By now, you’ve probably heard of the latest semi permanent eyebrow procedures. A quick Instagram search for #eyebrowtattoos, #3Dbrows, #archaddicts, or #browsonfleek brings up a never-ending stream of close-up #perfectbrows pics. The world of brow tattoos can be a confusing place so I just wanted to iron-out some common misconceptions and FAQs.
It’s very easy to get lost in the jargon: eyebrow embroidery, micropigmentation, tattooing, and microblading; methods include hair strokes, feathering, etching, powder-fill, 3D, 4D, even 6D eyebrows! Hundreds of pics later, you still may not be sure what's best for you as I often realise as soon as someone gets in touch with an enquiry. Here’s all the important stuff you need to know before you decide which one is best for you!
Call them what you want, but they’re all types of tattoos. The only difference between a semi permanent tattoo and a permanent one is how deeply the ink is injected into the skin. The deeper you go, the longer it stays. Traditional body tattoos are meant to last a long time, so Artists use electromagnetic coil machines to implant the ink deep into the dermis. Semi permanent brows on the other hand, are expected to fade, so Artists use a digital pen or microblading tool to implant ink more superficially into the skin.
What is Microblading exactly?
During this treatment, you get a manually drawn 'hair strokes' made with a special tool with a little blade popped into the bottom of it. The blade is made up of a formation of tiny needles which allow the Artist to make small incisions in the skin with the tip depending on the thickness and depth of hair strokes they want to etch. I personally dip the pen into pigment (ink) when I make each hair stroke, and let the colour sink in for a few minutes after I'm done drawing... and when you wipe it off, you’ve got brows!
*Important Tip: Bad news for early adopters, if you already have solid / 'block brow' tats, you’re not a candidate for Microblading. The ultrafine lines won’t be visible through the ink you already have. See below for information on 'Microshading' which is likely to be a far more suitable option for you.
Will I really need a touch-up appointment?
Yes, usually 4 to 6 weeks after your first appointment you have the touch-up session which is aimed at balancing the brows as much as possible through evening out any pigment loss or minor imperfections. There are a number of factors that affect how well you retain pigment. Oily or combination don't retain ink as well as dry skin, also if you’re anaemic your body may use iron oxide in the pigment as a supplement and the tattoos may fade faster and your lifestyle in general is another key factor (UV exposure, chlorine, exfoliation etc).
During your touch-up appointment, I always go over the original strokes to them more defined and tweak the shape of necessary whilst paying particular attention to the areas that may have lost a bit more pigment. Where a fresh shape has been created for the client (creating a brand new arch, extending brow length etc.) the touch-up appointment allows me to build up on these sparse areas by layering thinner strokes in between.
How long does it last?
At about 12 to 18 months post-treatment, clients may still have some strokes left in their brows but the majority of the colour and definition would have almost completely fade away.
This is why most our clients at Brows Ink. opt for a Colour Boost as part of the ongoing maintenance of their brows, allowing them to always look fresh and on point!
See our Price List for further details about Colour Boost options.
*Important Tip: Repeat Microblading by an unskilled Artist can cause scarring, which is difficult to tattoo over. At each touch-up you re-create your incisions so it’s likely that scars will form over time if not applied correctly.
So what’s Microshading (a.k.a. Powder Brows)?
This method involves using a digital pen which has microneedles for injecting ink at the tip. Results can vary from a light pencilled-in look to dark and bold brows, particularly where cover up work is concerned. Microshading can be expected to last approximately 12 to 18 months longer than Microblading, as the pigment is planted slightly deeper than with the manual method. A touch-up is also required for all Microshading as with all other SPMU treatments.
What’s with all the different names?
The first generation of permanent eyebrows in the ’70s and ’80s was much less natural-looking than the eyebrow embroidery we see today. So instead of thick, solid lines, cosmetic tattooers began hand-drawing thin hair strokes, mixing inks that didn’t fade to unnatural shades, and using thinner needles and a lighter touch. They don’t last as long, but that’s what people find appealing this time around, since you can update them as beauty trends change or your face sags with age!
What else should I keep in mind?
The most important thing after making sure your Artist is legit is that you like their work. Look through artist portfolios until you fall in love - don’t just go to the first person you hear about. The absolute best way to vet an Artist is through a recommendation from a satisfied client who has already used them or personal client reviews!