Eyebrows are the rage, and they need to be on fleek. One way to ensure they're perfect is to have an eyebrow enhancement procedure done by an esthetician. Microblading is one method for semi-permanent eyebrow tattoos, but it's not the only one. We've compiled a list of popular eyebrow enhancement techniques you can review to decide which one best fits your needs.
Microblading is a popular procedure for semi-permanent eyebrows. There are variations and even other techniques. Below is a list of options for permanent and semi-permanent eyebrow procedures.
- Hair strokes
- Eyebrow etching
- Instagram brow
- Soft powder brow
- Eyebrow embroidery
- Ombre brows
- Nano brows
- Powder brows
- Blade and shade
Keep reading to learn more about the trend of eyebrow enhancement to help discover which one might be right for you. We'll explore skin types, brow types, cost, maintenance, and more. Without further ado, let's get into it!
Microblading is a semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo that uses a hand tool to make tiny needle incisions for ink injection into the top layer of skin. The process sketches a series of individual hair strokes that mimic eyebrows onto the skin.
Microblading is an upgrade from traditional eyebrow tattoos, but it didn't stop there. As with any technique, advancements follow to entice people to keep coming back for more. There are many current eyebrow enhancement techniques available.
Microblading ink strays from the traditional black tattoo ink by using shades with yellow and orange undertones that heal with more natural shades of brown. Artists can blend colors to match hair colors, making brows appear more genuine.
Microblading is best for those with normal or dry skin rather than oily skin because the hand tool doesn't embed the ink very deep.
Read more: Are Microblading Eyebrows Permanent?
Some specific microblading methods give eyebrows a distinct look. Let's take a look at a few.
Hair strokes are the distinction of microblading. Artists mimic a person's eyebrow to create individual hair stroke tattoos rather than just filling in color to create an eyebrow.
Micro-feathering is a trademarked technique created by brow expert Kristie Streicher. She used her experience with microblading to refine the process into a technique that she feels looks more natural and minimalistic.
Micro-feathering mimics a client's natural hair strokes to fill in sparse areas and make the brow look fuller rather than trying to recreate a perfect brow. Streicher feels that micro-feathering offers a softer look customized to each client.
Because the look is softer and lighter, fading is natural and even preferred so that touchups can reflect current trends and changes in a client's features and appearance.
Micro-feathering relies on a client's natural brow shape, so they must undergo growth training for 6-12 months before the procedure to present the brow's natural shape. Once the process begins, it takes 1.5-2 hours over 2-3 sessions and uses pigment blended to a client's custom color.
Eyebrow etching is another technique that stems from the refinement of microblading. It creates minor scratches with an etching tool rather than the tiny slice that microblading uses. The result is a more natural look than microblading, but it may fade faster because the pigment isn't deeply embedded into the skin.
You may see 3D, 4D, and even 6D microblading, which are types of microblading where the artist blends multiple colors of ink strokes to create a multidimensional look.
For example, in 3D microblading, you will find three ink colors giving the illusion of depth. The exact process is used in 4D, except this time, four colors of ink will be present to create profound brow lines.
Finally, 6D creates hair strokes using six different colors of ink. The process could continue with additional dimensions based on the number of shades incorporated into the hair stroke process.
Micropigmentation is an early eye tattoo technique that uses a digital pen with needles to hand draw eyebrows. It's a precursor to microblading.
Early procedures yielded stark black unnatural eyebrows that resemble sharpie marker brows. Micropigmentation embeds the ink a bit deeper into the skin, so the results last two to five years which is longer than microblading.
Microshading is another method of eyebrow enhancement. This method uses a machine instead of a hand tool to create a series of tiny dots instead of hand-drawn hair strokes.
This process is excellent for those who don't have brows or overpluck because it doesn't require the artist to replicate the client's natural brow.
Microshading is preferred for individuals with shiny skin, oily skin, or those who sweat more because the dots allow the ink to settle into the skin better. It's also a good option for those with sensitive skin.
Microshading lasts longer than microblading and requires fewer touchups, so the overall cost may end up being less.
This is a microshading technique with a bold makeup effect meant to mimic the styles worn by celebrities. The advanced tools used with this type of microshading allow versatility to create a gradient brow that's more defined and accentuated.
Soft Powder Brows
This technique reflects a softer side of microshading, resulting in a more delicate brow effect. This type works well for clients who want to continue to have the option to highlight with softer shades.
Eyebrow embroidery uses tiny needles to inject pigment into the eyebrows. It differs from traditional eye tattoos in that it is a semi-permanent procedure using a different ink type.
Therefore, you get a different effect. Like most other semi-permanent procedures, you can expect your brows to last 12-18 months and require touchup visits for maintenance.
