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For victims of the thin, over-plucked eyebrow trend of the ’90s, microblading—a form of semi-permanent makeup where ink penetrates the skin to form a thicker eyebrow shape—could be a saving grace.
“It looks very natural, and it creates the illusion of a full brow,” says Alex Thiersch, founder and director of the American Med Spa Association.
It’s no wonder celebs like Bella Thorne and Lena Dunham have jumped onboard.
But because microblading is technically a form of tattooing, there are things to consider before taking on a new set of brows.
Parade.com talked with Thiersch about the details of microblading, what preparations the client needs to make and in what other ways this technique is being used in med spas.
What is microblading, and what is the procedure like?
It’s essentially a semi-permanent form of tattooing of the eyebrows. The provider uses a device where semi-permanent tattoo ink [is used] on the outer layer of skin so that it fills in your eyebrows.
It’s often for people whose eyebrows are thinning or want a thicker look. It fades over time, usually within two years.
What’s driving the trend?
One of the phrases we use in the aesthetic industry is, “brows are the new lips.” I think it’s one of those things that trends back and forth.
If you go back into the ’70s and ’80s, the trend was lush, thicker eyebrows and [then] that went away. People are starting to want fuller eyebrows [again].
The trend has always been to pluck and wax, and this could be an overcorrection for people who have been waxing or plucking too much and some of the hair follicles are gone on their eyebrows.
How should someone prepare before having microblading done?
They should definitely do some research, so they know exactly what they’re getting themselves into.
The biggest thing is to find a provider who is trained and qualified, but also certified.
Most states require microblading artists to be tattoo artists or to have a license in semi-permanent makeup, which is basically tattooing of the face.
It’s important to check someone’s license to make sure that they are in fact licensed to do it.
Then, doing a little research, talking to other folks who have gone to them, reading reviews, getting to know the person to ensure that they know what they’re doing.
There are a lot of people out there offering it who don’t have as much training or experience as others. You’ve got to be careful.
This isn’t something where I’d go after a Groupon—in that case, you’re going to get people who are doing a lot of volume or aren’t as experienced.
What is the upkeep like post-microblading?
You’ll get a little numbing cream on your eyebrow to make it hurt a little bit less—because there is some pain.
Once you’re done with the procedure, there are some immediate things you need to do in that following week or two:
Keep it hydrated, stay out of the sun—basically the same things you would do with any kind of tattoo.
There’s going to be some irritation, it might be a little bit red and puffy right after. Nothing that’s overwhelming, a lot of people walk out and go about their day.
But it’s important you apply moisturizer and sunscreen and take it easy because that allows the ink to set in to get the best results.
Do you see microblading sticking around or will it be a trend that fades away?
I will say in all my experience working with aesthetic practices, I’ve not seen a trend quite like this, in that it has developed and continues to grow and doesn’t appear to be fading.
Part of that is because people are seeing [results] through social media. Another huge factor is that it looks very natural. It creates the illusion of a full brow.
Will the technique of microblading be used in other ways?
It’s already spun off into other areas. For instance, there are some practices that are doing freckles. They’re tattooing a full face of freckles. I don’t see [microblading] going anywhere.