I've never had a good relationship with my eyebrows. I was born with VERY blonde hair (thanks dad!) but VERY dark eyebrows. When I was 5, people used to ask my mom if she bleached my hair because of the contrast. It was that noticeable. Of course, I followed the crowd in middle and high school and I would over-pluck my eyebrows. I would also get my eyebrows waxed at nail salons for $10 where they, too, had no idea what they were doing. That, my friends, is where my story with eyebrows began. Over the past 24 years they have been over-plucked, cursed at, tinted, subjected to $10 wax jobs. What I was left with were a few bald spots, mismatched eyebrows, and the daunting task of having to fill them in everyday. It became a huge pain. I'm not really into makeup in general so getting my eyebrows to look even and perfectly manicured everyday exhausted me. THANK GOD last August they became totally rehabbed. They've come a long way all thanks to my eyebrow angel, Katie, at Midwest Microblading. I really had no idea the magic a microblading artist could do.
I started off doing what I do best.... Research! PLEASE research and ask about qualifications of your microblading artist. Many people are providing services with only online training, from two day courses, little to no experience with live models, little to no training in infections control, diseases and disorders, sterilization procedures, disinfection, color theory and pigmentology and more. (source)
Midwest Microblading Artists Qualificiations:
- Training with Advanced Permanent Cosmetics Academy in Naperville, Illinois approved to operate by the Private Business and Vocational Schools Division of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the comprehensive training required:
- 100+ hrs (national requirements)
- 35 hrs of workbook study
- 5 days of classroom
- 2 days of apprentice of with a professional
- Successful passing the Certified Permanent Cosmetics Professional Exam. (CPCP)
- An elective exam covering infections control, diseases and disorders, anatomy and physiology, pigmentology, technical applications, client management and documentation.
- A member of good standing with the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SPCP) who upholds the code of ethics, standards and ideals in this industry.
- Proof of blood borne pathogens training, a requirement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- Before and after photos. Length of experience doesn't directly correlate to quality of the design. It is an artistic skill that can be proven with good before and afters.
Additionally, make sure the facility is qualified to provide microblading. Midwest Microblading as a facility is properly approved for safe operation by the Illinois Department for Public Health and the local Oak Park Health Department as a Body Art Establishment. Anyone providing microblading should not hesitate to provide you with proof of having passed this exact inspection as microblading is classified as a service that is regualted under the Body Art Code. Anyone not operating without health department approval as a Body Art Establishment is not operating to code. (source)
What it is:
Microblading is a manual technique used to place small amounts of pigment in the superficial layer of the skin. It is done in a way that resembles real hairs to enhance eyebrows shape and fullness. Pigment heals in the skin. It is classified as a tattoo. A row of tiny needles is used to strategically "scratch" the very surface of this skin. Microblading is a process. It is not for everyone. Many variables affect the final results. (source)
Long story short, microblading is, in essence, tattooed eyebrows. When done by a properly trained technician, is really more of an art form, where they carefully sculpt your brows using tiny, microscopic strokes. Careful placement and shading yields a very natural 3D effect and after a healing period and a touch-up appointment you get to wake up every day with perfect brows. Just look at some of my before and afters below!
The cost can range from $400-$1,500 depending on where you live, where you go, and the level of expertise of your technician. I paid $500 at Midwest Microblading, which includes an initial and follow-up appointment, and will pay $250 each year after for touch-ups.
My microblading journey started a year before my first appointment. I decided to stop touching my brows and let them grow out for a full year before I invested in microblading. I used this to enhance the growth of my brows, which I highly recommend if you are trying to grow out your brows. Prior to the appointment Katie gave me pre-care instructions. Every microblading facility is different so make sure you follow the instructions given by your specific artist. You can expect the initial appointment to take 2-3 hours. I believe mine lasted about 90 minutes. The first hour is all measuring and marking. The second half is when the microblading actually takes place and it goes pretty quickly! Admittedly, the pain was much more than I expected. Katie gave me numbing cream, which did help, but since it was on my face and so close to my eyes I felt a lot of what was going on. Although microblading gets classified as "tattooing" it is a completely different sensation. With microblading they are using a blade, instead of a needle, and they are essentially scratching the skin. Katie held my skin very taut and the blade made very small scratching motions. The sound that comes along with it is enough to freak anyone out [biggest advice: wear earplugs or listen to music!] and the pain is about a 7 out of 10. Fortunately it’s pretty short bursts of pain and is definitely tolerable.
On the upside, the recovery was way better than I expected. My eyebrows did get really dark, but only for a few days. I still left my house and didn't feel like a total freak. Katie gave me after-care instructions, which I followed to a T. Again, it's very important to follow the specific instructions your artist gives to you. My eyebrows did peel, but what was left underneath were the healed marks. By day 9, my eyebrows were done flaking. By day 14, they were actually lighter than what I wanted. I freaked out a bit and called Katie to which her response was, "It's just the healing process!" She was right! By day 30, my eyebrows were completely healed and looked fabulous.
My follow-up appointment was 2 months after my initial appointment and took 2 hours. [To be fair, I was being picky and we were chatting!] It was an opportunity for me to refine the shape and then go over the “hairs” again. The healing process was the same… They were slightly dark 2-3 days and then lightly peeled and flaked. Once they were healed I was left with low-maintenance brows! Day or night I don't have to fill them in or refine their shape - they're perfect just the way they are. The microblading looks so natural that even I have a hard time telling what is actual brow hairs and what are the microblading strokes. So far the process is one that I really appreciate and found worth the time, money, and recovery!
The pictures below are after my first appointment but before my touch-up appointment. I love my new eyebrows. I don't pay to get them waxed or tinted anymore and can "clean up" my brows simply by plucking the hairs I see outside of my eyebrow shape. I would definitely recommend going to Midwest Microblading (see their Instagram here) as I interviewed a few facilities in the Chicago area and Katie was the artist who was best able to re-create the vision I had for my brows and fit my budget. I'm so excited to keep up this low-maintenance brow routine for many, many years to come!