One of the things I like most about writing about health topics is that my readers offer up all kinds of fabulous ideas of their own for me to share with everyone.
Recently, Penelope Jane Andersan from the aesthetic enhancement group AEDIT contacted me about an article her team put together for brides-to-be. It’s called “The Ultimate Wedding Beauty Timeline” and begins one full year before the walk down the chapel aisle.
“AEDIT is taking the stigma out of plastic surgery, cosmetic procedures and injectables,” according to their website.
I read this piece with great interest because, although I have had some cosmetic procedures done with great success in the misty, distant past, my current knowledge about such elective medical treatments is admittedly weak. What I discovered was nothing short of amazing.
These beauty experts advise the future star of her own wedding to consider eyebrow microblading three months before the Big Day. “What in the world is microblading?” I wondered. It sounded like a new-age form of roller skating.
How wrong I was. Microblading, I discovered, is a tattooing technique where the beautician uses a special tool to darken and shape the eyebrows. Some practitioners of this field of cosmetology call microblading a type of eyebrow architecture. (If you build it, they will come?)
First, the microblading clinician uses an eyebrow pencil to draw a solid outline around each brow area. The same pencil is used to fill in the brow area with small hair-like strokes. A cell phone photograph with gridlines can confirm that the two eyebrows are the same length and height and adjustments can be made at this time by wiping off excess penciling with a cotton swab.
Note that most people are born with eyebrows that are not exactly identical so some slight variations between the two are perfectly fine, perhaps even desirable. However, an experienced microblader will strive for symmetry between the two brows.
The beautician uses a marker pen to make small dots that follow the brow outline which was drawn in with the eyebrow pencil before a numbing cream is applied to the targeted forehead areas. The outline marks remain to guide the microblading strokes after the numbing cream has taken effect and is washed off.
Then, a brow color is selected based on the patient’s hair color and skin tone. The objective here is to wind up with eyebrows that match the rest of the person’s hair.
Yes, microblading is getting your eyebrows tattooed. But it isn’t as permanent as the well-known body art which proclaims to the world how great “MOM!” is or winds a snake around an arm or leg. Brow tattoos are more superficial – meaning, near the surface of the skin. They seldom change color over time but do fade after a year or two (or three), requiring another treatment.
Many clinicians schedule a four- to six-week follow-up visit to make sure the results are satisfactory (if not AWESOME!) and to add pigment as needed. The patient may return for an annual touch-up session as well.
With microblading, large chunks of pigment are not inserted under the skin. Instead, short, hair-like strokes imitate natural brow hairs.
People have different pain thresholds. Some are more sensitive to physical discomfort than others. The feeling has been compared to scratching your eyebrow area with the wooden tip of an eyebrow pencil after the pigmented core breaks off. The truth is that you won’t know how painful you find this procedure until you have it done.
The microblading tool itself resembles an X-Acto knife: it has a pen-like handle with a disposable tip composed of a row of ten to twelve tiny tattoo needles all lined up to act like a blade. It is typically for the patient’s eyes to water during the procedure, which can last an hour or two. Sneezing is another common reaction many people experience.
After the microblade has traced the border and filled in the interior of the outlined eyebrow, the dye is applied fairly thickly with a swab before more numbing cream is added.
For the first 24 hours after receiving microblading, the patient must apply antibiotic cream with a cotton swab to the brow areas to prevent infections. It is important not to touch the treated area directly with your fingers which might carry harmful germs to the small wounds.
For the first week after microblading, vaseline is applied to keep water away from the dyed skin. (Water can wash away the pigment.) Head hair is cleansed by tilting the head back. It is wise to avoid heavy exercise and perspiring during this initial healing period. Expect some itching as the irritated skin calms down.
The eyebrows appear very dark the first day after a microblading treatment as the pigment oxidizes as it interacts with the air. Up to 40 percent color lightening will occur within a week as part of the healing process. Some people experience swelling, redness, dryness, flaking skin and/or scabbing. Many report little to no pain after a day or two following the procedure.
The full color is achieved about a month after the microblading session.
Many people who have had microblading done to tattoo light or thin eyebrows are thrilled with their results. But do be aware that the skin around faded brows may take on a reddish tint after a year or more.