During my research, I found a lot of information online about microblading, and to be honest, some of the stories scared me so much I almost didn't show up for my appointment! But now, with my first microblading session behind me, I can honestly say...
I'm so glad I did it.
It actually took a very blunt friend of mine saying that I absolutely "had to do something about my eyebrows" for me to realize that my thinning eyebrows weren't just something I was noticing -- other people were noticing the issue, too.
Read below to learn more about how I decided microblading was for me, and my overall experience with Brows by Milly in Atlanta.
The Problem: Thinning Eyebrows
My eyebrows have long been an issue for me. During the 90s and early 2000s, I was committed to waxing and tweezing my eyebrows into thin strands that rested in perfect lines above my eyes. That look quickly went out of fashion, and by the time I was saying 'I do' to Chapin in 2003, I was desperately trying to grow my eyebrows out -- and having limited success. I was only 25 years old.
My mom struggles with thinning eyebrows, as do other female members of my family, so I'm thinking maybe it's a hereditary issue stemming from my (mostly) Italian roots. Despite trying to grow them out, my eyebrows remained thin... and just kept getting thinner as I got older.
|(From left) My mom, middle sister and me - May 2014 - Age 36.|
Trying to Fix the Issue -- Naturally and Unnaturally
I have always loved makeup, but I guess because when I was learning to apply makeup I didn't really pay much attention to my brows, I didn't buy my first brow tool until I was well entrenched in my 30s.
I just never really thought about it.
Keeping up this blog, and taking daily pictures of myself, helped me see myself in a new light. Around 2014, I realized that from far away, it looked like I didn't have any eyebrows at all, and up close, you could barely see them.
I knew I had to try something to get them to grow.
|May 2015 - Age 37 - This picture highlights my sparse brows at the time.|
From coconut oil to castor oil, wands and serums promising to help grow my strands, changing my diet... nothing worked. NOTHING WORKED! My eyebrows remained as thin as ever.
That's when I started trying to get creative with my makeup. From far away, it looked... okay. Up close, though, I felt like my eyebrows were drawn on, and it morphed into an issue I was starting to feel really self-conscious about. Even when I would run a 5K or see people out and about in more of a "make-up free" setting, I still would not leave the house without some kind of makeup on my sparse brows.
Eyebrow Makeup Obsessed
Over the last few years, I've been trying to find ways to draw in my eyebrows in the most natural way possible. Here is just a sampling of the products that made their way into my eyebrow arsenal:
- Anastasia Brow Wiz Pencil
- Anastasia DIPBROW Pomade
- Benefit Cosmetics Brow Zings Tame and Shape Kit
- Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel
- Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Brow Pencil
- Make Up For Ever Brow Liner
I don't even want to add up the cost of all those products!
And while I thought I was doing a decent job filling them in... obviously I wasn't. That's when I started looking into microblading.
Many people don't even know that microblading exists, as it is relatively new to the beauty scene. Basically, microblading is a series of semi-permanent tattoos that mimic the look of eyebrow hair. They are not permanent -- the marks don't go as deep into the skin's layers as they do when getting a permanent tattoo -- but they will still last up to one year.
Most beauty magazine and bloggers have covered microblading in some form or another, so when I started my research, there was plenty to read and understand. You can't let the research scare you out of having microblading -- like most things, there are a few horror stories out there -- but you also can't be ignorant of the risks.
Microblading is a committment, so you have to really want thicker eyebrows. If that's the case, you have to go to the RIGHT place with the RIGHT technician. Microblading is, at its core, an art form, so don't just go anywhere. Be confident with your decision to get microblading, then be confident once you choose the right place for the procedure.
My Microblading Advice
I'm not an expert on microblading, but I do have some advice to share:
Do Your Research:
First, you have to decide if microblading is really the right option for you. If you feel self-conscious about your brows like I did, I say go for it. But the decision has to be yours and yours alone. Don't let anyone else talk you into (or out) of it.
Narrow Down the Location:
I had a lot of microblading options here in Atlanta. I narrowed it down to two places -- one I found on my own and one that my dermatologist recommended. You may want to even ask friends for recommendations, maybe even put something out on Facebook. Most likely someone you know has had this procedure! Whatever the case, once you've done your research, just focus on a few places so you can really feel confident in your decision about where to go.
Get a Consultation:
Most places will offer a consultation, but it's not mandatory. Even though I had to pay for my consultation at Brows by Milly, I'm glad that I did. I asked a lot of questions, felt more at ease about what I would be signing up for, and viewed the location in person. I'm not sure I would have just signed up for microblading without taking that first step.
One of the biggest reasons I decided to go with Brows by Milly was the reviews. I couldn't find anyone who had a bad experience there. I would have to drive almost 50 minutes to get there, but I didn't care -- I felt confident I was going to the right place.
Review Before and After Photos:
I was concerned that my brows, being so sparse, wouldn't look natural with microblading. I found several Before and After photos showing women with similar looking brows, and the After photos always amazed me. Yes, I know that photos can be Photoshopped and altered, so I looked for videos, too. The Brows by Milly Instagram page had so many photos, it was easy to see the team there knows what they're doing!
My Personal Microblading Experience
I read everything I could about what to do before and after microblading, so I did not have any caffeine the day of the procedure. I was extremely nervous, and almost decided not to go to my appointment. But -- usually -- when I make a decision, I stick to it, so that's what I did. (I told a lot of people I was doing it, so I think that made it a little easier to stay with my decision.)
So, now for the answers to some frequently asked questions about microblading:
Does It Hurt?
A little... definitely not as much as I thought. I have sensitive skin, and an especially sensitive brow area -- I constantly sneezed when I used to pluck by brows -- so I was expecting some intense pain and discomfort. But I sneezed just once and generally found the pain to be very tolerable. After the first ten minutes, they put some numbing cream on, and once that happens, it's smooth sailing. My eyes did water constantly, though!
Did You Wear Makeup the Day of the Procedure?
Yes. I had an afternoon appointment, so I worked in the morning and was in full makeup when I arrived. They will sanitize the area they are working with, so don't worry about that!
Who Was Your Technician?
My brows are by Niki Marques, the sister to the famous Milly. She did an amazing job and really put me at ease when she saw how nervous I was on the day of the procedure!
How Does It Look?
The short answer... fantastic!
|Photo: Brows by Milly/Instagram|
What Happens Next?
After the procedure, you basically can't get your eyebrows wet for 10 days. No sweating or wetting! That has maybe been the hardest part of this whole experience. I can't take a shower like normal and I can't run or workout. Ugh!
What Do Your Brows Look Like Now?
Here are my brows on Day 8, and they still look wonderful. At this point, I hadn't experienced any scabbing or peeling! Note: I'm not wearing any eyebrow makeup -- you actually can't for the first ten days!
Most people haven't even noticed; they just think I have natural, beautiful brows!
By Day 9, I had started to see more scabbing and the pigment coming away in more places. Check out my video from Day 10:
How Often Do You Have to Get Microblading Done?
In about a month, I will go back for a touch-up, and then I just need to go yearly to keep up the work. I will definitely be doing that.
How Much Does It Cost?
Microblading is not cheap, especially if you go to a reputable place. You should budget about $650 for everything, from the consultation to the main appointment to the touch-up. The cost will go down for regular appointments, but you can expect about $450 per year. To me, it's worth that for the peace of mind and confidence I feel right now.
And if I don't want to keep it up, all I have to do is stop going, and the color will fade from my brows.
Now all I'm asking is... why didn't I do this sooner?