Eyebrows microbladed – 10 things to know before trying tattooed brows

Feel slightly terrified, yet intrigued by the idea of having your eyebrows microbladed?

Woman looking in the mirror at her eyebrows
(Image credit: Getty images)

We get it. If you'd asked us a few years back about having our eyebrows microbladed, and semi-permanent makeup on our face, our reply would have been a stern no. But things have changed. 

Even the best tweezers and the best eyebrow pencils can't create such effortless, lasting eyebrows. And since the late '70s, when it was first invented, the technique of microblading your brows has come a long way. Artistry skills have improved, and the effects are now unbelievably natural. 

Along with eyebrow lamination (opens in new tab) and eyebrow tinting (opens in new tab) eyebrow microblading has become so mainstream that you probably know at least one or two people that have had it done, and you wouldn't even guess it. Even Helen Mirren admits she loved having it done, telling the Daily Mail, "They're very lightly and delicately done – but it means that when I get up in the morning, and I have no makeup on, at least I have eyebrows. It's made a huge difference."

Whether you've overplucked your arches or the strands in your brows have started to deplete, creating a few fine lines to fill in the gaps can make a world of difference to your face. 

And who wouldn't want to skip the faff of having to draw your brows on delicately each day?

But, as with every major beauty treatment that you try, it's important to find out the facts before you book in. So, we've done the legwork for you. 

 Is microblading permanent?

No. Even if you visit the best place for microblading, the effect will only ever be temporary, and if you're feeling unsure, you'll probably be happy to hear that that's the case. 

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How long does microblading last?

This depends on your skin type – if you have an oiler complexion, then the effects will fade a little more quickly, lasting around 12 months. Those with standard skin types can expect microblading to last up to 18 months.  

Is microblading a tattoo?

Kind of. Technically speaking, microblading is classified as semi-permanent make-up. The tool used in the treatment can create thinner and more precise strokes than a regular tattoo gun. Microblading also doesn't penetrate to the deeper layers of your skin, and instead uses extremely fine needles that gently scratch the surface. The effect left on the skin is a lot softer than traditional tattoo artistry, which is why it's so hard to tell if someone has had it done. 

Does microblading hurt?

After your patch test and the discussion of eyebrow shapes and shades, every microblading treatment should start with the application of numbing cream. This should stay on for approximately 40 minutes and will help to alleviate any pain or discomfort. You should expect to feel a small scratching sensation, but this is more a feeling of being uncomfortable than actual pain.  

"It's usually dependant on one's threshold", says brow expert Suman Jalaf of Suman Brows. She adds, "Don't do the procedure if you're PMSing on the day but honestly most of my clients say it's the sound of the microblading scratching that they don't like, rather than reporting any pain. I can understand this, so I say to bring headphones so you can listen to your music while I work. If you're worried, you can take paracetamol (and no other pain relief) 20 minutes before your treatment."

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Is microblading safe?

It's completely natural to worry about something going wrong; it is your face after all. The procedure of microblading is generally straightforward; however, as with most beauty treatments, there are always risks involved. 

You must have a patch test before your treatment to check for skin reactions and allergies, and your technician will organise this. 

The skin around the eyes and brows is susceptible and prone to irritation, so it's essential to choose a reputable artist and make sure they are working in a professional and sterile environment. Always check their training and that they have a licence to practice. 

Who is microblading for?

Suman says, "Microblading isn't only reserved for thin, sparse brows. Even if you've been blessed with naturally full arches, microblading can enhance what's already there. But the results are especially remarkable on those with thin brows, and can be nearly life-changing for people who suffer from alopecia or who have had chemotherapy."

Who should avoid microblading?

It may not be a good idea if you have sensitive skin. Suman says, "I'm afraid it's not for you if you suffer from a condition like rosacea, eczema, shingles or rashes. You shouldn't have microblading if you're taking blood thinners or Roaccutane, or if you're having chemotherapy. 

"It's also not suitable if you have diabetes, or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding."

What is the aftercare advice for microblading?

You will be given strict yet straightforward guidelines to follow, like not getting your brows wet for 24 hours after the procedure. And no tanning, swimming or sweating for a week – a great excuse to skip the gym. 

It is normal to experience a bit of flakiness when your brows are healing, and using a small amount of natural coconut oil is excellent for soothing itchy skin.

How often do you need to have microblading done?

Top-ups are usually somewhere between three and six months apart. 

What you need to do before having microblading?

Try and avoid taking fish oil supplements, vitamin E and ibuprofen, as they can thin the blood and increase bleeding, bruising and scarring. 

It's also a good idea to avoid alcohol and caffeine. And put the tweezers away, as it's much better for your technician to do that on the day rather than creating sensitivity a few days before.

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What is microshading?

Many technicians use a combination of brow techniques to create different looks and shapes. One of the most popular methods used alongside microblading is microshading. Microshading uses a machine to pinpoint colour and create a powdery-like finish. To achieve a natural finish, it is common for microblading to be done on the beginning to middle of the brows to create feathered strokes and microshading on the tails of the brow, where you might want a fuller-looking effect.  

All about beauty, Lydia House has been writing about creams and complexions for over a decade. Contributing to titles such as Women’s Health, Grazia, Stylist and The Evening Standard, Lydia also uses her vast knowledge of the industry to consult leading health and beauty brands like Rituals, Tisserand and The Inkey List. Spending her working life obsessing over ingredients and formulas, Lydia believes that feeding your skin from within is just, if not more important, than the lotions you slather on. And even with a busy life and work schedule, she will always find the time to fit in a pampering session (or two).