By now you've probably heard the term "microblading." Just in case you haven't, here's the 411.
Microblading is a semi-permanent tattooing technique that creates hairlike strokes to fill in sparse or thinning brows. The practice aims to give you an effortless full brow ― no need for expensive brow pencils or gels. Of course, this sounds great in theory. But it is a major investment: microblading can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,600. And if you're going to get a tattoo, especially one on your face, you need to do your research.
1. No, it's not permanent.
As we mentioned above, microblading is semi-permanent.
"Cosmetic tattooing, unlike body art tattooing, is much more superficial to the skin," Tai told HuffPost.
"The inks are also much more degradable. Your own immune system will digest the ink and also push out the pigment as well. Over time these looks tend to fade."
"It lasts for one to three years depending on your skin and lifestyle," Aava said.
Microblading does require touchups yearly or bi-yearly, but at least you won't be stuck forever with eyebrows that you don't like, in case you don't like how yours come out.
2. Most people require two sessions to get their ideal brow.
"Your average person needs about two sessions ― one first session, and then they can come back four weeks later for a touch-up session," Tai said. "They have to come back four weeks later because, depending on their skin type, their skin may push out a bit of ink and in some places the hair strokes won't be as saturated as we want them. You can tell if there's minor imperfections after the first session that need to be filled in."
3. Some skin types retain ink better than others.
"Very oily skin types are the most difficult skin type to work with," Tai explained. "They're at risk of rejecting the pigment, and more concerning, they are prone to pigment hydration, which is where the pigment fans into each other, the strokes sort of blend and it ends up looking like a powder-filled brow more than it looks like distinct strokes."
If you have a tendency to scar or retain keloids very easily, you might not want to have this procedure. But Tai believes that even if your skin type doesn't yield ideal results, it's still a worthwhile enhancement.
4. Microblading can take a few hours.
Tai takes up to two hours per client just to draw the brow. "The drawing is the most tedious part and the huge majority of the session," Tai said. "No one thinks about their eyebrows as much as they do when they are about to get them tattooed. It takes quite a while for me to figure out what my clients are looking for, draw that on their face, but most importantly, take into consideration their facial imbalances."
Aava takes 10 minutes to an hour to draw the brows, depending on how much hair the client has. There's also aftercare to consider, which will add some time to your daily routine.
"I provide the client with all the necessary aftercare, which includes triple antibiotic cream for 24 hours and Vaseline for a week," Aava said. "Please note, clients should avoid getting their new brows wet for a week."
5. Your eyebrows will not look identical.
"Eyebrows are sisters, not twins," Tai said. "This is very true and very important for people to understand so that they have realistic expectations. Nobody's eyes are equidistant from the bridge of their nose so the starting points of your eyebrows are a little different. And your ocular cavities ― one side right above your brow bone is sometimes a little bit more flat or rounded. So there's a lot to account for."
6. Yes, it might hurt.
"It is a tattoo on your face; it's not the easiest pain experience," Tai said. "I give my clients two options. They can dry tattoo or have a numbing agent. A numbing agent just makes your skin more vulnerable, more buttery ― overall more difficult for the artist to work on, but the numbing agent also makes the experience more comfortable for the client."
Aava uses a topical numbing cream on her clients. According to Aava, this eases the pain considerably.
"The patient might feel some pressure and a scratch-like sensation," Aava explains.
7. Your brows will lighten considerably after the first week.
If you're afraid your brows are too dark as you walk out of the salon, don't panic.
"They will look darker during the healing period, so please don't panic," Aava said. "Trust the process and follow the aftercare instructions carefully."
"The first three days are the darkest days, where your eyebrows look darker," Tai said. "By days four and five those little scabs start to fall off and by days seven and eight you can actually see the result underneath. It's about 50 to 75 percent lighter than the day one eyebrows. The look fades significantly."
8. If your brows get messed up, they can be fixed.
"No artist is not going to make a mistake ever within their career," Tai said. "Once or twice I've had a client where I've even created a stroke that I don't like. There's a high probability that if you don't increase the depth of the stroke that you don't like, that it might actually just fade out in the healing process. It's best to let it fade as much as possible. Then you can go back in and neutralize it with a skin color to make the stroke disappear. I don't recommend removal on large areas, but certainly to refine a few strokes or something about the shape, correctional work can be done."
9. Be prepared.
"Do your research. Talk to your artist," Tai said. "If you don't feel comfortable with it, you're not ready to do it and that's OK."
"Please do your research and don't make an appointment if you are not sure about doing microblading," Aava added. "I want all my clients to be excited about the process!"
May your brows always be on fleek, folks.