In Discussions, Style

What I wish I had known about microblading before I did it – Microblading & Review 101 with Pictures

BEFORE THE APPOINTMENT

Be aware that your eyebrows may look crazy to you for the first few days

Do Not Book it during the week if you can. Book it on a Friday afternoon or some stretch of time (about 3-5 days) where you don’t need to go out because you will feel very self conscious the first days for sure, as the dye is still there and hasn’t disappeared.

You may not want to go into work feeling like you have done something horrible to your face.

I went in on a midday because I worked from home the whole week so I can afford to not have to go out until the next week, including avoiding weekends.

Plus you have to avoid the sun for a week until it heals, so it is best to be indoors all the time or have to wear a hat constantly.

Avoid caffeine!

No caffeine for sure, as it makes you more sensitive to the pain, but I also think if you also exfoliate a lot like I do, the pain was rougher. My skin was a lot thinner.

Get the supplies you need beforehand

Make sure you buy a small stock of makeup pads (to clean your face with, as you cannot wash your face normally afterwards), Q-tips and some makeup remover like micellar water, or makeup wipes if you need it.

I got back home and realized I had no cotton pads. O_o ….

Go with a super clean, bare face

Do not go to your appointment with ANY makeup or sunscreen on.


You will not be able to wash your face properly or easily afterwards. I wish I had known this and I should have I guess, but I wish they would have told me to come with a scrubbed, CLEAN FACE.

It is much easier if you don’t have anything to remove like sunscreen (I wear mineral sunscreen and usually use oil to remove it), and had I known this, I would have washed my face before going, and gone with a bare, clean, zero-makeup, zero-sunscreen slate.

Also, bring a hat

You cannot expose these brows to sun or any kind of UV damage or rain because they have to stay DRY and CLEAN for 7 days at least.

You don’t want to wear the hat they’ll give you, it looks horrible.

DURING THE APPOINTMENT

Does it hurt?

F#%*K YES IT DOES.

I am really sensitive to pain. I even do micro-needling on my skin, and found THAT difficult but this was a completely different level of pain.

They don’t do the numbing lotion the first time around so that the dye adheres better, and the feeling of the microblading is like dragging a tiny sharp razor brush through your brows, making a skritching kind of velcro sound.

The pain is really unbelievable because it feels like they are scratching over the same section over and over again.

Imagine making a bunch of cuts in one spot, then making cuts AGAIN in that same spot over and over again.

Really, the pain is only for really 20 minutes or so as they are working, but #%#% it hurt.

That was the first pass but it was EXCRUCIATING for me.

The second time around to add more, no problem, because once they put the numbing gel on just like an epidural during a C-Section, I didn’t feel a thing.

Just pressure. I relaxed and could breathe again instead of cutting my fingers into my hands to distract from the pain.

She also used a little compass for the optimal / golden ratio of beauty and perfection and that’s how she managed to get my brow shape and arch.

AFTER THE APPOINTMENT

Does it hurt afterwards?

Not really in the sense that I don’t feel sharp stabbing pains or anything, but I do feel a bit of a numb, an ache in that area.

A dull pain as if that area has gone through a little trauma (which it kind of has).

When I did the after-care for the eyebrows, I feel the dull pain and ache when I apply pressure with the Q-tip.. but it is okay, because I know it will heal over and be just fine later.


Wear your hat

If not, they will give you a sun visor to shield your brows…

Your brows will look really scarily dark. Like kabuki brows, and you will feel a shock when you look in the mirror because you’re like:

OMG WHAT DID I DO?

THEY TURNED ME INTO EUGENE LEVY!

But it will be fine. It will lighten up a bit after 5 days, about 40%.

How to clean yourself without getting brows wet?

I washed my hair in the sink, and used a washcloth in the shower without the shower actually on. I bathed with a tub of water on the side, some soap, and did an Army shower.

You wet your body once, then scrub with soap and the cloth, then rinse with the bucket, all while avoiding the brows.

As for the face, I just had to use a makeup wipe, put some oil cleanser on there, go VERY CAREFULLY AND GENTLY around my forehead and around my brows (I got a droplet on my brow and freaked), and then did the same thing with a regular cleanser.

Then I just washed the bottom half of my face under my eyes regularly (where I get the most pimples is on my cheeks anyway), and was careful not to splash water everywhere as much as possible.

