It is a form of permanent makeup called microblading. It is used to create fuller eyebrows or to give definition to brows that have become sparse or virtually invisible due to loss of pigment and/or hairs.
Microblading has become today’s “must have” cosmetic enhancement procedure. Even though I had briefly written about this in a previous blog post (All Things Micro), I’d like to discuss it further since it is receiving so much public attention lately on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
Is it really new?
No. In reality, tattooed eyebrows have been around for years. Yet only a handful of permanent makeup artists were intent on creating a natural-looking eyebrow… most were just applying the pigment in a dense line that looked more like an application of eyebrow pencil or a colored-in stencil.
A newer tool, the microblade, was created to aid in the artistry of eyebrow tattooing. The microblade refines the process of etching a dark colorant into the skin. When done properly, the technician uses feather-like strokes to create fine rows of lines that mimic the look of hairs, thus defining and thickening their client’s present brows.
The key to successful application is where the pigment is ultimately placed!
Long-term color retention requires that the pigment be implanted in the upper dermal layer of the skin. No matter what you have heard about microblading, it is a form of advanced tattooing — that requires considerable time and practice to perfect. Results vary according to the experience and expertise of the technician as well as their selection of a matching dye to blend with the client’s natural eyebrows.
Microblading is sometimes referred to as a “semi-permanent tattoo.” The pigments used for eyebrows are different than body tattoo inks in that they are designed to fade over a much shorter life span since most women change their hair color and eyebrow style. They are also not implanted as deeply into the layers of the skin. But make no mistake, microblading is still tattooing!
It is imperative to choose wisely when selecting a professional to perform this service. Uneven positioning of the eyebrow tattooing or use of a dye that is too dark will create unsatisfactory results. Do your research and get referrals before having this procedure done. Microbladed eyebrows look amazing…when done correctly!
Although microblading is a wonderful service when performed correctly, it is not for everyone. An ethical practitioner will determine if you are a good candidate by asking you questions about your health, blood-thinning medications, chronic illness and if your skin has a tendency to form keloids or scar tissue . This is because the skin is opened during the process in order to implant pigments into the upper layers of the skin.
Each state has its own laws and regulations with regard to the practice of permanent makeup. Additionally, education and training requirements also vary. If possible, try to determine that the technician has been certified by either the American Academy of Micropigmentation (AAM) or the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SPCP). It would make sense to contact either the AAM or the SPCP to see if they have a list of qualifying practitioners to refer you to.
The more experience that a permanent makeup practitioner has, the more natural the final outcome. Equally important is proficiency which means that it will take less time for the process to be completed. It typically takes between one to two hours to finish a pair of eyebrows from start to finish.
When pigment is properly implanted into the upper level of the skin’s dermis, it should last about 12 to 18 months. A color boost will usually be required around the one-year anniversary of the procedure. For this reason, I would strongly suggest that you hire a professional that rents a physical location so that you will be able to locate them when you need to return for the touch-up treatment.
Keep in mind, that there are several factors that affect the color retention of the microbladed brows. Such as, your skin type, medications taken, sun exposure and the type of skin care products that you use.
Unfortunately, many new and/or improperly trained practitioners may just “scratch” the surface of the skin…instead of implanting the pigment in the upper dermal layer where it will be retained long-term. In this case, the pigment will likely fade quickly and pretty much disappear during the healing phase of the skin when the cells are regenerating.
Again, this is a awesome service…when done safely and properly. To protect yourself, seek out a licensed, insured and well-trained permanent makeup artist.
NOTE: Electrolysis is a great way to keep those newly microbladed eyebrows looking their best. Any unwanted hairs that are growing out of the eyebrow line, can easily — and permanently — be eradicated by electrolysis. Contact me with questions.
Lori Weintraub is a licensed skin care therapist, holistic health coach and a hair removal expert. She offers consultations, exceptional products and hand-holding guidance to help women over 40 regain their youthful glow. Learn more here.