I have been blessed with perfectly mediocre eyebrows. Their shape, width and length are adequate for my face, but the hairs themselves are too light for my *nearly* black head of hair — and pretty sparse. Enough to be noticeable, but not enough to make an impact. Once microblading started making headlines and all our favorite influencers started posting their results, I have been thinking whether I should jump on the trend, or keep on filling them in with my favorite Benefit Cosmetics Precisely My Brow eyebrow pencil.
Microblading is a semi-permanent tattoo performed to create the appearance of fuller brows. A blade made up of a lot of thin needles placed close together makes tiny, hair-like strokes that follow the natural pattern and direction of your hair, then a dye is placed on top of the eyebrows to tint the incisions — for lack of a sexier term — to your desired color. The effect is supposed to last anywhere from a year to two years.
“Microblading is attractive to most people because it’s not permanent — I’m not pushing the pigment into the dermis, only the epidermis, which is the layer of the skin that constantly sheds,” says Theresa Ngo, brow artist at Chic Lash Boutique in Houston. “The pigment doesn’t go into the hair follicles, it goes in between, because you don’t ever want to touch your existing hair follicles [and] affect the hair growth. Everything we do is to preserve the natural hair.”
But as a religious skincare user, there is one major thing people do not tell you: how your entire skincare routine needs to change if you want it to last as long as it can.
First off, let’s talk about the microblading experience.
I tapped the ladies of Chic Lash Boutique — who are also extremely popular with the local bloggers — to set up a microblading appointment. What attracted me to them is that they use vegan ink, a newer, higher quality ink that does not have the heavy metals found in the old-school inks. “With the heavier metals, the body comes in and microphages come in and grab it, then try to digest it and break it down because it looks like a foreign invader,” says Jennifer Ngo, owner of Chic Lash Boutique. She truly is killer with the blade. I perused a ton of her before/after shots and found her results looked extremely natural, yet noticeable.
Once I booked my appointment, Theresa gave me a call to tell me to stop using acids and retinols on my face for at least a week beforehand, and to stop drinking alcohol and coffee for at least two days before my appointment — caffeine dilates your blood vessels, and can make oozing and swelling worse during the procedure.
After measuring, she draws a box around my brows — boundary lines — that looks too big, but she says it is only to guide her to draw strokes only inside the box. Once I approve the shape, the drawing begins. No numbing cream is applied because Theresa says it just obstructs the pigment from absorbing properly into the skin, as it creates a barrier between the blade and the skin. She starts from the inside of the brows towards the corners, and at first, the pain is bearable, incrementing to about a level seven on a scale of 10 as my skin got sorer. It felt like a deep scrape and scratch, and I bled, normally, which Theresa would wipe routinely with a cotton pad. After she drew on each brow, she coated the brow with extra pigment, to make sure the incision soaked as much of it as possible. The entire drawing process lasted about 30-40 minutes.
After that, Theresa threads the stray hairs and cleans up the area before giving me a small mirror. The result is darker than my natural brows but surprisingly natural! I totally love them, their shape is on point, and she did not mess with the width of my natural arches. They just look fuller and darker, which is what I wanted.
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Au Natural baby! Perfect hair like strokes for a natural brow by @chicbeautyhouston . . #microblading #microbladinghouston #houstonmicroblading #houstontx #htx #eyebrows #browsonfleek #browsonpoint #tattoo #houstontattoo #houstonpermanentmakeup #houstontexas #archaddicts #eyelashextensions #eyebrowthreading #houstonbrows #eyelashtinting #eyebrowtinting #htown #houstonartist #lashextensionshouston #houstonlashextensions #houstonbrowextensions #lashlifting #lashliftinghouston #lashperming #houston
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The Aftercare Skincare
Here is what you can expect right after the treatment: It will progressively look darker for the first three days because the pigment oxidizes. During the hardening phase, which is pretty much day three until day 10, it will start shedding, and you will see the pigment go in and out. “The pigment is debating whether it should stay or not because your body knows it’s a foreign object,” says Theresa. At this point, I can’t sweat or wet my brows for 10 days, which meant I was stuck wiping my face morning and night with a washcloth, and washing my hair doubled over the tub. Because I am a fairly active gym-goer, I asked Theresa if it was OK to go in the next few days. “I wouldn’t for the first five days,” she says. The salt in your sweat is a natural remover and can affect how well your brows heal. I did not put any makeup on most of those days just so I didn’t have to worry about cleaning too vigorously at night. “Some parts will stick, and some parts won’t, and those parts I touch up in six weeks. And that point, they’d stay, unless you have some scar tissue, we have to go a little deeper there.” Theresa also gave me an ointment to apply over my brows morning and night, which is meant to help the cuts heal and prevent bacteria.
It is best to use anything with an active ingredient starting from below the eyes.
If you are an avid skincare user and love doing the most to prevent wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, that is typically all fine and dandy, unless you are a devoted acid and retinol user. In which case, you are bound to be disappointed because you are going to have to wave bye-bye to that active routine.
“I would suggest staying away from facials, peeling products, anything acne-related or that removes dead skin, or is anti-aging — where it’s trying to resurface your skin, and always stay away from acids around the eyebrow,” Theresa says. I know it’s really hard when people need facials, chemical peels and stuff like that, but it’s better to avoid all of that around the brow was much as possible. The microblading is done in the epidermis, so it will peel.”
But after 10 to 14 days, you can go back to your typical skincare regime, avoiding active skincare on the eyebrow area. It is best to use anything with an active ingredient starting from below the eyes since anything you apply on your forehead will migrate down throughout the day. As for what to do: “Keeping it moisturized is the best retention for your skin,” Theresa says. Plus, try to get little to no sun exposure. Overall, treat it as you would any body tattoos.
Two products to live by during the active healing process and afterward are Sunday Riley’s Ice Ceramide Moisturizing Cream and Sunday Riley’s Juno Antioxidant and Superfood Face Oil, as both are extremely moisturizing and vitamin-rich products whose goal is to keep skin cells healthy and together.
Now, after more than a month has passed, my eyebrows look fuller than normal, yet super natural. I love that microblading makes their shape look more precise and gets rid of those sparse spaces I had going on. Plus, being able to skip the eyebrow pencil and wake up with darker, more defined brows is a time-saving game-changer. Even without makeup, I feel more put together. Now, to my second appointment, where Theresa will go over the pigment again to make sure it sticks well for the next year and a half.
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