Microblading is a semi-permanent form of cosmetic tattooing. But unlike traditional tattoos, which use a tattoo gun, microblading uses a blade-shaped tool with a row of tiny, barely visible needles to create hair-like strokes along your brows while depositing pigment into your skin. The result? Realistic-looking brow hairs that don’t wash off for a year or more.
Microblading is a type of tattoo, but it’s not permanent like a true tattoo. Not only do the two use different “inks”—traditional tattoos use concentrated tattoo ink, while cosmetic tattoos use smaller pigment particles—but they’re also applied differently. With microblading, the pigment is applied superficially to your skin (so your body eventually metabolizes it until it fades away), rather than placed into your skin’s deeper layers (where it becomes permanent).
Because of the pigment used and the way it’s applied to the skin, microblading produces a semi-permanent “tattoo” that looks soft and subtle, instead of opaque and bright as with traditional tattoos. Over time, the pigment on your brows will also lighten a shade or two from its original color, whereas a tattoo on your body can have a blue-green tint on the edges when it starts to fade.
A good candidate for microblading isn’t necessarily based on how little (or how much) brow hair you naturally have—it’s more based on your skin type. Is your skin super reactive and sensitive? Do you have keratosis pilaris on your forehead? Do you currently or consistently deal with breakouts or cystic acne around your brows?
Then you may not be a great candidate at the moment, since microblading will initially cause some inflammation that can exacerbate skin conditions and affect your tattoo’s healing process. Similarly, oil can make microblading fade faster, so you’ll get less time with your microbladed brows if your skin is very oily.
Noting that some people can get allergic contact dermatitis after microblading, resulting in an itchy, scaly, cracked rash. If a reaction does occur after your appointment, see your dermatologist asap who can prescribe a steroid to bring down symptoms and prevent damage to your tattoo, then call your cosmetic tattoo artist and inform them of your reaction.
Microblading can be great for those with thin, sparse brows to get some definition and fullness, but it might not look as natural as someone who does have hair behind the draw-on strokes. But if you’re worried about your microbladed brows looking too drawn-on, your brow artist can add shading behind the hair-like strokes so the empty spaces between the strokes isn’t so noticeable.
Those who already have some eyebrow hair and just want a lil fill-in or enhancement to their natural brows can get a very natural look with microblading. However, microblading might not be good for someone with lots of natural eyebrow hair, because all it will do is make your brows look fuller, not brushed up or groomed (only a brow gel or brow lamination can do that).