What the heck is Microblading?: a tale of two brows

what the heck is microblading?

If you follow me on my personal Facebook page, you know that I've had an obsession with my eyebrows for a while now. I only recently came out of the eyebrow-shame closet, but the hair above my eyes has been a personal point of contention for me since middle school.

I've always struggled with anxiety, but there have been points in my life that were worse than others. When I was in middle school it was especially high, and I developed this nervous tick of pulling out my eyelashes and eyebrows. Yeah, that's a thing. My eyelashes were always able to bounce back, but my eyebrows took a serious hit and to this day they're patchy as hell. It's so hard for me to look at pictures of myself from 7-9th grade because I almost looked sick–that's how bare my brows were! 

When I was in college, a friend of mine taught me how to fill in my eyebrows, and my life was transformed. PEOPLE: BROWS MAKE A DIFFERENCE. From then on, I was constantly on the search for the perfect brow pencil, and a new fear was for someone to see me brow-less. 

I've always been more than comfortable not wearing makeup. I like to wear it when I go to work or dress up, but if you see me at Costco on Saturday, I'll be bare faced and fine with it. I have no insecurities about not wearing makeup...except when it came to my brows. I hated that it was an insecurity, but it was. 

As time went on, my lack of brows was becoming even more of an annoyance. I had a wedding last year on a particular steamy day, and by the end of the day, my brows had all but rubbed off and I looked like a mess. So embarrassing when you're shooting an elegant affair, and honestly just plain inconvenient. 

Enter, microblading. I can't even remember specifically where I heard about it, but I was immediately intrigued. A temporary tattoo of your eyebrows so you can take a couple years off of filling in your face hair?! SIGN ME UP. I was looking for someone in my area so I could book an appointment STAT, and I was thrilled when my friend Sabreena–who I've mentioned a dozen times on the blog!–said she was in the process of getting trained and would soon be certified. 

Sabreena is a trained celebrity hair and makeup artist and a great friend of mine. She did my wedding makeup, and I have  had the pleasure with working with her numerous times since then as she's my #1 go to for a hair and makeup artist for my clients. This girl is the bomb, and if I was going to trust anyone to tattoo my face, it'd be her. 

The microblading appointment was scheduled for two hours. I met Sabreena at the cute little salon she works out of, Fringe Salon. She showed me to the back room where the appointment would take place. It was so adorable! The room was small, but all the size we needed, and she had essential oils diffusing so it smelled amazing. It seemed more like I was spending the afternoon at the spa than getting microbladed. 

What's interesting about a microblading appointment is that the majority of the appointment actually isn't microblading. The bulk of the appointment (probably at least an hour) was Sabreena measuring and mapping my eyebrows to figure out the perfect size and shape for my face. She commented that I actually had a really good starting point (bless her) and we'd mostly be filling it gaps and shaping them. She said there are definitely people who come to her who have VERY sparse eyebrows, and the microblading part of those appointments tend to take longer (read: more time with a needle in your brow).

Once my brows were mapped, Sabreena drew what was essentially an outline around them so she knew the space she had to work inside of. This sounds less hilarious than it was, but it was really funny. I looked like a cartoon character. 

When that was done, Sabreena applied a numbing cream and covered my forehead in plastic warp. I looked beautiful. We let that sit for about 20 minutes (this is when I filled out paperwork for the appointment), and then got to work! 

I am so sorry for these screen grabs but you can kind of see what it looked like when I had my brows outlined + numbing cream + plastic wrap. Pretty.

I am so sorry for these screen grabs but you can kind of see what it looked like when I had my brows outlined + numbing cream + plastic wrap. Pretty.

I had heard mixed reviews about the pain associated with microblading, so I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous; it just wasn't enough nerves to make me not do it! Sabreena made the first incision and told me that she did, and I was shocked that it was not the least bit painful. It felt like a scratch, and honestly even the word "scratch" is probably too much. It was nothing. 

