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Microblading: What it is and isn't

While regularly highlighted in numerous beauty magazines, blogs and social media, endorsed by the rich and famous, and searched across the internet, microblading still seems to be exceedingly misunderstood. The goal of this article is to provide factual unbiased information to help you understand what microblading really is, and what it is not.

What is microblading?

Simply, microblading is an eyebrow tattoo that differs from traditional tattooing in only one way – pigment is implanted by making a series of fine incisions to create the impression of individual hairs. The pigment is manually implanted into the dermis with a configuration of sterile disposable needles affixed to a handle.

The microblading method, while not new, has continued to evolve with new techniques introduced such as microfeathering – microblading with a lighter touch focused on adding just a little to the brows' existing shape, and ombré or microshading, which mimics the look of brow makeup with a more obviously filled-in look instead of hair-like strokes.

Microblading offers natural looking and defined eyebrows.  

This intent of microblading is to create natural-looking fill for thin eyebrow areas to make them look fuller, or to completely reshape, frame and add color to shapeless eyebrows.

The quality of the eyebrows will depend on the quality of the job, which supports the necessity of choosing a licensed and skilled artist.

Depending on the location and artist expertise the procedure can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,400. Lower price options might be available, but it is vital to avoid inexperienced, unlicensed technicians.

Is it semi-permanent?

By definition and tattoo industry standards, color is implanted into the dermis of the skin. If pigment particles do not reach the dermis, they will disappear during the healing phase of the skin, during normal regeneration of cells at the epidermal level. 

Naturally, pigments in the skin do fade over time, but that doesn’t make the process semi-permanent. There’s no way to predict how much pigment will fade away and how long it will take. Typically the results can last anywhere from 1 to 3 years, so touch-ups may be necessary to maintain the desired look.

How long does it last?

Final results cannot be guaranteed as each unique skin type will hold pigments differently and break down at different rates. You should expect that touch-ups are needed. However, the frequency of touch-ups depends on a number of factors including: skin type, pigment selection, lifestyle (sun exposure, smoking, acidic skincare products, etc), iron deficiency (your body absorbs iron-oxide as a supplement), chemical peels, etc.

An annual color refresh is recommended to keep your eyebrows looking their best.

Why doesn't microblading last as long as other eyebrow permanent makeup techniques?

This is simply because a much smaller amount of pigment is inserted into the dermis as compared to fully or solidly filled eyebrow tattoos.  Like all tattoos, the pigment will fade over time.  There is no guarantee in how long it last as each individual has very different skin and lifestyle. 


How do I know if microblading is the right technique for me?

You won’t without some expert guidance. It’s easy to think of this as a superficial procedure, but it’s a face tattoo, it’s not like getting eyelash extensions. The last thing you want is to jump on a trend, especially if the shape of your brow fluctuates.

How to choose where to get the procedure?

It’s important to remember that microblading involves breaking into the skin, and infections are possible if untrained people practice under unhygienic conditions. 

Do the research.  Where is the procedure being carried out? Is it clean? Does it look sanitary? Who is the person doing the procedure? Are they licensed? What is their training? How much experience do they have? What kind of reviews do they have? Do they have a before and after portfolio?

Someone with accreditation from either from the American Academy of Micropigmentation or the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SPCP) is likely to have more credibility and training in permanent makeup or microblading as members are required to have continuing education to maintain the credential.

Both organizations are also good starting points for locating licensed and skilled technicians and estheticians.

Once you've decided the microblading technique is what you want, schedule a consultation with the permanent makeup artist. This is a great opportunity to ask more specific questions and review their portfolio. This appointment is time and money well spent.