Okay, today we’re getting down to business. BROW BUSINESS, that is! As a beauty journalist and blogger, I always strive to be ahead of the curve – be it with products or new treatments. Which is why, when I read about microblading for the first time, I was all…
…OH NOOO. I’M GONNA HAVE TO TRY IT!
I’m sure you’ve heard of the newest, semi-permanent way to create perfectly shaped, filled-in brows, am I right? And if you’re sitting there thinking «ummm… that still sounds kind of permanent, Steffi… even without the semi thrown in», you’re right.
Since microblading involves scalpels, ink and a million tiny cuts on your face, the very first thing I did was… research the hell out of microblading in Switzerland. And was quite thrilled to find that one of the estheticians I’ve reviewed in the past, Olga Medved of Beautybox in Zurich, is specialized in microblading.
So I called her up, talked her ear off for a good twenty minutes about her experience with semi-permanent brow etching, reviewed a ton of before and after images of her work… and set a date for my own microblading treatment.
AND YOU GET TO COME ALONG!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MICROBLADING:
- This semi-permanent brow enhancing method was created by a serbian make-up artist by the name of Branko Babic. His «PhiBrows» method seems to be one that’s quite well-established in Europe.
- His method is based on an exact measurement of your natural brows, and then finding the golden ratio «perfect fit» for your face. The technique also features a hyper-realistic way to draw in individual brow hairs for an «extremely natural» result.
- PhiBrows (and most other microblading techniques) are created using a tiny scalpel with multiple blades, which are then dipped into pigment before making the individual, tiny cuts into the eyebrows.
- The pigment isn’t applied as deep into the skin as with a conventional tattoo, so this method is deemed semi-permanent. Meaning: It should last around two years, depending on skin type and how it was applied.
No matter who does the microblading, your treatment should include a follow-up appointment to correct and intensify your brows, about 4 weeks after the first one. So make sure your microblader mentions this during your consultation, okay?
At Beautybox, where I’m about to get mine done, the first treatment costs roughly 490 Swiss Francs (about $450), the touch-up clocks in at another 90 to 100 Swiss Francs.
Here are my eyebrows, completely au naturel and without any make-up or pencil:
And now, we’re ready to get started!
The first microblading session will probably take around 1.5 to 2 hours. If anyone tells you it will take less time, PLEASE keep shopping around for an esthetician who will really take the time to find the perfect shape, okay?
Olga first measured my brows out and drew in the shape she’d go for. As she’s previously shaped and plucked my eyebrows, I trusted her… but still was thinking «Whoa, they’re pretty BIG, aren’t they?».
I got up and walked around with my sketched-in brows, and after looking at them in the mirror, was happy with the shape and told Olga we could get started!
With the PhiBrows method, the pigment itself contains a topical pain killer. Since I’m pretty tough (I gave birth to two babies without drugs, I can probably handle this, right?), I declined a separate application of numbing cream…
My brows took almost an hour to create, and I’m not gonna lie: The pain DID intensify towards the end, but it wasn’t that bad all in all.
Here’s what my brows looked like, immediately after treatment and with a thick layer of Vaseline on them to keep germs out…
…and here’s what I REALLY felt like, upon leaving the spa:
Evil circus director, anyone? You can imagine that it wasn’t ALL fun, walking around with my reddend, raw-feeling brows, right?
Olga assured me that most of the reddish color is due to the layer of pigment that is lying ON the skin, and will come off once the healing process starts.
Here are my brows, 24 hours post microblading:
You can already see the individual «hairs», but I’m still pretty freaked out by the intense color!
It took about a week’s healing time for my brows to scab slightly. The color decreased in intensity, too – which was quite a relief.
After four weeks, it was time for my second touch-up session. I was happy with the result so far, and so was Olga. My left brow was slightly less pigmented than the right one, so most of her touch-up happened there.
Here’s my microblading result pre-touch-up:
The second microblading treatment only lasted about 30 minutes, but I’ll admit I was kind of surprised at how often Olga went over them again.
