Microblading: The A-List Treatment That Fakes Great Brows for a Year
Microblading is the new brow trend that has taken over Instagram, and the internet, by storm. While the service, which involves imparting pigment into your brows via small incisions with a blade-like tool (gulp), is being hyped a lot right now, we wanted to find out whether or not it’s all it’s cracked up to be? We called on London’s brow guru Tracie Giles for her insight into microblading. Keep scrolling to find out exactly what it is, what to expect from the treatment and what you need to be wary of…
BYRDIE UK: What is microblading?
TRACIE GILES: Microblading is the art of applying permanent makeup, usually to the brows, using a row of tiny needles placed together that resemble a blade. The blade is then gently swiped in the direction of hairs with brow-coloured pigment so that the impression of hair strokes can be placed into the skin permanently (lasting up to, or more, than one year and sometimes indefinitely). It probably originated in the Far East and can be traced back to many hundreds of years ago.
BYRDIE UK: What is the end result like?
TG: It gives an incredibly natural end look and is not for everyone. The hairs are so fine that they are often hardly noticeable when healed, but will create a fuller natural-looking brow. Depending on the skill of the technician and the skin of the client, it can look very realistic.
BYRDIE UK: How does it differ from tattooing or brow tinting?
TG: Microblading is a massive hype right now. It can create beautiful, realistic hair strokes and offers an alternative to those who don’t want to hear the buzz from the needle device used when tattooing. Both methods give the same results in experienced hands. Fact. Microblading is essentially tattooing, but the device differs in that it is a “manual” technique. This has advantages and disadvantages. European skins often don’t suit the technique and the blade seems more suited to Asian skin types, as they are stronger and seem to hold the hair strokes more clearly. Currently microblading is a buzzword, with many people not understanding that this can be beautiful, but their skin may not be suitable. Brow tattooing is more often reliable and more suited to a variety of skins.
There are many technicians throughout the world that are ONLY trained to do microblading, and the problem is that they do not always inform the client that the needle system may be far more successful for them. Both the nano needle (used for tattooing brows) and microblade can produce almost identical results, but the skin type and outcome desired by the client, should be paramount in the decision. Therefore, it is always better to ensure that your technician does both needle and blade systems and can advise accordingly. Brow tinting is purely for colouring the existing hairs; it will not create the illusion of more hairs.
BYRDIE UK: What’s the step-by-step?
TG: First, we apply numbing cream before we pre-draw the brows into a shape that looks great and suits the client. Next, the blade is placed onto the skin with a matching pigment colour to the client’s hair. The blade is pulled back in a curve to resemble a hair stroke. The blade follows the direction of the natural hair growth until a series of etched hair strokes appear in the skin. Next, the technician will rub the area with the pigment and leave this to soak into the skin. The colour then has time to develop into the etching. This is then gently removed revealing a very realistic-looking eyebrow. Sometimes extra hairs will be added at this stage to ensure that the brows match.
BYRDIE UK: How long does it take?
TG: Microblading can take from 45 minutes up to two hours, depending on the complexity of the shape, hair stroke directions and, of course, the skill of the technician. A second treatment is then required that's shorter in duration for a retouch of the colour. This is normally scheduled around four to 12 weeks later.
BYRDIE UK: Should you have your brows shaped first, or is that part of the process?
TG: You don’t necessarily need to shape your brows before having microblading, as the shape should be planned and discussed with your technician, and the messy hairs will be removed by either threading, waxing, tweezing or a little brow razor to keep everything neat and tidy.
BYRDIE UK: Once you’ve had microblading, does that mean you can bin your pencils and gels?!
TG: Yes, for daytime, but if you prefer a more made-up look, you will probably want to add extra product for a night out.
BYRDIE UK: Anything our readers should be wary of?
TG: One of the “buyer beware” issues is that anyone can set themselves up in microblading with very little outlay—no expensive equipment to purchase or lots of studying to do. Too many places are offering this treatment for exactly this reason. Microblading is an art and a very highly skilled practise.
There are very few true master technicians, and with everyone able to jump on this bandwagon, finding a genuine technician is a minefield. This is partly why there is a media hype on blading, and this is because many new inexperienced technicians are talking it up to make a fast buck.
In saying this, there are some amazing technicians who can do beautiful brows with the blade, but they tend to be already established technicians who have gone on to further perfect blading so that they really understand the process and the art. It is also a fascinating procedure to watch, and it has an instant wow factor to it. However, ask to see pictures of the artist’s healed work at, say, four weeks after the procedures are completed.
BYRDIE UK: Anything else our readers should know?
TG: We stock and use the finest blades from the Harmony Range direct from master blader Tina Davis in Canada. These are EO-sterilised, single-use only and super sharp, so that our master technicians can do perfect strokes on your skin.
BYRDIE UK: How much should you expect to pay?
TG: Prices range from £250–£750, depending on who is doing your brows and the area. Very few top microbladers will work for less than £500 for top-end work, so shop around and above all else ensure that they are experienced in all permanent makeup procedures and can provide you with genuine before, after and healed pictures; are registered with the local authority and have insurance. Remember this is tattooing and it is your face. This is a fabulous treatment, but ensure that you are in trusted hands before jumping on the therapist’s bed!
For more information head to TracieGiles.co.uk.