When you walk into a room, your eyes are drawn to the feature piece… It could be the fireplace or a feature wall, but there is almost always something that definitely draws attention. Once your eyes linger for a little while, you’ll then notice the curtains that either frame the windows dramatically or make a statement on their own. The best curtains are usually ones that are set high for the dramatic and expensive feel, but neutral enough to let the special pieces in the room speak for themselves. Once you’ve gotten past the curtains, you then notice the tiny details, you know, those knick knacks that bring the whole room together. Well, your face is the feature, the eyebrows are the curtains, the furniture is your eyes, nose and mouth, and the decorative pieces are the makeup you choose to put on your face. Don’t worry you didn’t click on the wrong post, it will all make more sense just now.
Just for some background, I have always had very bushy eyebrows which I never cared too much for. Being a tomboy for most of my life, I didn’t really care. Call me Freda or whatever, it didn’t matter because no one paid my bills. It was only after heading to university that I actually started plucking and trying to shape my brows (miserably I might add) because schooling in Japan just made me feel less than perfect. Honestly, the boys there cared more about physical appearance and put in quite a bit of effort to look normal, so just imagine how the girls looked! After years of incorrect plucking, tweezing and attempted threading, my bushy brows started to look a bit sparse. After years of colouring them in with a brow pencil, eye-liner, mascara and everything under the sun (I know, I know, my makeup sense is horrible) I finally admitted to myself that I did not have enough time or patience in the world to deal with the commitment that was required to maintain the perfect brow. It was time to explore something that would require less energy from my part – microblading. I’m no makeup specialist, but when I approached my eyebrows like I would a room, choosing to commit to a 3 year semi permanent ‘tattoo’ was a very easy decision.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated the Brow Studio nor will I get paid for this post. All views expressed here are my own.
What is Micro-blading and how long does it last?
Micro-blading is a manual method used to deposit small amounts of ink into the superficial layer of the skin. It is considered to be a semi-permanent tattoo. Your tattoo will last as long as it’s maintained. Untouched, the ink should last 1-3 years, however this varies from person to person based on a number of factors.The Brow Studio
1. You have to do your research
Before I entered into a trusting relationship with my eyebrow specialist, I spoke to several other women and did quite a decent amount of research. As much as I am a tomboy and had to approach my face as I would a room, I definitely wasn’t going to be experimental about it so my first point of contact was my fellow CrossFit friends and coworkers. I analysed, mentally measured and noted the detail that was drawn on their faces. Some were too dark, some were too obvious, some just looked wrong… I asked where they did it and how much it cost, what safety precautions were put in place to prevent the spread of disease and infections… I wasn’t taking any chances! On top of all of that, I decided to search for reviews and to turn to instagram to see the different works of different eyebrow stylists. It took nearly a month of to narrow it down to a place that I was comfortable with.
Understand the process
When you get micro-blading done for the first time, there are a few things you need to keep in mind; you will need a follow up session six weeks later, you cannot get your eyebrows wet for ten days, you need to avoid touching your eyebrows especially with dirty hands, avoid dust, etc.
The typical cost ranges depending on your location and quality of work done. Since I am based South Africa, I was ready to pay anywhere between ZAR2,000- 3,500 ($130-230) including a follow up session. Anything cheaper sounded too good to be true, and anything more expensive was an unnecessary luxury.
Here’s what I landed:
Master therapist: first session ZAR 2,200 ($150) + touch up ZAR 1,100 ($75) – Total cost $225
Junior therapist: ZAR 1,700 ($115) + touch up ZAR 850 ( $60) – Total cost $175
2. Be prepared for the Experience
There are a few things that I should’ve put more consideration into – specifically the pain factor. I had watched quite a few YouTube videos where women mentioned that the pain was bearable even without numbing cream and many described it as if someone were scratching their face. For my first session, I had planned to just brave it out and see just how much of a tough cookie I was. The instructions I received in the email was to apply my own topical numbing cream before arriving at the studio which I presume was to give it time to work. Upon arrival, my eyebrow stylist was a bit surprised with my decision and advised that I do use numbing cream since I had never gotten any real tattoos or been through the micro-blading process before. Pro tip: when a specialist advises pain relief, you take it! She disinfected my brows, applied the numbing cream and allowed it to sit on my face for roughly twenty minutes before we began. During this time I was served a cappuccino and got to speak clear out any doubts I had. I showed her pictures of what I would’ve liked for my face, we discussed the colour of the ink, the procedure and after care steps that I would need to follow.
Skipping to the actual experience, there was a lot of measuring, drawing, plucking, remeasuring and aligning involved before she began drawing the individual strokes. Once she was done framing the actual landscape, I was given a mirror and asked if she could proceed. I’m not a very imaginative person so it was great to get a glimpse of the shape and thickness before giving the final go ahead. Finally after nearly forty minutes from the time I walked in, I was told to lie back and relax.
Despite the numbing cream, I felt each individual stroke that was scraped onto my face. Something about ink and an open wound also caused quite a bit of stinging and discomfort. The sound that the needle made as it was scratching on my face also didn’t help my nerves… nevertheless, I stayed. After the first round, she applied more ink to my brows and allowed it to sit for about five minutes, then wiped it off, added more numbing cream and went in to fill the gaps. The second coat of numbing cream definitely did the trick because I felt nothing after that. After about 90 minutes from start to finish, the final product had me a little concerned. It was darker and more prominent than I had expected it to look, but my stylist assured me that it would fade over the course of a few days. Thankfully, it did.
3. You need to follow the post care instructions
How Long does it take to heal?
Healing time varies from person to person. Usually, it takes 7-10 days for the epithelial crust to form and slough off. Your skin will be considered healed after this. Then, the pigment takes some time to settle into the skin. A good 3-4 weeks should pass before we consider the process completeThe Brow Studio
After leaving the eyebrow studio, I didn’t really feel any pain and I was told to avoid simple things:
* No swimming, sweating or otherwise getting the area wet.
* No tanning or prolonged sun exposure and no picking or peeling the tattoo.
* No washing hair in the shower during the scabbing process.
My biggest mistake, however, was to take my toddler for her swimming class because that required getting into the pool and trying everything possible to avoid letting the chlorinated water touch my face. I also refrained from any intense exercise for a few days (five maybe?) to avoid having sweat infect the cuts. During this period, I did get the odd scab which fell off fairly quickly on its own.
Six weeks later, I was back for a follow up but this time I was certain that I could brave it without any numbing cream and it actually wasn’t as bad as the first time. The second round was also quicker as it was merely to fill in any gaps where the ink didn’t take too well.
Afterthoughts – 1 year later
It has been about just over eleven months since I got eyebrows micro-bladed and I am still happy with the pigmentation. I was warned that I would need to come back between eighteen months and three years, but for now things look good. I am not 100% satisfied with how the shape came out, but it definitely is something that can be fixed at my next appointment.