Microblading Treatment

Microblading for the eyebrows is a semi-permanent procedure whereby tiny needles create scratches and deposit colorful pigment in the skin to provide the look of fuller brows, similar to the eyebrow tattooing process. Microblading is also used on the hairline and scalp with pigment that emulates the look of real hair.

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Medically Reviewed by William A. Kennedy III, MDLast Reviewed 01.23.2019

What is Microblading for the Eyebrows, Scalp, and Hairline?

Microblading has grown into such a popular procedure that more than 5.3 million posts on Instagram use the hashtag #microblading. More commonly performed on the eyebrows, microblading for the hairline and scalp is also a growing trend seen on Instagram. So what exactly is microblading and how can the semi-permanent makeup technique help people look better as well as appear healthier and more youthful?

Microblading is a semi-permanent way that technicians transform sparse eyebrows, scalps and hairlines by making them appear thicker and fuller with fine hairstrokes that mimic the natural look of a plentiful amount of hair. When model and actress Cara Delevingne burst onto the scene with her signature lush and full brows as her most prominent facial feature, the star's bushy brow area created a big demand for thick eyebrow hairs from both men and women seeking methods to make their own eyebrows look better. Social media posts about the "eyebrow doctor" Piret Aava and Kendra Bray - an eyebrow specialist at Better Brows NYC - made fashionistas want to toss their brow gels and get their eyebrows microbladed instead.

There are two main methods of microblading. One involves using a hand-held tool to create little scratches in the surface of the skin as pigment is applied to the scratches and surrounding skin in order to copy the random, sweeping patterns of natural hairs. The second microblading procedure uses a motorized electric pen tool, which drives the color deeper into the dermis, helping the pigment to remain for a longer period of time.

The microblading technician next allows the pigment to sit for awhile before wiping off the excess color. Based on the method used, microblading sessions may last from 30 minutes up to three hours for the initial session.

Microblading vs. Permanent Eyebrow Tattoos

Semi-permanent cosmetic procedures such as microblading, as well as permanent makeup processes like cosmetic tattooing, are referred to online by many different names for some of the same techniques. Microblading is sometimes called eyebrow tattooing, even though microblading is not permanent like tattoos for eyebrows.

Microblading pigment versus eyebrow tattoo ink Microblading differs from eyebrow tattooing in several ways. While microblading employs a temporary pigment that fades into a lighter version of the same shade in one to three years, eyebrow tattooing fades into a greenish-blue color, similar to tattoo ink. It’s for this reason that microblading emerged as a popular procedure, since the odd hues that eyebrow tattooing can produce as the ink fades was less desired by consumers.

Microblading can appear more natural-looking than eyebrow tattoos In the hands of a qualified technician, microblading results can appear much more natural than eyebrow tattoos. With hair strokes that look like real individual brow hairs, microblading lets clients alter the shape of their brows more readily via touch-ups and sport a more realistic brow appearance than the thick blocky look of permanent eyebrow tattoos.

In spite of the differences between microblading and permanent eyebrow tattooing, both procedures require similar healing times of approximately four to six weeks. However, microblading offers an easier solution for rectifying any hair strokes that you’re not pleased with, since they aren’t permanently tattooed to the brow. Mistakes don’t have to be lasered off with microblading.

The many names of microblading and other eyebrow procedures Also known as eyebrow embroidery and micropigmentation, microblading applications are dubbed 3D, 4D, and 6D eyebrows - as well as feathering, etching, hair strokes and powder-fill brows.

The difference between 3D, 4D, and 6D eyebrows resides in the desired look to be achieved. The 3D eyebrow embroidery process creates hair strokes with a machine to create a full brow with bold and dark hair strokes. Alternately, 6D eyebrow embroidery utilizes blades thin and tiny enough to emulate fine hair strokes.

Feathered eyebrows use rows of needles, with the name of the process used interchangeably with etching. Powder-fill brows, however, are eyebrows designed to look less like individual hair strokes and more like solid eyebrows for a vintage makeup look.

Whereas a cosmetic tattoo artist offers permanent solutions to create everything from Meghan Markle inspired cheek freckles to realistic nipples for breast cancer survivors, microblading experts focus on making hair-like strokes that appear as eyebrow hairs or as the natural baby hairs decorating pretty hairlines. Microblading and micropigmentation also provides the appearance of a five o'clock shadow on those who suffer from hair-pulling afflictions like trichotillomania or androgenic alopecia.

According to the Daily Mail, "digital microblading" is a process of using semi-permanent eyebrow ink to fill in bare brow areas. A similar process performed by medical tattoo artists allows balding men and women to enjoy the appearance of short hair seemingly growing fresh from their scalps. The digital microblade is the motorized tool that is reportedly just as gentle on the skin as the hand-held tool.

The Microblading Process: What to Expect

Prior to the microblading session, the client should not consume blood thinners like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), niacin or vitamin E - unless their blood thinner prescription is medically necessary - for approximately 48 to 72 hours prior to their microblading sessions, since blood thinners can affect blood clotting.

