Everything You Need to Know About Microblading Your Eyebrows

Imagine not having to fill in your brows everyday.

Everything You Need to Know About Microblading Your Eyebrows
Photo: miljko/Getty Images

Your eyebrows are your best accessory. Whether tweezers hit you hard in the '90s and the brow grow-back never happened, or you just don't feel like filling in your eyebrows every morning, there is a solution: microblading. The semi-permanent procedure creates full, perfectly groomed, natural-looking eyebrows. But while the term "microblading" is fairly colloquial these days, the in-salon procedure (and what happens to your eyebrows after the fact) can still be confusing to navigate. So what is eyebrow microblading, exactly?

What Is Eyebrow Microblading?

Unlike an eyebrow pencil that you wipe off, eyebrow microblading is an advanced brow technique that uses a superfine row of needles to deposit pigments into the skin, to create thin, hair-like strokes, says Daly Beneche, owner and master artist at Arch Angels NYC.

Microblading is ideal for creating a very full and realistic looking brow and is becoming an increasingly popular method in permanent makeup. The procedure is similar to hair stroke cosmetic tattoos that use the machine method, however, the strokes are finer, and are not implanted as deeply into the skin. Therefore, brows created with microblading look better, but are not permanent and usually last around two years with proper care.

Technicians make hair-like incisions using very small blades to implant pigment into the epidermis skin layer. The incisions are made to resemble hair strokes. These strokes are applied into the new shape, and the area is gradually made denser with additional strokes and pigment, depending on the client's desired result.

VIDEO: Watch an InStyle Beauty Editor Get Eyebrows Microbladed

Who Should Consider Microblading?

While there are thousands of eyebrow products on the market, those that tend to opt for microblading want fuller, natural-looking eyebrows but don't want the hassle of filling them in every single morning, or the worry that the pigment won't last all day. If you benefit from a brow pencil, then you will benefit from microblading. However, if you have oily skin, an old permanent makeup tattoo on your brows, or if you are pregnant or nursing, Beneche says you should not get a microblading procedure.

"This procedure is not suitable for people with oily skin as they will not retain the pigment as well," explains the artist," says Beneche. If you have old permanent makeup tattoos, Beneche says an artist will not be able to create hair strokes, as the pigment must be removed prior to applying new strokes to the brows.

How Long Does Microblading Last?

Not forever, but way longer than your waterproof eyebrow gel, that's for sure! According to Beneche, microblading can last up to two years, depending on your skin type, lifestyle, sun exposure, and the products that you use. However, touch-ups are commonly needed about once a year, especially for those with oily skin, as the ink tends to fade and blur faster.

Before Your Appointment

Leading up to your appointment, you should avoid plucking or waxing your brows because your technician will be making your new brow shape based on current measurements they’ll make before starting the procedure. You should also avoid using exfoliators 72 hours before the application, like any skincare products containing glycolic acid, Retin A, Renova, and alpha-hydroxy acids, since they may inflame the skin, and taking medications such as blood thinners. “The goal is for the skin to be as insensitive to the procedure as possible to limit bleeding,” says Betsy Shuki, a microblading expert who performs the technique at plastic surgeon Dr. Scott Wells’ office.

During a Microblading Appointment

Microblading before and after
Arch Angels NYC

During your consultation, your microblading artist will discuss with you your desired result, gain a knowledge of your skin sensitivity, and explain the procedure. Then, they will begin mapping the brows, however, your brow shape will be left up to your technician because they measure it based on your face shape and structure so you get the most natural finish.

“The shape of the brow is determined by taking six key measurements on the brow bone using a specialized protractor made for this procedure,” explains Shuki. “Although I do not allow the client to dictate their shape, they can decide on the thickness of the brow while keeping it at a natural state (Not too thick, not too thin). I do have them hold a handheld mirror, so they understand how and why their shape is being made.”

Once the design is approved by the client, the brow area is numbed prior to beginning the procedure. Once numbing is complete, the artist begins creating the strokes in the brow and applying the pigment to the skin. "Throughout the procedure, the artist checks in on the client's comfort level and monitors for any swelling or adverse reactions to the pigment," says Beneche.

When the brow strokes are complete, the artist reveals the new brows to the client and explains the aftercare procedure. At this time, a touchup appointment is scheduled for four to six weeks after the initial appointment.


After getting your brows microbladed, you must follow the aftercare instructions closely in order to achieve the desired results. Aftercare includes dry healing for the first few days, followed by gentle cleansing and application of the cream provided. Right after the treatment is done, the brows will be darker and slightly red, but the redness and the pigment will fade as the brows heal.

"During the healing process the brows will scab," explains Beneche. "Once the scabs have fallen off, the cream is no longer needed. No additional products may be used on the brows until healing is complete."

Avoid using skincare products and makeup on the area for a minimum of 10 days following the application—or touch the area at all. “Picking, peeling and scratching of the area should be avoided at all costs except for when rinsing and applying the post-care cream (which is client-specific) with a cotton swab,” says Shuki. Other things to avoid: Tanning, direct sunlight, swimming, increased sweating, and exercising for up to 10 days following the procedure. Once you’re healed, continue to take care of your skin by staying hydrated and applying a layer of SPF 30-50 sunscreen on your brows before heading out in the sun to prevent fading.

Do You Still Have to Use an Eyebrow Pencil?

Using an eyebrow pencil post-microblading is up to your personal preference. "If you like a bolder brow then we would recommend another service called Ombre Brows, which is more of a 'made-up' look," says Beneche. "Some clients just want the hair strokes to be applied during pigment and then they will apply makeup on top. Some clients prefer the natural look that microblading provides. We always discuss the desired outcome prior to the procedure to make sure clients receive the best possible service."

Who Can Perform Microblading?

Microblading is commonly offered at salons or specialty eyebrow boutiques, and microblading artists usually have to undergo some sort of training. Shuki suggests doing a little more research to guarantee you’ll get the brows you’re after. “A well-established, experienced technician should have all appropriate licenses and certificates,” she says. “I would recommend checking if the technician has previous photos of their work with reputable contacts. They should also be able to willingly answer all of the client’s questions, and offer as much information about the procedure from start to finish. And of course, it should always be performed in a clean, sterile environment.”

How Much Is Microblading Your Eyebrows?

Your geographical location, the artist's skill level, and how much microblading actually needs to be done to your eyebrows can all impact the final cost of your procedure.

"At Arch Angels NYC, microblading starts from $600," says Beneche. "We have three different artist skill levels and tier our pricing accordingly. Microblading with a senior artist who has one to three years of experience is $600. Microblading with a royal artist who has four to six years of experience is $700, and microblading with a master artist, who has over 10 years of experience, is $1000."

Have Realistic Expectations

You may expect thick brows that rival Cara Delevingne’s, but it might take a few appointments before you reach your ideal brows. “You should keep in mind that microblading is a two-step process and it is not permanent, and you shouldn’t expect to see full results after only one treatment,” explains Shuki. “The strokes are very sharp initially, but will soften and migrate into the skin over time." She adds that different skin types also factor into results, such as those with excessively oily skin, larger pores, thicker skin and eyebrow keratosis, all of which can affect the absorption of the pigment.

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