Follow the brow-care routine

For every hour the Day Of for the next 3 hours, I had to clean the brows and add a special balm on it to keep it hydrated but not to oversaturate, otherwise the pigment won’t adhere well and all that pain would be for naught.

Example:

  • 13:00 – Brows are done
  • 14:00 – Clean and hydrate brows
  • 15:00 – Clean and hydrate brows
  • 16:00 – Clean and hydrate brows

Then the next day for the next 7 days, it is twice a day, in the morning when you wake up, and before you go to bed.

As it is a semi-permanent tattoo, there will be flakiness and redness for the next while.

Other things to avoid

  • No skin lotions above the brows for 7 days.
  • No makeup. Eyes are okay, like eyeliner and mascara but nothing else.
  • Avoid ALL moisture.
  • Avoid tanning.
  • Avoid the sauna.
  • Avoid swimming.
  • Avoid facials.
  • Avoid exercising – this one was VERY easy LOL.
  • Avoid sleeping on it, scratching or picking at it.

When will my brows look normal again?

After about 5 days apparently.

Will it leave pink scars like I have seen on other botched jobs?

Apparently not. This pink scarring is due to people going to actual tattoo parlours, or going too deep into the skin, and who use cheap pigments, and it is the metals that are leftover from these cheap pigments that stay in your skin and cause little light pink strokes or scars to appear.

Would I do it again?

During the first pass without the numbing gel, I was screaming inside: NEVER AGAIN WILL I DO THIS.. I AM A F*CKING IDIOT.

But now, after it is done, I am fine. I mean, it is only 20 minutes of pure, excruciating pain for a year of no-hassle brows…..

Hard to say.

I may do it again if I am back here for the summer next year… but not if I am not here.

Maybe a touch up but not a full pass again. That was really a lot.

Now for some pictures!

It is quite a shock. I mean, going from what I had (nothing) to THIS?

And it was so dark to me.

All I felt I could see were dark caterpillars on my face but I had done brow tinting before, and I remember what it was like, and then within a day or so it was perfection.

This, will take longer. Like 5 days.

When I got home, my mother lookedat me in shock and asked if I did something to my eyebrows, and my partner started laughing (not in a mean manner, but amused), and they were both making ME laugh because I know I look crazy.

I told them it would be fine in a week. They know I am really into skincare, beauty and vain AF, so this is par for the course, that I am trying out these beauty routines.

DAY OF BEFORE & AFTER

I am not thrilled as much with the left eyebrow (the one that is right in the picture) because it looks too ‘done’.

Too sharp, not curved enough, kind of like it was painted on..

The right eyebrow is perfect though. Absolutely perfect.

DAY TWO

Somehow they look darker but that is the lighting i think. The pain has pretty much subsided. There is no numbing pain or any kind of dull ache like the Day Of.

I am finding washing my face kind of difficult. Obviously. I am carefully still exfoliating, and using water below my eyes on my cheeks, and so on.

I can’t wait until I can properly wash my face again.

DAY THREE


You can see they lightened up a bit because I have been applying the solution to clean the brows, and then a light balm to keep them hydrated.

By about Day Five I am told they will look normal-er. Right now, on my face, I still find them very dark against my face and too strong.

I have a small patch of pimples on my left temple now, due to not properly washing my face or exfoliating. Ugh.

I also think the light pimples on my temple is also from the balm they are making my skin clogged. I had to resort to putting on benzoyl peroxide in an attempt to keep that skin clear and bump free.

This alone, may deter me from every doing this again. My skin was SO GOOD before this, save for a few pimples.

DAY FOUR

Okay the light flaking has started.

I can see dark brown patches flaking off. I suppose it is the skin is what was dyed as part of the microblading and that is what makes my eyebrows look so crazy dark.

Now that the flakes are coming off, my eyebrows are patchy looking but the parts without the dark flakes look normal-er.

The whole point is that the longer you leave the dye on, the more the microblading takes the pigment and keeps it. The problem is your skin is dyed underneath as well not just the microbladed parts, so it looks very fake and painted on for the next week after it is done and the skin heals and sloughs off the dyed flakes.

I am now seriously loading on the benzoyl peroxide because I accidentally touched my brow during sleeping and some of the balm got onto my cheek when I scratched my cheek and there is a massive pimple there now. Sigh.

DAY FIVE

The flaking has pretty much gone, and the eyebrows have healed. They still look very dark to me but I started off with almost no eyebrows so this is a change..