As she worked her way down my eyebrow toward my hairline, I was able to feel a bit more, and toward the end of my first brow it did become more painful. There were a few scratches that definitely made my toes curl. But honestly, it was still so quick that I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I think it definitely depends on your pain tolerance and varies person to person, but I would not classify it as "painful."

My other eyebrow was a bit different. The numbing cream sat on that one for longer, so there was very little feeling when she got started. Again, toward the end it picked up a bit, but far less even than the first brow. 

The appointment did end up taking a bit over the full two hours, but I would say MAYBE 40 minutes of it was the actual procedure. Even if you did experience pain, I'd say 40 minutes of pain is well worth the pay off! 

After the appointment, Sabreena told me to not get my eyebrows wet (no swimming or heavy sweating) for one week. I also was supposed to keep Aquaphor on them 24/7. I ended up using Aquaphor every day before I would shower to coat my eyebrows and protect them before I got wet, and I don't know if it worked, but it seemed like a good idea. 

Now, I won't lie - the week of healing was not my fave. Worth it? YES DUH. But it was a bit rough. Immediately after getting microbladed (Thursday), my eyebrows looked the tiniest bit dark but mostly super good. The next day, however, and well into that night, they KEPT GETTING DARKER. Sabreena told me this would happen and, knowing me, specifically said DO NOT FREAK OUT, but I still kinda freaked out. It turns out, she was right and they DID fade about 40% from their darkest (which probably happened Friday night), and they look BOMB. But it for sure took a solid week for them to fade and for me to not look like an insane person who got permanent marker happy. 

I will say that I probably noticed this as much as I did because my eyebrow hair is dark, so they got REALLY dark. I've seen girls with lighter eyebrow hair who's darkest microblading day isn't near that bad because their hair just isn't that dark. Plus, I had just gotten some serious blonde highlights, so they looked almost black comparatively! 

Thursday, Friday, Sunday, Thursday

Thursday, Friday, Sunday, Thursday

The other thing I wasn't prepared for (even though Sabreena told me!) was the ITCHING. Holy cats. Starting on about Sunday these guys itched SO. BAD. It was almost unbearable. That is the ONLY reason I'm nervy for my follow up appointment - that itching. It was rough. Worth it? YES DUH. But rough. Hopefully the follow up appointment (usually about 6 weeks from the first appointment, and much less invasive/shorter) is less itchy!

Overall, I am so happy about my eyebrows it's kind of embarrassing. You guys: IT'S LIKE I HAVE A DIFFERENT FACE. I mean, I liked my face before, but now I LOVE MY FACE. I've been wearing my hair totally pulled back because besides the two zits on my chin that I CANNOT GET RID OF NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY, I have nothing to be self conscious about. I am shouting the power of microblading from the rooftops because I have been transformed. TRANSFORMED. My brows should last 1-3 years depending on lifestyle (I'm assuming mine will be close to the 3 year mark), and I totally plan on doing it again.

Another note: if this sounds like something that is up your alley, please please please do your research when selecting an artist. I'm SO glad I went to Sabreena, especially with the crazy stories in the news lately about people who don't have proper licensing and are ruining people's faces. Sabreena recently posted this to Facebook and I couldn't have said it better, so I'll just copy and paste: 

"If you are licensed and trained by a reputable company, they REQUIRE multiple licenses and certifications (Blood-borne pathogen, First Aid/First Responder, following all tattoo regulations of the state in which you reside, etc.). Although SD does not currently regulate this procedure, this does not mean that we lack professionals going above and beyond to make sure their clients health, safety, and happiness, are at the top of their list!"

Sabreena went above and beyond when it came to licenses and certifications and she INVESTED to be able to offer this service. Don't sell yourself short by going to someone who just wants your money and doesn't care about your face. IT'S YOUR FACE.

If you've been considering microblading, I can't recommend it enough. I'm so excited for summer when I can sweat my butt off and not worry about melting brows. I love the time I'm saving in the morning, and I love the boost of confidence it's given me. I am a believer in the power of brows. Amen.