Microblading, embrowdery, 3D feathering; there are many names, but they all do the same wonderfully glorious thing, they all give you semi permanent eyebrows. For the purposes of this post, let’s stick with the term microblading.
Two weeks ago I had my first experience with microblading and let me tell you it’s been an interesting ride. For those of you who don’t know, microblading is a semi permanent form of makeup most commonly used on the eyebrow area. Using a tiny hand tool and cosmetic tattoo pigments, feather like strokes are drawn on to the brow area to create the illusion of a full, natural, defined eyebrow. Because these feather strokes are so fine, they look very like the hair that naturally grows on your eyebrows and therefore have become the answer to many women’s prayers, including my own.
You see, my story begins at the tender age of about 18 months when my eyebrows changed forever. One sunny morning Mum dropped me off to creche as she always did on her way to work. I don’t remember as I was so young at the time, but this particular day when she came to collect me, I had two big cuts on my eye. One on the inner crease of my eye, and the second along my eyebrow bone. Now when I say cuts, I mean pretty substantial cuts on my left eye. The first was in the centre of my brow and about an inch long, and the second was a rather substantial chunk of skin hanging off my eye area.
Naturally Mum got the fright of her life, especially when she discovered the woman who owned the creche had cut me with a scissors. A SCISSORS. I had plaster on my face (from a small graze I already had) and in her infinite wisdom, this woman thought the best way to get it off was to take a scissors to my eye. In the process, she managed to leave me with two significant scars for life.
Get to the point I hear you say…
As I child I didn’t even notice my eyebrows, I was more consumed with playing Tip the Can and having sleepovers in my friends houses every weekend. Fast forward thirteen years however and things change. I was starting to become aware of fashion, how I looked, and how I wanted to look. I was self conscious like most teenage girls, I was chubby, I had boy short frizzy hair, I had bushy eyebrows and bucked teeth. All in all, those years were not kind to me in the beauty stakes.
While bushy brows were all the rage in the 80’s, in the early 90’s it was all about plucking and I’m guessing it was about 1993/1994 when I discovered tweezers for the first time. It was almost as profound a moment for me as when I realised there was a thing called makeup that could actually change the way I looked. Holy shit! A new world was opening up to me and I was ready to embrace it.
So taking my tweezers, and not having a clue what the hell I was doing, I began plucking away. What my thirteen year old self didn’t realise however, was, as my scar was situated right in the centre of my brow, if I removed the hair under it, I would be left with practically nothing above it. And of course that’s exactly what happened. But did I stop there? Oh no, I just kept on going and in a moment of utter teenage panic, plucked away most of the hair in my left brow then did the same to my right brow so it would match.
That was probably the worst beauty decision I ever made and I still regret it all these years later. In fact, if I was writing one of those letters to my teenage self now, that would be first on my list of things not to do.
Fast forward another twenty years and the beauty industry has come a long way. Who knew that one day there would be a way for me to right the wrongs of my teenage past? Well, you can imagine my excitement the day I became aware of microblading for the first time. It was one of those weird moments in life where you’re so excited, but also terrified so you kind of just carry on like nothing has changed. That’s what I did.
You see initially I thought microblading was permanent and I really wasn’t sure about all these small ‘lines’ I kept reading about. I mean what if it all went terribly wrong and I ended up with twigs and branches coming out of my eyebrows for the rest of my life? Nope, no thank you. Quite frankly the whole thing scared the crap out of me so I pushed the idea to the back of my mind and carried on with my trusty brow pencil as you do.
That was, until about six months ago when a very good friend of mine told me she was thinking of getting it done. She had been researching it for ages, knew all the different techniques, how it worked, how long it lasted, where to get it done, where not to get it done. You name it, she knew it. She’s great like that. Anyway, not long after our conversation she went ahead with the procedure and the end result was amazing. And I don’t mean kind of great, I mean a-ma-zing. So good, I knew I couldn’t ignore this any longer so I bit the bullet and booked my appointment.
Which brings me to two weeks ago and the actual purpose of this post.
