From the arch to the color to the thickness, the qualities of one’s eyebrows have the ability to completely change a person’s appearance. Nowadays, you can achieve a certain look with the help of cult-classic beauty products such as Glossier’s Boy Brow or Benefit Cosmetics’ Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel. But, while these products do the trick, they also add a few minutes into your daily makeup routine and there is always a chance that you’ll “overdo” it and leave the house with Eugene Levy-esque brows.
Microblading is the process of adding semi-permanent pigment to your eyebrows in order to create the appearance of hair strokes. Using a tiny hand-held needle, the artist (it really is an art) is able to create hair-thin strokes in a very deliberate and specific manner. Kendra Bray is the artist at Better Brows New York City, and she aims to make every single client (and their brows) look like a masterpiece. My first visit with Kendra consisted of a consultation where I described what my ideal eyebrows looked like and what my expectations were for microblading. Kendra requested I arrive wearing any eyebrow products I typically use, so she could get a better sense of what my eyebrow goals were.
Kendra is a former model so she admits that she spent years analyzing her own face along with the faces of basically everyone around her. She understands what type of eyebrow looks best on someone’s face in terms of symmetry, shade and thickness.
Next, Kendra gave me her professional opinion on what type of enhancement would be best for me. Instead of traditional microblading, where lines are created to imitate strokes of hair, she suggested powder microblading. Since I have a good amount of eyebrow hair (microblading is ideal for people with super thin, over-plucked eyebrows), but the color is fair, I wanted to darken the brows and enhance the shape in the arch. Powder microblading is basically adding a shadow of pigment behind the eyebrow hair in order to give a natural and subtle look.
Once we agreed that powder was the best option for me, Kendra outlined my eyebrows to show me exactly what the end result would be. It was a collaborative effort where I made comments and she adjusted the lines. Microblading typically lasts for up to a year (depending on your skin type, sun exposure, etc.) so it’s important to be honest and express what you want. Luckily, Kendra also takes eyebrows seriously so it felt as though she were working on her own face as she took measurements to ensure symmetry and made several adjustments before deciding the brows were ready. She mixed the pigment that would best complement my skin and hair and then numbed my eyebrows using a topical anesthetics. Once she started the process of actually microblading, there were a few fleeting moments of pain but overall, it was not excruciating.
Afterwards, my eyebrows were a bit red for about an hour and the pigment was slightly discolored for a day or two until becoming the desired shade Kendra mixed for me. My eyebrows were flaky for a week after the procedure, and I used a “wound dressing gel” (similar to regular tattoo aftercare) to help the healing. The most stressful part about the healing process was that you cannot get your eyebrows wet. At all. So, I used a lot of makeup remover wipes and my showers were slightly more strategic.
The entire first session at Better Brows New York City took about two hours and after two weeks my eyebrows are almost fully healed and looking naturally beautiful. There will be a follow-up appointment (dubbed the “perfecting session”) where Kendra will examine my new eyebrows and make any necessary touch-ups, depending on pigment retention and personal preference. Kendra explained to me that cosmetic tattoo procedures are semi-permanent which means it is easy to add more pigment during the perfecting session, rather than undesirably add too much during the first session.
My biggest takeaway from the experience is that if you are interested in microblading, be sure to ask about other options. The powder technique was so much more fitting for my eyebrows and I had no idea it existed. Ask questions and explore all the options before investing in a year of new eyebrows.
The follow-up appointments are scheduled 6-12 weeks after the initial session.