Microblading is a cosmetic tattooing technique but unlike tattoos which are permanent fittings on the eyebrow, this is semi-permanent.
What is Microblading?
It is a non-invasive procedure wherein a handheld blade or a pen-like tool equipped with a set of microneedles (which are usually 7 to 16 in quantity in various configurations) is used to incise the dermal epidermal junction and deposit pigments. It is used to reconstruct, define, cover gaps, or even create an entire brow.
According to Renee Lee, CEO and master artist and trainer at Le Kitsuné, a brow studio in New York City, microblading is essentially like a tattoo but the pigment is not injected as deep. The microneedles used can “realistically mimic brow hairs by creating thin strokes” that blend in more naturally with your existing brows.
The term “microblading” was first coined and introduced in 1979 by Dr. Linda Dixon and first gained attention 25 years ago in Asia. In 2015, it started to rise in popularity outranking “permanent makeup” in terms of google searches which signify a more dedicated audience and a growing interested number of individuals who want to know more about this relatively new technique. Although, it has already entered the Korean and Singaporean market in 2005 and the US market in 2010. It peaked in business in 2017.
But it’s semi-permanent… So what's the hype?
Although microblading is categorized as “permanent makeup”, it doesn’t last forever and the color will fade. Surprisingly (or maybe not), this is actually the main part of why many have been quickly attracted to the procedure. Even celebrities like Bella Thorne and Sandra Oh have publicly endorsed microblading.
Fun fact is that the artist who performed the procedure on Bella is Júlia Faria Elmassian, apprentice of world champion microblader Lindsey Ta Brender.
The actress took to snapchat to share her experience and many have been intrigued enough to try out the procedure themselves.
There is a variety of opinions on how long microblading lasts but it generally falls on a healthy range of 12 months to 24 months while some say that it can last up to 36 months or three years. It definitely lasts long enough for it to be considered a worthwhile investment which usually ranges from $250 (for beginner artists) to $2000 (experienced artists operating in large fashion industry areas).
For at least a year that you get to keep your microbladed eyebrow and given that you have done it at the hefty $2000 price, you’re just spending a minimum $5.50 each day and you save 15-20 minutes of your time every morning!
There will be additional costs on upkeep done every 12-15 months but the cost is minimal at $200-$300.
Aside from those mentioned above, this procedure has been receiving hype because its semi-permanent feature allows it to put on a new brow style every once in a while to come and go with the trends. It has a short recovery period, low risk, and low maintenance as well.
How long does it really last?
While it may last two to three years, the result will still differ depending on the person as well as their reaction to the ink. There is also the factor of complying to the mandatory touch-up session (usually scheduled 6-8 weeks after the initial treatment), after-care instructions, and careful maintenance of the eyebrows to ensure its longevity.
Here are some biological factors that affect the longevity of microblading.
Skin type plays a major role on how long microblading can last as it is the primary biological factor that dictates how much of the pigment is retained. Dryer skins tend to hold the pigment longer while oily ones retain only 85% of the pigment before touching up as the oil pushes out the pigment out of the skin.
Although this is a biological factor, there is a way to still manage and ensure the longevity of the procedure. According to Lee, “You’ll want to keep the eyebrow area clear of oil build-up and moist for best healing. This usually means people with drier skin need to stay on top of moisturizing and avoiding overexposure to water, and those with oily skin need to keep the area clean of excess oil build-up.”
Age is also a definitive measure. Microblading on older people tends to fade away quicker than younger ones.
Hormonal imbalance also plays a role as “estrogen dominance might impact skin pigmentation.”
Existing medical conditions like diabetes can complicate the healing process as well as increase the risk of infection.
While these are factors that cannot be controlled, there are also controllable ones.
First, make sure to do a touch up session after 6-8 weeks to manage the fading of the brow. The initial treatment will leave the eyebrows dark and will fade over a period of time. According to Dr. Caroline Chang, board-certified dermatologist and member of the Prevential Medical Review Board 2019, “I always recommend staying ahead of the fading curve, meaning coming in right before brows start to fade.” This is to give an insight about how your brows respond so that tweaks can be made.
Second, adhere to the after care instructions.
For the first 24 hours, blot the brow every hour using sterile gauze and distilled water to remove excess lymph fluids.
For the next days while it heals, you can wash your eyebrows using your fingertip with antibacterial soap.
Apply minimum moisturizing ointment.
No swimming or long shower for the next 7-10 days and keep the face clean of any makeup or chemical peels you use for your skincare routine.
As much as possible, avoid any direct sunlight or tanning for a month to ensure that it heals properly.
Don’t pick the scabs and just let the wounds heal naturally.
Third, maintain it by applying minimum ointment and refraining from harsh chemical peels. You can always coordinate with your artist for your next touch up sessions.
Is Microblading Worth It?
Microblading is a very worthy investment as it alleviates you of the extra stress in the morning while giving you the extra minutes to sleep as well. But do take necessary precautions and check with your doctor before undergoing the procedure.
And last but not the least, it will definitely last long enough as long as you take good care of it!