Every time you spot a perfect pair of brows on your Instagram feed and in real life, chances are the killer arches aren't the product of a really, really good brow pencil, but microblading.
The semi-permanent technique is like embroidery for your brows. A special microblading pen is used to draw on small, precise strokes that mimic the appearance of real hair. Unsurprisingly microblading's popularity has soared in the last year, thanks to the technique's unparalleled natural finish.
If you're finally ready to put down the tweezers, brow gels, pencils, and pomades, for the brow-grooming option that requires minimal upkeep, we turned to L.A.-based cosmetic tattoo artist Audrey Glass to find out everything you need to know before making a microblading appointment.
Microblading Lasts Longer Than Waxing or Threading
Waxing or threading your brows usually lasts around three weeks tops before you have to make another appointment. With microblading, the results are semi-permanent. "Microblading is a great option for most men and women who want fuller brows because it only needs to be touched up every 12-18 months," says Glass. "The brow artist can make adjustments if the client wants a slightly different shape, if facial features have changed, if the skin texture has changed, or if the natural brow color has changed."
Your Skin Type Will Affect the Final Product
Brows aren't one set of arches fits all, so it only makes sense that microblading won't look the same for everyone, too. "The dryer the skin is, the more crisp and defined the microbladed hair like strokes will heal," explains Glass. "Oily skin can give a more powdery result if the brow area is too oily." Her tips for oily skin: Follow your technician's aftercare instructions, and blot the forehead several times a day to remove excess oils, which will help you avoid a powdery effect.
If you have a darker complexion, Glass recommends following the same tips for oily skin types, along with avoiding applying any type of moisturizer to the eyebrow area.
If You Have Low Iron, You Might Not Get the Brows You Want
"Someone who has a low level of iron or is anemic must take iron supplements six weeks prior to their microblading appointment, as well as six weeks after," Glass says. "Most micro-pigments used for microblading are iron oxide based, meaning that the retention could be very poor if a client has low levels of iron."
Water Is Your Friend
While some microblading salons state that you should avoid contact with water for two weeks following your appointment, Glass says that this is absolutely false. "Microblading is the process of making very small scratches in surface of the skin and depositing pigment in the scratches to create hair-like strokes," explains Glass. "This means that the client leaves their appointment with small wounds in their forehead. Cleaning the eyebrows with lukewarm water several times a day is necessary to avoid infection."
VIDEO: Watch an InStyle Editor Get Her Eyebrows Microbladed
Pick the Right Artist
Getting your brows to look the way you want starts by picking the right microblading artist. Glass says that looking at before and after photos of an artist's work is only the first step. "Make sure that the artist does the kind of brows you are looking for (manicured, messy looking, sparse and natural, very dense, etc.), "she says. "If the artist doesn't have photos of healed work on their website, Instagram or Facebook, please ask for healed photos as it'll show you exactly what to expect for the end result. Also, in most cases, the old saying 'you get what you pay for' applies. A really good artist will most likely be booked solid, but don’t just go somewhere else cheaper and less busy… It’s your face we’re talking about here."