade quickly due to a higher cell turnover rate,” she says.
Certain skin conditions also need to be taken into account. “Skin with rosacea, irritation, and allergies should be approached delicately, as to not overwork the area and cause more damage with tattooing,” Otsuji cautions. Her advice? “It's always a good idea to check in with your dermatologist or health professional if you have any skin concerns before proceeding with microblading.” Furthermore, if you are pregnant, nursing, taking Accutane or blood thinners, now is not the time for microblading.
Just as you should consider your skin type, you’ll also want to evaluate the state of your natural brows. “It’s a very important fact to consider,” says Hibba Kapil, a microblading specialist and founder of Hibba Beauty Studios in New York City. Microblading alone may be enough for some to achieve their dream brows, but, for others, alternative treatments or a combination of modalities may yield the best results. “If you have a good amount of brows of your own and you're just looking to enhance them, then powder brows are a good idea,” Kapil shares. “It’ll give you an illusion of fuller brows.” On the contrary, “if you have no brows, a classic case of alopecia, or are post-chemo, we have to do a combo of powder and microblading,” she continues.
2. Microblading Is an Art
In a lot of ways, our recommendations for finding the right microblading technician are similar to our advice for finding the right plastic surgeon. It’s a multifactorial process that includes vetting training, credentials, and experience (more on that below) and finding someone that shares your aesthetic. Like aesthetic medicine, microblading is an art form. Each cosmetic tattoo artist will have their own unique style and technique. With that in mind, “one of the most important things to look for in a microblading artist is a body of work that you love,” Otsuji says.
This will require you to be clear about your style, too. “If you prefer clean, sharp, defined brows, choose an artist who specializes in this style,” she explains. “If you are a fan of big, fluffy, natural-looking brows, be sure to go with someone who is skilled in this technique.” Kapil agrees. “If you want natural brows, make your artist aware of it,” she says. “If you want the ‘makeup’ look, let them know.” The treatment can usually be catered to your preferences. “Oftentimes, we dilute the ink for a softer look,” Kapil notes. “For the makeup look, we won't dilute it.”
This is not the time to skip the research step. Otsuji recommends looking at many artists' portfolios before deciding on someone – and not just any before and after photo will do. “Check their portfolio for healed brow pics,” Kapil says. “Everything looks great right away, but, in three weeks, we know the actual truth.” You can also read client testimonials and reviews. “This person will be tattooing your face, so it is important to choose someone who you admire and trust,” Otsuji emphasizes.
3. Credentials & Experience Matters
So, you’ve found a microblading artist whose aesthetic you love. What’s next? “It's important to research the studio and artist you will be seeing so that you are familiar and comfortable with their tattoo style and level of expertise,” Otsuji shares. As she explains, artists should be skill certified, health certified, insured, and licensed as per their city or county's requirements. Health board regulations and tattoo licensing requirements are readily available to the public. Furthermore, “make sure your artist has received adequate skill training as well as sterile procedures and blood borne pathogens training appropriate to their area,” she adds.
Specialization also matters. “Just like in traditional tattooing, cosmetic tattoo artists will each have different styles and techniques that they specialize in,” Otsuji says. Needless to say, the techniques in their repertoire should factor into your decision. “It's good to know in depth what technique they are good with,” Kapil explains. “Some people are experts in microblading, while others are experts in powder.”
From there, it’s all about experience. “The artist's tattoo experience is helpful information to know,” Otsuji notes. “The more clients they have worked with, the more variety of skin types and concerns they have dealt with.” This expertise doesn’t happen overnight. “It takes many years for any tattoo artist to master every skin type,” she says. “So, if you are concerned if microblading is right for you, reach out to an experienced professional for a consultation first.”
During a consultation, Kapil says you can also learn what type of ink they use, their preferred needle size, and how topical anesthetics factor into treatment. It’ll also give you a better sense of bedside manner. “It’s also a personality thing,” she shares. “It’s always a nice idea to look for pleasant personalities because the mapping part requires lots of patience.”
4. Plan Ahead to Maximize Microblading Results
You’ve determined your a candidate for microblading, found the perfect provider, and either booked your appointment or are getting ready to – congratulations! In order to have the smoothest experience and get the best results, there are a few things you can do ahead of time to prepare:
- Stay Hydrated: “It is recommended to stay hydrated and avoid alcohol, too much caffeine, and blood thinners prior to your appointment,” Otsuji says.
- Schedule Strategically: Kapil says it is best to avoid Botox®, laser treatments, and trips to the sauna prior to your microblading treatment.
- Go Au Naturel: “It's good to leave the brows fuller and let the artist shape them,” Kapil shares.
- Bring Inspiration: “During your microblading appointment, your artist will work with you to design and create the style of brows that works best for you,” Otsuji explains. “It's a good idea to bring reference images of eyebrows that you like to aid in the consultation process.”
- Build Your Recovery Kit: Aftercare instructions vary by artist, but you may need to pick up some gentle skincare. “Aftercare can be wet or dry depending on the artist,” Kapil says. “I do wet healing where my clients wash with Cetaphil and put on an ointment.”
- Factor in a Follow-Up: “After six to eight weeks, a second session or touch-up appointment can be done to build the brow's density further and add more pigment to areas if needed,” Otsuji notes.
5. Final Results Take Time
Microblading results are not immediate, so make sure you build the healing process into your timeline — especially if you are planning to debut your new brows at a special event. Healing can take anywhere from four to six weeks, during which you may experience minor redness and swelling (particularly in the first 48 hours). “It is important to frequently blot away any excess moisture, oil, and lymph fluid that builds up in the brow area to prevent too much scabbing,” Otsuji explains. “Mild dryness and peeling will occur, but it is essential that you do not pick or scratch the area during this time.”
Another tip? Don’t plan to head from your microblading appointment to the beach. Otsuji says to avoid sweating, swimming, suntanning, saunas, and steam rooms for two weeks while the microblading heals and settles into the skin. “Excess moisture to the area can cause premature pigment loss and undesirable results,” she cautions.
At the end of the day, a bit of patience is key. “Go in with the understanding that it will take two weeks to heal and will go through its phases,” Kapil says. “And don’t forget the touch up!”
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