When my sister messaged me about potentially taking the training to become certified in a newish technique called microblading I had already been growing in my brows for at least six months. Unfortunately, I had realized that my dreams of simply growing out my brows from weirdly shaped (my sister called them sperm shaped while I prefer teardrop shaped) to peak Cara Delevingne brows were never going to come true. So when her certification was scheduled and she needed a live student to practice on, I volunteered.
As you can already see from the photos, the results are amazing, but I want to tell you all about the process. I haven’t used makeup on my brows since the procedure, and not just because I stuck to the aftercare perfectly. I hate needles, pain, and blood so let me start by saying that there is none of that involved, or at least so little that you don’t need to concern yourself with it at all. I’ll also let you know that I have three tattoos, one is on my foot which I would say is the most similar to the eyebrow area. So I’ll often compare the sensations to give you a better idea of what I am referring to.
The first step in the process should be discussing with your brow stylist what type of brows you want to have if you want to move away from your natural look as I did. It is probably best to keep it subtle the first time and go from there, although you can find lots of dramatic transformations if you do a google image search for microblading before and after. I went subtle at first and next time will go a bit bolder. Once you have decided on a general shape she will do measurements of your face and plot out your perfect brows.
These measurements help ensure a good fit for your overall face shape, your eye position, and symmetry. Some of this is done while you are laying down and other parts are done sitting up to ensure accuracy. I forgot to check the clock but I would say that this took about 20 minutes, we adjusted once. From there, they begin freezing your brows and developing your personalized brow colouring. They should test the colouring on your skin and allow you to approve the final colour before proceeding. The one above is too light because as I describe below, the colour will fade 20-30% overall.
Your brows are frozen before the procedure begins, I recommend leaving the one brow under the freezing while the first one gets worked on. I also recommend listening to music or a podcast at a loud volume during this time. I heard the sound the microblade makes when my sister was practicing the night before and it could be the worst part of the procedure. So avoid it altogether and you will have absolutely nothing to worry about. I had headphones and a couple of my favourite Body Positive Podcasts to listen to. Between that and the occasional lesson from my yoga practice, I was absolutely fine.
Once the first brow is done and she moves onto the second brow, you will notice that the first brow feels like a pretty severe sunburn all of a sudden. Ironically, all you feel during the procedure is a light pressure, nothing compared to a tattoo. There is no vibration or digging/dragging sensation as there is with many tattoo outlines and lettering. So if a tattoo is a 10 on a pain scale, microblading is a 2, and yes a lot of that is because of the freezing I’m sure. (Make sure you read the whole blog post for more on this later. Seriously, if you stop reading now you will be very shocked during your procedure.)
Another difference I noticed is that tattoos are wiped with dry cloths and microblading is wiped with a damp cloth. This is not blood as I assumed, so no need to panic. (Make sure you read the whole blog post for an update on this during the touch-up procedure notes.) On that note, my sister says the quantity of blood is no more than what happens when you get the odd drop while plucking your brows and coming across one with a large root. So absolutely nothing to worry about. Finally, it is not a needle it is a tiny series of microblades, trust me it’s not nearly as scary as it sounds. Well, except for the sound, as I already mentioned above. (Seriously, don’t forget your headphones!)
One of the final steps is adding a layer of ink over the brows to ensure maximum absorption of the colour. After that, you are wiped clean and treated with a cool cloth that feels so good on that sunburn feeling. The last step is topping the brows with aftercare ointment and then giving instructions on aftercare at home for the next little while. Then you go back for touch ups in 4-8 weeks and the results last 1.5-2 years. Also, apparently it helps stimulate brow hair growth in the long run, which is a pretty neat side effect. One I obviously cannot comment on yet, but that I do hope is true. The photo above this section is from immediately following the touch-up procedure. (My lips are so dry from trying to deep breathe my way through the pain, lol!)
Healing after the first treatment has been a breeze. There was very minimal if any redness immediately after the procedure. The picture above with the hat on was taken moments after the procedure finished as I waited for my sister to pack up so we could drive home together. That night and on the second day it felt like sunburn. By the third day, the sunburn was gone but the itchiness was beginning. I’ve been using the cream provided three to four times a day and avoiding water or makeup in that area. The photo of me and my sister is before the initial procedure and the photo of me in the beige bra is the morning of day two. The photo below is day two, following the touch-up procedure. I’m so in love with them here!
About two weeks after the initial procedure most of the original colour was faded. My sister and I have determined that she was being a bit too gentle on me and that is why the colour didn’t last. It was her first time and she was very scared to do damage or injure me. What a lovely little sister I have! Turns out all that torture she put me through as a kid was just for fun afterall. If I didn’t hold colour in my real tattoos so well we might have thought about my skin being too oily or me using exfoliators, neither of which are true. So we set up an appointment for a month from the original tattooing to have my brows touched up. We also realized that we used the wrong shade for me, especially since I have dyed my hair darker recently. The original colour fades about 30% overall so we needed to start darker to end up with the right shade after healing, so the photo above may appear too dark.
This time was very different from the first time around. The pain was very noticeable. My sister used the numbing patches and then after the initial pass across my brows with the microblade, she added the numbing liquid. The numbing liquid itself burns when it is applied, in part because the eyebrow already has a sunburnt feeling from the microblade but also because it is some kind of a chemical that I am guessing contains alcohol. It does help to reduce the sensation temporarily, but I asked for it to be reapplied three or four times total. By the end, I wasn’t sure if I hated the burn from the liquid or the pain from the microblade more so I tried to suck it up as much as possible. The eyebrows feel very sunburnt after and I’ll be honest, they bled a little bit, this time. I couldn’t post all the pictures from half way through the procedure because I hate the sight of blood.
In terms of pain during the procedure, I previously compared a tattoo to a level 10 on the pain scale, and I would now say that microblading is about a 7 without freezing or once it wears off and about a 5 when the freezing is working. I can also now confirm after having this experience twice that it does give me a headache afterward. Nothing that Tylenol won’t cure but something to note so that you will know it is related. I do recommend having the next day off work because of the burning sensation and because the Polysporin is visible whereas the coconut oil used from day two on is much less noticeable. On the first day, I noticed some ink and some blood/discharge on the q-tip. Much like a tattoo, there was some serious itchiness and quite a bit of flaking over the next two weeks, particularly at the one week mark after taking a shower.The colour mostly remained intact, but like my sister said, it faded 20-30% overall.
The final photo above is of the end results. I love the texture of each individual hair, they look so realistic. I honestly save so much time every day and feel much more confident about swimming without makeup on. My brows look healthier and I think I look younger overall, but who knows. I’m really just happy to have a brow shape that looks filled in and nicely arched, instead of overplucked and patchy. Personally, I’d be willing to go a bit bolder next time as I think I prefer my day two photos to my full healed results. But I am very rare in that so I am glad we were cautious at first as we can always add more later. I’m also saving money on brow products which is a pretty sweet little bonus. If you are interested in getting your brows done you can find a reputable practitioner in your area or you can contact my sister, Jaimie Jolly, and arrange to have her do them for you.
Let me say that you have no obligation to buy into brow trends or to ever do anything to make yourself more acceptable or beautiful by societies standards. However, if you want to do something like this I support you. It’s so lovely to actually wake up like this and I can’t wait to try out swimming without coming out of the pool brow free. I’ve included before and after photos here which I am normally against, especially in terms of weight loss type photos. For me, this after does make me feel better, even though I would still love myself if I never had this opportunity again. But honestly, I bet you most of the people who judge this post, fill in their own eyebrows with make-up every day, and/or are much younger.