Sleek, chic, and on-fleek… forever?
Every morning, I have a couple of tense minutes in front of the bathroom mirror involving me, my eyebrows, and some brow liner.
The upshot varies; sometimes I leave the house with bold, on-fleek brows. Other times, one brow is Jekyll and the other is Hyde — I admit it, some days my brow game is better than others. One morning I might have time for a clever eyebrow hack that leaves my arches looking fab. Or I have to rush out without doing my brows at all. Insert sad face with sparse eyebrows. (Although it helps to know that even celebrities have bad brow days!) And of course, the brows I start the day off with don’t always last, for better or worse.
What with the inconsistencies of my daily brow routine, I decided to learn about microblading, a process that seriously could not be more on-trend. I spoke with Bethany Wolosky, a cosmetic tattoo artist living and working in New York City who was recently named by Allure as Brooklyn’s Best Tattoo Artist!. Bethany got her start working at Brooklyn’s popular Three Kings Tattoo as an assistant.
“I wanted to get my own eyebrows microbladed, but when I started researching places in New York there weren’t any options that seemed reputable,” she says.
“I knew I wasn’t the only person who would be interested in microblading and I already worked in a tattoo shop so I took the plunge and signed up for training and certification.”
What is it?
So first of all, what exactly is microblading? It’s a tattoo or, as Wolosky more eloquently puts it, “blades that are made up of tiny, sterile needles are used to etch ‘hair strokes’ into the skin. These tiny little lines will mimic hair patterns and help to fill in gaps and create density within the brow.”
The process — including consultation, numbing (more on that below), drawing and shaping the brows, and then actual microblading — takes about two to two-and-a-half hours, according to Wolosky.
Once you read the word “tattoo,” you’re probably wondering if the process is painful. Speaking from personal experience here, I can say that tattoos hurt, but not like the worst thing ever (especially depending where on the body you get inked!).
“Everyone’s pain tolerance is different; however, topical anesthetics are used to keep clients as comfortable as possible. Some people even fall asleep!”
Just remember to let your doctor and brow technician know ahead of time if you have any medical issues or allergies (to anesthetics or anything else relevant).
Wolosky helps me clear up the idea that microblading is “semi-permanent,” something I’ve heard when I’ve looked into the process.
“It’s still very much a tattoo. And while it will fade and require maintaining over time, there may always be remnants of the tattoo in your skin. How quickly or how much the tattoo fades varies from person to person.”
And keep in mind, the healing of a tattoo really is a process.
“Brows will appear very dark at first, this is normal as the pigment at the top of your skin that is exposed to air will oxidize,” explains Wolosky.
“In a few days your brows will begin to lightly flake and it may appear that your tattoo has healed too light. As your skin continues to heal over the next few days you will notice the color coming back up to the surface. Brows take anywhere from four to six weeks to fully settle into your skin.”
When you triumphantly return home with your fab new arches, there’s a tricky part…
“You must keep your brows dry for about 10 days to ensure your strokes heal as crisp as possible,” advises Wolosky.
“You cannot apply makeup for 10-14 days while your brows heal.”
Okay, the no-makeup thing is do-able, but wait — what? You read that right: you can’t get your eyebrows wet for up to two weeks. You’ve gotta work around the area when you wash your face, and get creative in the shower (maybe pull a shower cap down over your eyebrows?).
It’s an absolute must that you go to a professional for microblading (and, well, pretty much everything, right? Is there ever a good time to see an amateur for a cosmetic procedure?).
“There is always the risk of infection or scarring when receiving any tattoo. Going to a reputable establishment will greatly reduce these risks.”
Maybe seeing a pro seems like a given, but Wolosky has a real insider’s tip: when looking at an artist’s portfolio, don’t just check out their photos of newly microbladed brows.
“Seeing an artist’s healed work is a great indicator of the quality of work they provide. Brows always look great when they are freshly done, however you live with the healed results, so make sure your artist has good healed brows!”
And finally, you may be wondering how much this is all going to set you back (I sure am!). The price of microblading varies, but trust me when I say that permanent ink is not an area where you want to cut costs.
“I charge $700, which includes the initial appointment and a follow up session eight weeks later to perfect and tweak,” explains Wolosky.
That seems like a reasonable price for skipping those tense two minutes in the bathroom in the morning; it makes me wonder what it would be like to head out into the world each and every day with my brow game on.
Images courtesy of Bethany Wolosky. Gif via giphy.com.
Comment: Have you tried microblading? What did you think of it?
Luisa is SHESAID's beauty writer and a New Yorker who has been writing and editing professionally since 1997, when she started working at New York magazine. Since then, her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, New York, USA Today, Family Circle, Glamour, and many more. Follow Luisa on Twitter.