And (here comes the bad news)… the touch-up HURT LIKE HELL. It could be because I was PMSing, but it was pretty painful, and my eyes teared up the entire time. Olga felt bad and asked if I wanted numbing cream, but I powered through.
Once again, post-touch-up, I had really intense, shiny brows for at least a week. Since you’ll be applying vaseline to them for about five days, you need to KNOW this.
And invest in a pair of oversized sunglasses.
But the final result is worth a couple of weeks of questionable brows, in my opinion!
These images are 4 weeks after my touch up, and 8 weeks after my first microblading treatment.
I’m adding this before and after picture in an even larger size, so you can zoom in and see for yourself:
It’s now been almost three months since I did my brows, and here are my thoughts on this relatively new treatment!
- I love the shape, and it’s a total no-brainer plucking them myself now.
- I don’t need ANY brow make-up anymore: They are literally naked now, and I’m hoping they’ll stay this pigmented for at least a year or two.
- Even without any other make-up, I still look «done», and my defined brows give my whole face more contrast… which is important, with my pale skin and even paler blonde hair!
- I underestimated how icky I felt during the «post-treatment»-weeks: You need to know that your brows will be slightly swollen and tender and REALLY intensely pigmented for at least 5 to 7 days… TWICE in all. I kept explaining to everyone and their cat that my brows weren’t «on purpose».
- If you’re sensitive to pain, this isn’t going to be an easy run for you.
- Up close, there are two tiny bits of my pigmented brows where the color seems to have pooled and blurred a bit. It’s no biggie, those spots just look as if I had applied brow pencil or powder, and you need to get REALLY close to see them… but it bugs me a bit, and isn’t the «individual hairs»-finish I had been expecting.
Update: What my eyebrows look like, over two years after microblading
I’ve gotten so many requests (and with good reason) to share an update on what to expect in terms of fading that I decided to update this post, which was originally published in August 2016.
It is now October 11th, 2018 – so nearly two and a half years post-treatment, and this is what my naked brows look like now:
As you can see, the shape of my brows is still clearly defined: There’s still quite a lot of pigment in my skin. The color has faded from a deeper, warmer brown to a slightly greyish taupe (which actually works really well for my skin tone and hair color).
As you can see here, when I comb my brows down: That initial bit of blurring is still visible, and has gotten slightly more pronounced, which is why I almost always use a bit of brow pencil nowadays.
Having said that: I stopped doing my brows for about a year after microblading… but after that, I always added a bit of definition with a brow pencil… it just looked nicer that way – especially as this here is pretty much my day-to-day makeup, and my liquid liner needs to be balanced out with a bit of a heftier brow!
THE HEY PRETTY CONCLUSION:
I’ll admit I was nervous to try microblading, but I’m glad that I did the research to find someone I trust with my eyebrows… and I’m very happy with the results.
I would definitely do this again, and am currently just hoping that my brows will eventually fade in an okay manner, and that the color won’t change. Olga, my esthetician on them, has almost three years of experience in microblading and hasn’t had any «negative» fade-out, so I’m hoping for the best.
My last tips, if you’re considering getting your brows microbladed?
DO THE RESEARCH, find someone who has lots of before and after pictures and, once you’re there, make sure that they’re working in a clean environment with sterile tools.
And don’t skimp on the touch-up treatment, either (and neither should your esthetician).
Of course, avoid any too-good-to-be-true coupon offers on something like this, and – ideally – go to someone you have a personal referral for. And I’m closing this feature with a shitload of disclaimers, darling: This is my own, personal experience with Beautybox in Zurich, Switzerland. And it may differ from yours, and I can’t claim any responsibility for other estheticians!
I hope this blog post helped shed some light on microblading, and hope you’ll be back on Hey Pretty soon for more beauty news.
Ta-taaaa… with my BITCHIN’ brows!
*Original post updated in October 2018 with microblade results 2.5 years after initial treatment!