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This story was originally published May 02, 2017.
Would it be strange to say my favorite tattoo is on my eyebrows? Not for me, no. In fact, I'd venture to say that getting my eyebrows microbladed (aka semi-permanently tattooed) is among the top three best decisions I've ever made in the name of beauty — right up there with retinol and daily SPF.
You see, I've had thin, barely-there eyebrows all my life and while I wouldn't say I'm ashamed of them, I've spent a good chunk of my mornings filling them in — in part because I think that fuller arches give my face more definition, but also because I want bold brows to go with my wilder eye and lip looks.
When my good friend Alyssa Coscarelli (who's also R29's senior fashion market editor) got her brows semi-permanently tatted, I started dreaming about what life would be like if I didn't have to pick up another brow pencil again. Two years later, I finally plucked up the courage to go under the blade — the microblade, that is.
The entire procedure took about an hour and was pretty painless (save for some mild discomfort at the onset). First Berry numbed my eyebrows for about thirty minutes before tracing over them with a pencil to get my desired shape. Once we had my ideal shape, Berry began matching her inks to my hairs. Then it was time to whip out the microblading tool – a metal, scalpel-like mechanism used to deposit ink into the skin. The actual scraping and prodding of my brows was underwhelming — I had built up the experience so much in my mind that I expected a lot more pain, but since Berry numbed my brows multiple times throughout the process I barely felt anything at all.
After-care was where things got tricky, Berry instructed Alyssa and I not to get our brows wet for five full days so that the ink could set — as you can imagine, this made everything from shampooing to washing our faces difficult. For two weeks after, we weren't able to profusely sweat due to exercise (didn't complain about that one) or touch our eyebrows. We also had to apply a thin layer of A&D ointment over our brows after the first five days.
If you are thinking of going under the knife, make sure you've done your research. "Find out how long the artist has been microblading for, look at before-and-after photos and make sure it is their work," she says. "The most important thing you should do is to make sure that they have a permit from the health department. It should be exposed on the wall." If you can, be sure to do a consultation and confirm that your artist is using new needles.
It's been around two months since I did microblading and I'm in love with my new brows. The best part? No one can tell that I've done anything to them. Oh, and it cuts my morning routine in half which means I can hit snooze a couple more times.
Curious to see what it looks like? Press play on the video above to see one woman's microblading journey.
Update: Two years after microblading my brows, I've found myself reaching for gels and pencils to fill them in once again. My permanent makeup artist Emilia Berry mentioned that the ink would start to fade within one to two years and like clockwork, they have. In the video below, I share my experience getting my eyebrows touched up, as well as how to keep them looking fresh for as long as possible.