Microblading procedures should begin with a consultation that covers the type of hairline or eyebrow shapes, sizes and hair fullness that the client desires to compliment their specific facial features. Eyebrow or hairline outlines are next drawn on the skin as a guide.

After the customer’s approval is granted, a numbing cream is generally used atop the client’s natural permanent eyebrows, hairline or scalp prior to the clinician employing a handheld tool to make one little scratch after the next, using the creativity of a makeup artist to transform bare brows and scant hairlines into more aesthetically pleasing looks.

Is microblading safe? In the hands of a knowledgeable microblading specialist, the technique can be safe and beneficial for those seeking different brow aesthetics or updates to the scalp and brow area.

Does microblading hurt? Microblading techniques may cause a bit of pain for those who are sensitive to the handtool, but the topical numbing cream anesthetics used can make the microblading session more tolerable.

How Long Does Microblading Last?

Microblading is a semi-permanent make-up solution that might last anywhere from two to five years when eyebrows are microbladed with a motorized pen. The hand-tool method of microblading the brows may last from one to two years.

Scalp microblading results can last approximately 18 months, but varies by person. Clients often return for scalp microblading touch-ups every six to nine months.

Who is a Candidate for Microblading?

Both men and women in good health can enjoy the benefits of microblading, with the ideal candidates for microblading being those who are bothered by thin eyebrows, bare hairlines or bald scalp areas.

Who Should Not Receive Microblading?

Those who suffer from skin infections or keloid scars should avoid microblading, as well as pregnant or nursing women. Microblading is also not recommended for people who have taken Accutane, Isotretinoin, or other strong retinoids within the previous six months.

How Much Does Microblading for Eyebrows and the Scalp Cost?

Technicians can mimic the look of fuller brows and permanent makeup by charging anywhere from $500 to $800 or more for microblading sessions, though Groupon boasts eyebrow microblading deals of $199.

Hairline microblading treatments cost from $700 for portions of the temple area up to $1,600 for microblading the full hairline, according to the Evertrue Microblading Salon out of New York and Chicago.

Microblading Before and After

Certain activities and medications should be avoided prior to microblading sessions, such as tanning, getting Botox and eyebrow tinting. In the weeks following microblading, special care must be taken to prevent substances like lotions and soaps from touching the eyebrows and affected areas - while alcohol should be used to keep the brows and scalp clear of oil and sweat.

Microblading Aftercare, Healing and Recovery

The healing process after your microblading treatment involves keeping the treated area clean and dry. Sweat, sebum and water on the microbladed section can cause the wounds to swell, expand and scar, therefore the liquids should be minimized. Those with dry and oily skin should take special care to use skin-care products that won't aggravate the new hair-like strokes as the skin heals.

One week following microblading, the face and scalp can be washed as normal based on the skin type. Care should be taken not to scratch the microbladed skin until the area has healed, which can take up to four weeks.

The Pros and Cons of Microblading

Microblading fans love the way the process provides fuller eyebrows, fixes uneven brows and requires no daily eyebrow makeup to maintain the look of darker eyebrows. The results from a positive microblading session can greatly improve the countenance of someone who has suffered from thin to non-existent brows or hairlines, which can reveal a youthful appearance and increase self-esteem.

The cons of microblading treatments gone wrong include the possibility of infections or allergic reactions to the pigment. Those inexperienced with the microblading technique can create mismatched brows with little asymmetry. Microblading is a temporary process that requires multiple sessions, because the pigment fades. Scabbing can occur after microblading.

DIY Microblading Home Kits, Tools, and Supplies

Several do-it-yourself microblade kits are available on Amazon, which tempt users into creating their own hairstrokes in a self-directed microblading process. However, permanent cosmetic injuries - along with more serious damage - can occur when untrained hands use sharp microblading tools near their eyes and on their scalps.

Blondes must take special care to find a microblading specialist who knows how to match their brow color correctly to their skin tone, or else suffer the consequences of wanting to remove or hide their microblading results with concealer - something that is not recommended during the healing process.

Emerging trends like ombre microblading prove how popular the process has become. Ombre microblading is another name for powder brows, which offers a dark and subtle but full look to the eyebrows. The tails of the eyebrows are generally darker as they fade - hence, the “ombre” title - into lighter ends towards the middle, near the center where the eyebrows nearly meet. Ombre brows can last for a similar period of time as microbladed brows - from two to four years - but they can’t be created with microblades, only microblading needles.

Where Can I Find Microblading Specialists Near Me?

From New York to Phoenix to Los Angeles and plenty of points in between, those in search of microblading experts can have their pick of people who have been well-trained in copying the look of natural hair for the brows and beyond.

As reported by the New York City-based New York Times, fashion and beauty editor Soo-Young Kim noted that the best part of the trend toward lash extensions and microbladed brows is not merely the way they accentuate the eyes and frame the face with better brows, but "it's because they look amazing in photos and really make your eyes pop."

The beauty editor pegged the source of semi-permanent beauty techniques like microblading as deriving from South Korea, with the U.S. more recently adopting the trend.

Different Types of Microblading Treatment

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