The place I went to is called MyBrows in Dublin and the woman who runs it Monica Ivanyi, has worked in the beauty industry for over ten years, specialising in semi permanent makeup for the past four. On arrival, I had a long talk with Monica where she took me through all details of the process from how she decides on thickness and shape, to pigment shade and aftercare. She made it clear that this procedure was tattoo like in that it lasts a long time, but rather than being permanent, it is semi permanent as it is only applied to the top layers of the skin and therefore over time, your body can break down the pigment eventually leaving no trace.
Sometimes it will last for 18-24 months or longer, sometimes it will last 12-18 months, it all depends on your skin tone and type, your body’s natural healing process, and how well you stick to the aftercare guidelines. But all going well, you should be left with a defined, natural looking brow for at least six to twelve months.
We chose a shade, Monica measured my brow bone and brow area with a specialist tool used to determine shape and thickness of the brows, and honestly, I was extremely nervous. Ultimately, I just had to put my trust in Monica and go with it until she handed me that mirror and asked me what I thought.
In the interests of being brutally honest, when I first looked in the mirror I felt sick, and all I could think was WHAT THE F*CK HAVE I DONE? They were dark, so dark, and much thicker than I would usually wear. I was also pretty convinced they made my face look so much fatter! But after those few initial seconds of panic, Monica calmly reassured me that many people have this reaction, especially those like me who have lived most of their lives without good brows. She also reassured me that the colour and thickness fades and shrinks anywhere from 10-50% after the first two weeks.
It is a shock let me tell you. But slowly I began to feel better. Deep breaths, deep breaths. This is going to tone down, and I’m not going to have to change my name to Spock!
Here’s a look at my brows in the car just before I went in, and straight after I left:
As I drove home I was flitting between panic and excitement. I have brows, my god I have brows, but are they too dark, or too thick? Do I look like the child in the cadbury’s ad with the dancing eyebrows? A multitude of thoughts were running though mind ultimately leading to a panicked phone call to my bestie, and a series of what’s app discussions with my girls. God, where would we be without our girls?
Anyway, I digress… After week one my brows had started to fade in colour and although still quite thick, waking up every morning with brows was becoming addictive. Not to sound vain, but I would literally sit and stare at them for ages, mesmerised, taking it all in and getting used to my new look. I couldn’t resist. Finally I started to think, wow, maybe these look okay, good even. I could be an eyebrow queen, YAASSS!
Here’s the week one comparison. The top image was taken just one day after procedure, bottom image taken one week after procedure:
And here I am another week on. I have reached and passed the two week mark and I am loving my brows. The initial pigment has naturally exfoliated away through my skin’s healing process, they have taken a more natural shape, the colour is settling and they look pretty good. I never thought I’d say it but I’m already beginning to think about going back for my top up (which is due in around eight weeks time).
The whole procedure took just over two hours and cost €300. I haven’t decided if I’ll definitely go back for a top up, but if I do, there will be another charge of €120, after which I shouldn’t need any more topping up for at least a year or so. All in all, it was a dramatic experience – it’s not all sunshine and lollipops, but it was worth it.
There is no pain or downtime with the procedure and the aftercare is fairly straight forward. No water, makeup or moisturiser on the brow area for two weeks, no sweating or intense exercise either, and every day you apply a healing cream to the brows to help reduce swelling and prevent infection.
The top image below shows one day after procedure, versus the bottom image which was taken today 16 days after procedure (excuse photo quality, I’m in the process of changing cameras!):
Two weeks ago I was in a haze of self-induced brow anxiety, today I’m loving my new brows and the fact that I haven’t had to use a brow product once in the last two weeks. I will need to use some pencil or powder as the pigment fades, but I can live with that. Sometimes change is as good as the rest, and in this case, I’m pretty happy with the change. They aren’t quite heeled yet as they are still flaking, but they getting there.
Have you ever had microblading or embrowdery done? If so, I’d love to swap stories and hear how you all got on. I hope I’m not the only one who had a momentary panic!
Ps. In the interests of finishing the story, obviously Mum took me out of that creche immediately and we never went back again. In the early 80’s there wasn’t much you could do about things like that, but I’m pretty sure if that happened now there would be serious consequences.
Yours in brow heaven…