DAY SIX

They are definitely lighter. I think I am okay with them being THIS dark. Not like the first day!

I AM DYING TO WASH MY FACE PROPERLY. I am washing around my eyebrows but I don’t feel clean and I can see bumps starting.

A little more black flaking came off.

DAY SEVEN

Very light itching, small bumps, all fading now that I can PROPERLY wash my face (thank goodness) and I no longer need to tiptoe around the brows.

See those bumps on my face? All from not washing it or exfoliating properly.

I can see some patches on my eyebrows that have to be filled in when I go in for my touchup, but so far, I am pretty pleased with the overall result.

Would I do this again?

Perhaps. I don’t think I like how dark my brows are in general. I don’t feel like I look like myself. If they were 50% lighter but bigger (the way I shade them in), I would like them.

That said, some women (many) look WAY better after microblading is done. I may not be one of them.

Plus, the ‘cat scratch’ pain? It hurts like a MOTHA and I already went through childbirth, I don’t really want to relive 20 minutes of similar pain on my eyebrows every 6 months to a year…

Yes I’m a wimp, and I MAY draw the line here in the name of beauty. Beauty may be pain but I don’t think I can do it.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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25 Comments

  1. V
    VInu Vellat

    nice article and awesome

    Reply
  2. F
    Franziska

    when I had my first microblading I get no numbing cream. I was almost dying there.
    I had my powder brows 2 weeks ago and it didnt even hurt.
    I can just recommend.

    xoxo
    Franziska

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Powder brows? I need to look into this.

      Reply
  3. D
    Debbie Lillian O'Connor

    I felt NO pain at all. They were NOT as dark as yours. You should go to Jessica Berlanga at Venia Spa Salinas CA

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I live in Canada… but I am going to definitely ask them for brow numbing gel next time.

      Reply
  4. C
    Christine

    I did this for the 1st time a month ago. Wow is it dark for those first 3 to 4 days. Luckily I have glasses I can wear to
    Somewhat camouflage the darkness. I’m going for a retouch in a few weeks. Overall, I’m glad I did it.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Overall I’m happy with the net result but the pain was too much for me. I’ll ask for the numbing gel next time.

      Reply
    2. R
      Robin

      I did this twice now. The first time very painful but the esthetician did it out of her house, cheaper. Second time I went to an esthetician who was working out of a plastic surgeon’s office where they had medical grade numbing medicine. I was given specific instructions and products to use. And it was no more expensive than the first time. If you’re thinking about getting this done go to a doctors office. I felt absolutely no pain this time around. Love my brows and they will last for up to three years.

      Reply
      1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

        REALLY? I will try a doctor’s office then. I am dying at the price tag, if I have to do this yearly.

        Reply
  5. L
    Linda Glickman

    I had mine done about 1 year ago, & yes there was considerable discomfort during the process. However I’ve never been happier. The estatision that I used was incredible she spent more than an hour measuring my brow line & face & marked the brows to show me how it was going to look before starting the process. She mixed multiple shades to match my root color since my hair is processed. Not only is & was the color perfect, but the shape was & still is perfect for my face. It has faded slightly over the year & I will have it filled in again when necessary. But for now I’m thrilled with the new look it gave my face as well as making me look years younger. As they say no pain no gain.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I can see that. I don’t hate my eyebrows, I really like them, but versus the pain and the after care of a week, it may just be easier to just use an eyebrow pencil….

      Reply
  6. C
    Cheryl

    What I find so interesting about microblading is that so many people have different techniques and methods for application and even the healing process afterward.

    For instance, my technician numbed my eyebrows right away for 20 minutes so I felt very little pain throughout the entire appointment. She reapplied the numbing cream as the appointment went on as well. So I had a completely different experience right there. Next she used a wet healing process as opposed to a dry healing process so I washed my brows for the first three days. I was not given a hat. I was given a stick-on visor to protect my face during showers though. That was awesome to have. After that I kept my brow area dry until day 10 when I could get my face wet again. So again completely different experience.

    Next after 4 weeks of healing, my brows didn’t retain much of the hair strokes which is normal because about 70% of the hair strokes fade after the first appointment. Most of the real job is done in the second touch up appointment. That’s when you can get things fixed like your wonky left brow that is too perfect and has that funny point. I wanted to correct the way that my left brow tail went out instead of down like I wanted. My technician did the whole brow mapping all over again. I appreciated that and we discussed the shape all over again. I was actually really happy with my first appointment so making those little changes has made me a super satisfied customer.( If your technician is not doing a brown mapping on your face with a ruler and string you should be suspicious.) There’s definitely room to make changes in the second appointment, add more strokes, etc.. I think that’s important for people to know.

