As we all know, there are a dizzying number of brow products and services at our disposal to help us achieve lush and thick brows. But one treatment has recently taken the beauty industry by storm—microblading, the process of tattooing tiny brow hairs with a needle. A minimalist with my beauty routine, I decided to try the service at a comfy beauty salon nestled in Hyattsville. Microblading is a semi-permanent tattoo technique used to create the illusion of fuller brows, explains Lucy Murrell, owner of Laveda Lash and Brow Boutique, after I settle into one of the salon’s cozy chairs.
“With this method, we create almost any look or shape, from a very natural light finish to a beautifully bold brow,” she says.
So, what should you expect out of the whole procedure, which can take up to two hours? Let me break down how it went for me.
Prep time: Before my appointment, I was given a list of instructions from my technician: Do not pick, tweeze, wax or have electrolysis one week prior. Do not use sunbeds or leisure in direct sunlight two weeks before. It’s also important not to have a facial or peel two weeks before. Finally, stop using retinol or certain vitamins—A and E or fish oil—as these are natural blood thinners.
Now, onto the day of: It is suggested that clients refrain from drinking alcohol or taking aspirin or ibuprofen at least 24 hours before their appointment, again because of the blood thinners. I also was told not to exercise on the day of treatment, as sweat can push the pigment out and cause the microblading strokes not to retain. In preparation, I also had to arrive for my appointment without any makeup, with my skin cleansed but not packed with heavy moisturizers or oil-based products.
Go time: At the salon, Murrell recommended the best brow shape for my face and then helped me choose a color that matches my natural hair color and skin undertone. Then, she used tools to begin measuring the area around the brows, taking into account my face shape, symmetry and facial features. My brow area was then cleaned, shaped and numbed for the treatment—this took approximately 25 minutes.
Treatment: Next Murrell began the needling process, gently implanting a medical grade pigment via featherweight strokes. No actual tattoo machine is used. She used a little handheld tool to draw my new brows manually. It doesn’t actually penetrate the skin but just delicately scratches the surface, much like a paper cut. If you feel any discomfort at this stage, the technician will add another quick layer of numbing cream to the area—in my case, three. Lastly, an ointment will be applied to help with the healing process.
Aftercare tips: The most important product you should stock up on after treatment is sunscreen. Like with other tattoos, sunscreen helps extend the longevity of your brows and prevent fading. Do not get your brows wet for at least a week while they heal, and don’t use any makeup for at least a week. Once the skin is mended, it’s OK to go back to your normal routine. You’ll also need to avoid any picking or scratching, as you can damage your new brows. Throughout the process, they will change color, become flaky and look like they’ve faded, but this is normal. They’ll reveal their final color and shape after a month.
Clients—aka me—are also encouraged to schedule a follow-up appointment four to six weeks after to make sure they are satisfied with the results or if they need little tweaks. Microbladed brows can last anywhere from one to three years, depending on your skin type (the ink fades quicker on oily skin) and products and lifestyle. It’s also not the same as getting your brows waxed or threaded. Laveda Lash Boutique charges up to $450 for each treatment, but prices can vary based on a technician’s experience level and location.
FINAL THOUGHTS: For those searching for a more permanent solution to improving the appearance of their brows and are not afraid of a little needle to do so, microblading is a great option. This has been by far one of my favorite beauty procedures, and when it wears off after a year or two, I will continue with the process.