When my editor approached me about testing out microblading for a story, I was a bit hesitant. Voluntarily adding more hair to my face? Doesn't sound particularly enticing. Since I was a kid, I have had fuller than full eyebrows, and at one point even got bullied for it. I mean, what fourth grader wants brows that basically take over her face? So from elementary school on, I would constantly beg my mom to take me to get waxed, to thin out my animal-like face hairs (see exhibit A below).
Using my eyebrows to my advantage as a cat on Halloween.
Luckily, over time I began to love my full brows as women like Cara Delevingne and Lily Collins took center stage in the world of beauty. Instead of overplucking, I began to grow out my naturally thick dark brows and embrace them. But as you can guess, the damage was still done from years of trying to have thin brows. When looking for a solution, I could either continue to fill in my brows every day or I could try the trend that is flooding the internet right now: microblading.
For those of you who don't know, microblading is basically an eyebrow tattoo that lasts up to three years. According to Kendra Bray of Better Brows in NYC, microblading is a form of a tattoo whereby the pigment is implanted under your skin with a handheld knife. During the two hour process, the artist draws every individual hair-like stroke on the brows in order to create the most natural shape.
Upon arriving at the appointment, Kendra sat me down and asked me what I was looking for in my brows. Because my brows were already pretty bold, I just wanted a few places filled in and evened out from my days of over plucking. After we made a plan for my brows, she spent about 20 minutes measuring them in order to make sure everything was symmetrical (you can check that out on Facebook live).
After the measuring process, she first applied a numbing cream that had to sit for about 30 minutes in order to soak in. I mean, she was about to cut into my brows, so I wasn't going to object to a bit of cream to help. As I sat and waited for the cream to work its magic, Kendra told me that she was going to make tiny incisions in my brows, creating the hair strokes that she would then fill in with ink. Once my brows were fully numb, it was time to begin.
Kendra applying the custom color to my brows
Since most people ask whether or not the process hurts, the short answer is "no." Instead of pain, what bothered me was the sound of the knife scraping the skin. Very unpleasant. But once all the cuts were done and the ink was applied, there was barely any pain.
The best part about microblading is that there really isn't any recovery time before they look good. Right after the appointment, I went to another event and my brows looked as if I had perfected them with makeup. There was no redness or irritation. That being said, there is still a bit of healing time. For about ten days after the appointment, you are not allowed to get your brows wet, as it is an open wound. You want it to heal and scab, so that involves keeping your brows as dry as possible. For some people, the scabs are noticeable but I barely could tell. At around the three-week mark, my brows were almost fully healed and they were a tad itchy but besides that, they looked great and felt great.
Before and after, respectively. Plus a bit of summer sun.
At the touch-up after the fourth week, Kendra went back in to add a few hair strokes where there were empty spots. Overall, the entire process took around two hours from start to finish. The downside? The cosmetic procedure is a bit pricey. Depending on where you go, prices can range from $600 to $900 just for the first session. Just like a tattoo, it is an investment and you do not want to cheap out on it, especially because it's on your face. But once the two appointments are done, your brows are perfect for up to three years. What could be better?
Follow Isabel on Instagram.