    Most of all I think it’s important for people to know that you can’t make blanket statements about microblading because every technician has a different way of doing things. It’s misleading and people coming online to find answers will notice confusing answers. People should talk to their personal technician to find out what their experience is going to be.

    My long two cents! Lol

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Agreed — the studio I go to, does not do microblading with numbing cream because the strokes last longer without the cream. Up to about a year.

      Without cream, the pain is unbearable. After the cream is on, the pain is fine, I have no pain and can go through it for sure.. but I’d have to go back twice or three times a year instead of once, and the price is $$$$$$

      Reply
      1. C
        Cheryl

        I don’t want to come across as snarky but I’m not sure I understand the science of not using cream.. the cream is wiped off before any cuts are formed and it’s not mixed in. I’m certainly curious why anyone recommends this.

        I was led to believe the retention of the pigment has more to do with the oiliness of your skin (causing blurring of the hair strokes) and day to day sun exposure over time rather than the use of numbing cream at the appointment. I plan on putting spf on my eyebrows every day for a year until I go back for my next appointment because, yeah, who wants to shell out all that cash?

        Reply
        1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          You’re right – I should go back, with the numbing cream over the first pass, and then monitor afterwards if it actually makes a difference or not!

          Still though, all that money. I can just use an eyebrow pencil…

          Reply
          1. C
            Cheryl

            I wish I could use pencil, I’m that sparse. 😬
            Have you seen Glossier’s new Brow Flick product? They’re so smart, it basically borrowed from the tool used in microblading. It looks like mini hairs when it’s applied right. Of course the wand must be hard to use at first but it’s definitely a totally different product in the eyebrow market. I’d check it out if I wasn’t just happily microbladed.

          2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

            I DID SEE THAT! That is new. I use their Glossier Boy Brow and like it but this flick thing could be my answer. I must say the convenience of being microbladed is no makeup, SPF and out the door so.. I’m sort of torn. Plus the price is $$$$ for me.

  7. M
    Michele

    Everyone’s experience is different but my brows were numbed using lidocaine cream both for the first pass and the touch up session. I was in a plastic surgeon ‘s office but mine were done by an eustachian. My experience was very positive and I would do it again. Results amazing.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      How long did they last? They did not numb my brows as it doesn’t last as long but I don’t think I can go through that all the time.

      Reply
  8. L
    Lynne

    I use Latisse on my eyebrows (off label, I know) so that they are nice and full, and also dye them at home every 6-8 weeks. No pain, and really, not a whole lot of effort, and they look good all the time. I also get (facial and neck) micro needling, so I am familiar with the needling sensation, but can’t imagine getting anything similar done with no numbing cream!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Perhaps next time I will ask them for the cream. I cannot handle it without.

      Reply
  9. M
    Minh Thuy

    I had mine done in March 2016 and they were so painful that I thought ‘never again!” and now 3yrs+ I have started drawing my brows in a little about a 1 year ago, and I’m kind of happy to do so these days because I have give myself a slightly different look.

    I was in a similar boat to you as I was happy with one brow and the other not so much because it was drawn in a little too close together, so the fading of the years have been a blessing. When I don’t draw my brows in there’s enough there to still look like I have hair, but when I look closely you can see sort of a reddish brown colour of the old tattoo.

    I would consider getting them done again but it’d maybe be in a year or two when the existing tattoo even fades more.

    Have you done laser tx for the face before? I’d be curious to see you write about that if that’s something you are planning to do.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Either they put the cream on for the first pass, or we don’t do it at all. I cannot handle the pain.

      What kind of laser for the face? You mean like getting rid of spots and so on? I HAVE STRONGLY CONSIDERED THIS.

      I will write about it if I do, but I am waiting for contracts right now before I spend again.

      Reply
  10. D
    Dayle

    I’m with you on the pain but it is so worth it in the end! I have scars through both my eyebrows which this covered completely and it has saved me so much time and frustration. I had mine done in April 2018 and then the yearly tough up this past April.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I guess for me, I don’t see it as an important part of a beauty thing. I would just be okay swiping on some eyebrow mascara and heading out the door..

      Reply

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