Losing your eyebrows is not a joke. I had a Farida-Philo-style unibrow when I was a kid, which I hated, but now that they’re gone I’d give up my kingdom to have them back.
I always say, “If you can’t grow it – buy it!” That goes for everything, from fruits and vegetables to hair. Two years ago, my forehead was about as bald as a baby chicken. This, from decades of extreme eyebrow shaping during fashion shoots, and backstage at fashion shows. I made the big decision to restore my eyebrows by getting them permanently tattooed on my face or, simply, microblading!
I like to think I have a high tolerance for pain. A life of ballet marathons, two C-sections, strutting my stuff on runways, and leaping in the air in high heels to capture that perfect magazine photo have all made me all but immune to minor pain. In a nutshell, microblading is done by making hair thin incisions along the eyebrow with a specialized x-acto blade dipped in non-toxic ink. (Check out my original blog on what the process is like if you’re a first timer).
For the retouch, the process is a lot faster, around 45 minutes, but the 7 day healing process is the same. Why do brows fade? Sun exposure is one factor. Heavy workouts is another – but the brows really never go completely away. They just get a little sparse looking in spots.
Here’s what they looked like after Piret The Eyebrow Doctor retouched them.
I decided to ask the eyebrow doctor what her experience was regarding how long microblading can last. “Ultimately it’s really up to your skin”, she said, “but if you do super sweaty exercises every day they will fade faster”. Now, skipping the gym is no guarantee for eyebrow endurance. “Some skin metabolizes pigment faster than others. I’ve seen people back as soon as 3 to 4 months, because the natural hair was also very coarse and dark. There was a highly visible contrast because of the pigment difference between the underlying skin and hair, not because they were gone. I’ve also seen people 2 years later, and the eyebrows were still there.
The appeal of microblading is the convenience of not having to fill in an essential element of your face with makeup everyday – which can blow if you’re in a hurry, or working out. What can you do to protect your microblading? This is a real investment, and depending on your zip code, and how in-demand your technician is, the cost of the service can range anywhere from $200 to an eyebrow raising $1,500 or the initial visit. It can also run up to $100- $500 for touch-ups. Piret’s rates are $1,500 for the first visit, which is quite involving, and takes up to 2.5 hours. Touch-ups ring in at $500.
What you’re paying for is a technician who’s working with ultimate precision and allowing you a good 30-40 minutes to sit with numbing cream on before the procedure. You definitely do not want to rush when your tattooing your face. I don’t want to be the guy in the Snickers commercial with the messed up tattoo. Make sure you research your aesthetician thoroughly. Healing is a factor too. You can’t wet or scratch your brows, or get makeup or sweat on them for 7 days. Unfortunately due to this it can totally throw a wrench in your workout routine’s gears. I did do some anaerobic ballet mat exercises, that is, until I broke down the morning of day 6 and crushed my long awaited spin class. Fortunately for me, my brows made it. I used a folded bandana as a headband to keep them dry. Fair warning: the healing process can be itchy and you have to put A&D ointment on to keep the tingling sensation at bay. The easy part, though, is that no one can tell you’re in the healing process. You look totally normal about 1-2 hours after the procedure. I did a photo shoot an hour later. You just have to be super careful not to touch your brows obviously!
If you do take the plunge how can you protect your investment? “Apply sunblock daily after healed and keep them dry during healing” Piret says. “No exfoliating after your brows are completely healed”.
Take it from the doctor – careful with those chemical peels and face scrubs, you might just wash your pretty face down the drain.
Story x @veronicawebb
Photos x @marc_cornwall
Hair x @andreawilson