Some people pride themselves on taking fashion risks or trying different delicacies from around the world. I pride myself on trying unknown beauty treatments, products, and services before they become mainstream. I hopped on microblading, for example, before it was a trend. People were curious about it — who doesn't want dream brows? — but it wasn't a service widely offered. In late 2016, I visited a popular microblading salon that plenty of celebrities had visited in LA, and I was eager to see if I could achieve the same eyebrow nirvana.
Brows have always been a sore spot in my beauty routine. Having had ptosis surgery as a child, I have scars hidden beneath the hairs, which has stopped more from growing. Getting my arches to look like sisters as opposed to cousins thrice-removed was always a struggle, so I knew that even if I wasn't 100 percent thrilled with my brows after the service, it'd be better than what I was dealing with.
I've already offered up the things I wish I knew before I got microbladed, and now, almost two years later, I'm breaking down the pros and cons of the treatment.
You spend less time getting ready in the morning. Some microbladed brows might be good to go without any additional product, but even if you do choose to fill it in, the shape is already laid out for you. So it's less about geometry and more about painting the face.
They frame your face 24/7.
Having your brows done makes you look more awake, and in some cases, younger. I can run an errand and feel put together without a stitch of makeup on, because my face is properly framed.
It's more affordable than ever.
When I got my brows microbladed, the price was astronomical. But it was one of the only places offering the service at the time. Now, so many people are trained in the service that it's relatively easy to find an affordable technician in your area. Microblading Map is a useful resource that was created to help pinpoint professionals in your area, due to the rising popularity of the service.
The colour fades.
I have combination skin, and I was warned that the oil may make my brows fade quicker than expected (it's suggested you get microbladed every 18 months to two years). My brows were initially too dark for my hair and skin tone, and the hair strokes I had right after my service were long gone by the six month mark. I much prefer how they look: they're softer, lighter, and while some areas have faded, I still have the shape to help guide me when filling them in.
There's room for user error.
When you get microbladed, there are a ton of after-care rules you must adhere to. These aren't negotiable — one screw up could compromise how your brows heal and look long-term, and you could potentially spend more money fixing your brows because of mistakes you made during those first four weeks. Just make sure your brows don't get soaked with water or sweat, and to apply ointment when necessary. Scabbing and shedding is natural, so don't pick the area or panic.
Not all technicians are created equal.
Anyone can throw photos they've stolen on their Instagram or website and call themselves an expert, so do your research. Yelp is a great way to investigate brow artists, and your technician should have no problems showing your their licence or revealing where they trained. If you feel uneasy after your consultation or before your appointment, don't go through with it
You might still have to fill in your brows.
Microblading isn't inexpensive by any means, and it takes dedication — not just for the appointment, but for all the maintenance afterwards. That's why, if they aren't perfect even after they've healed, it can feel like a ripoff. After my first appointment and a follow-up, I still had to fill in my brows. The ink didn't take to a small area, and the shape of looked patchy, so I routinely created hair strokes with a pencil. Be realistic with your expectations.
I mentioned that the ink fades over time, which is true. But my brows were bold for a full year before I noticed any pigmentation wear away. This can be great if you're in love with the shape and look of your brows. Otherwise, it can be upsetting. You can remove the pigment, but it's costly, which can be discourageing when you just spent money to get your brows done. If you're unhappy with your brows, talk to your technician about your options. Just be sure to read the fine print on any forms you fill out — refunds tend to be rare.
One day after my second appointment, December 2016