I've always had bushy brows, but as I've gotten older, the beginning and tail end of my arches have definitely thinned out. This is normal, experts say, but it's not the look I'm going for. Cue me seeking out a more permanent solution, because I'm o-v-e-r filling in my arches with a brow pencil every freaking day.
To be clear, I know that it doesn't take hours to do your eyebrows—and I know that I write about beauty for a living and know exactly how to get your best brows ever—but now that I have a daughter, I just don't have the time to do all the steps to end up looking like a version of Cara Delevingne.
My most recent brow regimen consisted of Thrive Causemetics EyeBrow Gel (it's legit the easiest to swipe on and has amazingly true pigment aka doesn't leave your arches ashy), but I was even forgetting to put that on daily because I'd just spent the morning feeding, changing Della's diaper, putting her in an outfit, and then brushing my teeth and hair, doing my simple skincare routine, and dressing myself (I'm tired just listing all that stuff).
Doing my brows just started falling lower and lower down the priority list. Until one of my close editor friends, Julie Schott, who is also v into her brows told me about microblading and also introduced me to the queen of it: Piret Aava, makeup artist, certified esthetician, and cosmetic tattoo specialist, who's known as the eyebrow doctor. My mornings (and life, in general) were immediately changed forever; allow me to explain.
Okay, so what is microblading exactly?
Manual microblading is a form of semi-permanent tattooing that involves using tiny, fine-point needles (instead of a tattoo gun) that make up a small disposable blade and handle (think: a very small rat-tail comb-looking tool) that helps scratch and deposit pigment simultaneously under your skin.
I'm not going to lie, I was kind of nervous about the whole semi-permanent part of this procedure (I'm a Libra, hence I'm indecisive), but at the beginning of my appointment, Piret reassured me that'd she'd draw in my brows first to make sure I was into them. Plus, Julie's looked amazing, so I knew I was in good hands.
The cool thing about microblading that I learned from Piret is that you can have zero brows, blonde ultra-faint brows, have lost your brows due to alopecia, or just need a little help filling your arches in (me!)—either way, she's got you and will legit create the appearance of naturally full, timeless-looking brows. She even creates a custom colour that matches your natural brow colour and uses several shades, so they look multidimensional and ~real~. Don't believe me? Check the receipts on her IG or watch my personal transformation (below the Insta):[instagram]https://www.instagram.com/p/BK4aPFIj4nc/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading[/instagram] [instagram]https://www.instagram.com/p/B2pwSIfBuWS/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading[/instagram]
Here's my full microblading experience (buckle up, it's an hour)!
What goes into microblading, though, and how does it differ from tattooing?
To start, Piret asked me what I wanted to achieve with this experience. I told her I wanted my brows by better and longer since brows are my thing. She then began to outline my arches, creating the shape that she would eventually work within when she began microblading them. She continued to explain that she'd be using a state-of-the-art hand tool that lets her create a thinner, more precise, hair-like strokes that aren’t as deeply ingrained into the skin (compared to, say, hair-like strokes created by a tattoo gun). These strokes also come out looking more refined because she has so much control.
After she explained what she was about to do, it was time to lie down on her very sterile, hospital-looking bed. She immediately started creating the tiny superficial cuts in and along my brow, and then deposited a pigment over my arches so it would seep into the hair-like wounds she had just created. The pigment differs from that of a tattoo, as well, because 1) it's only semi-permanent because your body eventually ends up metabolizing it and 2) the dye particles are less concentrated than a tattoo's ink. Note: I realize this all sounds super painful, but I promise it's not; if you've ever gotten your eyebrows threaded, microblading feels pretty similar.
The whole procedure took about an hour, and it was finally time for me to stand up and take a look at the finished product. Here's my reaction—you can decide whether or not I was immediately obsessed!
How long does microblading last?
Piret explained to me that microblading usually lasts around one to three years, but that I'd be coming back in four weeks for a touch-up/check-in to make sure I was happy with the end result. After that, I wouldn't need a touch-up for 12 months (these appointments also cost less than the initial price of microblading).
How much does microblading cost?
Speaking of $$, if you want to see Piret, save up. An appointment with her costs $2,000, which includes an initial touch-up that's baked into the cost—but if you're ALWAYS doing your brows and HATE IT, it's worth it. Yes, you can get microbladed for less but, in general, microblading isn't cheap—expect to shell out anywhere from $500 to $2,000. (That said, brow products aren't cheap either and your time is precious, and this, my friend, will save you a lot of time, since you won't have to do your eyebrows anymore.)
Cut back to my appointment/experience: Before I skipped out of her super-clinical office, she made sure to go over the "aftercare" with me. "Do NOT get your brows wet or sweat profusely for a week," she told me, "and if you do work out, cover them with ointment!" This is to protect the pigment and keep the cuts clean and bacteria-free. She also told me to use an antibacterial ointment on my brows for the first 24 hours, and then a Vaseline-like ointment for a week, not to pick any scabs that form from the tiny cuts, and to avoid using any glycolic acids since they could fade the pigments. Post microblading masterclass, I took about 100 selfies and went off to spread the gospel it to all who would listen.
Honestly, since getting my brows done, I love waking up and just having to dot on concealer (hi, acne...feel free to go away any day now). It's just so cool that microblading helps people reach their #BrowGoals, whether they're starting with a little or a lot of hair. That, and I never have to use another brow product again if I don't want to!
That said, if you're still hesitant about microblading or don't have a brow artist near you that you trust, Piret recommends Kevyn Aucoin's brow pencil because the formula isn't waxy and its fine point helps you create hair-like strokes, as well as her brow gel (it comes in clear, brunette and blonde), which creates a stiffer hold that keeps your hairs in place.