Combination brows use two or more techniques or methods to enhance the overall look. This option is great for customization and doesn't limit skin types.
Ombre brows are a microblading technique that creates bold and defined brows using a two-tone gradient effect.
Ombre Powder Fill
Omber powder fill is more of a traditional tattoo method in which color fills in, yielding a stark and defined eyebrow. The ombre would indicate a gradual change in color shades throughout the brow.
The hybrid brow is the blending of microblading and powder fill. The client gets hair strokes and a color fill-in replicating powder, creating a brow that is a happy medium between both processes.
This process is suitable for all skin types and facial features because there is a high degree of customization. You can expect to pay a bit more for hybrid brows because of the customization and the use of two processes.
Nanoblading uses hair strokes like microblading to create volume in the brows. Using an electric tool with needles rather than a blade allows for softer, more natural lines.
The process causes minor trauma to the skin, so there's less scabbing and risk of scarring. Nanoblading can last up to two and a half years, which is longer than microblading.
The final result between microblading and nano blading is probably indistinguishable by the eye, but the tools used and the introduction of dye into the skin are different.
The difference can mean less discomfort and faster healing with nanoblading. The differences are also important if you have oily skin or large pores. Nanoblading is a better procedure if you have either of these skin traits.
Powder brows differ from microblading in several ways. First, the PMU tool is a fine tattoo needle rather than a manual blade. Second, the powder brow process is less invasive to the skin, so there is less healing time.
Next, the vegan ink is different and fades more quickly than the ink for microblading, so expect powder brows to last about 9 months.
Powder brows are suitable for oily or acne-prone skin, where microblading is not. Finally, the look is very different. Microblading gives a more natural look, while powder brows give you the defined look you expect from filling in with powder.
Blade and Shade
Blade and shade combine microblading with shading giving a balanced look to eyebrows. Microblading alone can look too wispy when a person doesn't have enough natural brows, so the shading adds definition and density. This is also a good option for people with darker skin tones.
How Painful Is Microblading?
The process breaks the skin, so there may be some discomfort depending on your skin's sensitivity. However, it should feel more like scraping and not painful. Sitting for two or more hours will probably make you more uncomfortable than the actual procedure.
After the procedure, expect to experience some redness and swelling. You may also feel stiffness in your brow area due to scabbing and healing. These symptoms should go away after the first week. Your salon should send you home with a list of after-care instructions to aid the healing process.
How Much Does Microblading Cost?
Expect to pay $400-$1,400 depending on the expertise of your technician and your location. You'll also have the cost of the touchup procedures required to maintain the look.
Make sure you use a reputable establishment. Trying to save money by using an unskilled technician can cost you more in the long run.
Ask around and get recommendations before you commit. The brow themselves may not be permanent, but the scarring that can occur from a subpar procedure can last a lifetime.
Read more: Can Microblading Be Corrected?
How Long Does Microblading Last?
Microblading usually takes at least two sessions. 4-8 weeks after your initial session, you'll need to schedule a touchup appointment.
At your second session, the technician can assess how your skin is holding pigment and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that your browns look great for as long as possible.
After your second touchup, you can expect your eyebrows to retain their look for 12-18 months. After that time, you will need to schedule another touchup procedure, or your brows will begin to lose their pigment and eventually fade.
If you spend a lot of time in the sun, make sure to use sunscreen to protect your eyebrow tattoos. The sun can fade and discolor the pigment quickly, forcing you to get a touchup sooner than you anticipated. Otherwise, you'll be resorting back to cosmetics to fill in and color correct your microblading.
Are There Negatives To Microblading?
All tattoo procedures have some risks that prospective clients must consider. First, the skin is broken, and ink is injected, so there is always a risk of infection, allergic reaction, or even transmission of an infectious disease.
Second, neither tattooing nor the pigment used is approved by the FDA. While the pigments may be cosmetic grade and technically be FDA approved, it's for topical use only, not for skin injection.
Further, if you have eye tattoo procedures done frequently, there's the risk of scarring, especially if your technician is inexperienced.
Finally, if the job is done incorrectly or you don't like the results, it's expensive to repair it. Laser removal sessions can cost $300-$1,000, and expect to need more than one. In the end, there's no guarantee that removal will even work.
To limit your risks, make sure you use a licensed facility that follows all hygienic protocols. Also, find an esthetician that is highly skilled and reputable and possibly accredited by the American Association of Micropigmetation or the Society of Permanent Cosmetics.
Otherwise, ask for references and to see a portfolio of happy customers.
Eyebrow enhancements are trending, and there are many different methods and techniques to achieve the look of perfect brows. First, decide on your preferred style and skin type and then match it to the proper procedure.
Here are some other articles that you may find helpful in your research on microblading:
Can Microblading Fix Uneven Eyebrows?