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Emma microblading
Courtesy of the author

Trying out microblading, the lazy girl’s dream shortcut to full brows

What is microblading, does it look good and can you get it even if you are a real baby about pain? We find out

When I was growing up, the area above my eyes was positively hirsute. Bushy and full, my eyebrows drew comparisons to the likes of Liam Gallagher, which, as a shy teenager who just wanted to fit in, was less than ideal. By the time I hit about 14, I discovered tweezers, and like so many others in the mid-00s, proceeded to pluck them into oblivion. While I love the skinny brows that are making a big comeback right now, on account of my almost perfectly spherical head, I quickly came to the conclusion I was best off leaving my brows to do their thing not long after that first tweezing frenzy. 

Cut to 2022, and I guess I’ve come off lightly. While some people who’ve gone wild with their own pair never live to see them regrow beyond two skinny little slips of things, mine made a not-too-shabby return. While they’re a little bit sparse in places, and the tails really aren’t much to write home about, they’re nothing a few strokes of an eyebrow pencil and quick slick of Boy Brow can’t zhuzh up in a couple of minutes each morning. 

The thing is, though, I’m often too low maintenance for even that. Once the kind of gal who put on a full face of make-up to pop to the corner shop for a pint of milk, lockdown has seen me perform a 360 to the point I rarely even bother with my failsafe blusher of a morning – and tbh, having previously been a bit of slave to my make-up bag, I’m kind of happy I now have the confidence to set foot out the door without so much as a dot of concealer. The only thing holding me back, however, was my brows, which is where Chloe Peach comes in. 

Peach is the founder of Cosmic Peach Tattoo, which, as of last summer, is situated in its permanent home in East London’s Mare Street Market, sandwiched between a cute florist, a couple of great restaurants, bars, and more. If it seems an unlikely place for a cosmetic tattooist to set up shop, it kind of is, but we’ll get to why it works (at least pour moi) in a minute. 

Having started in special effects make-up, Peach moved into cosmetic tattooing almost three years ago. Right now, she offers impactful ombre and soft powder brows, delicate hair stroke brows, and microblading, as well as lip pigment tattooing designed to enhance the natural hue of your pout. Expanding on her expertise, she has also signed up to learn how to tattoo natural-looking nipples, which will enable her to empower people who have undergone mastectomies, for example.

Having spotted an Insta-friend having her eyebrows microbladed here sometime last summer, I decided to take the plunge and book in for my own appointment. In case you’re not familiar, microblading is a treatment in which tiny, hair-like strokes are tattooed into the skin, before being filled with pigment. When finished, they give the effect of full-looking, natural brows that are hard to detect from the real thing. 

On arriving at Peach’s tiny but welcoming studio one Sunday afternoon in November, I was basically a shaking bag of nerves. A real baby about pain, the only tattoo I bear is a dodgy one I don’t remember getting at a warehouse party back in 2018 (a wishbone, if you’re wondering, and yes it’s dead chic). Immediately I was put at ease by Peach, who described the procedure as “a bit spicy”, but nothing a slathering of numbing cream couldn’t sort out.

“The sensation of the tiny needle was odd but not painful: like tiny taps dragging across the surface of my skin”

From there, Peach spent almost 20 minutes mapping out my face using a piece of thread and an eyebrow pencil, before showing me where she intended to microblade, and checking whether or not I was happy with both the placement and the thickness. After we’d made some adjustments, I was ready to be tattooed (or rather Peach was ready to get going: I was still pretty nervous). I needn’t have worried.

The sensation of the tiny needle was odd but not painful: like tiny taps dragging across the surface of my skin. Threading or even tweezing is far more painful – at least to begin with – and even I manage to undergo both of those procedures with little discomfort. When the numbing cream began to wear off, things got a little sharper, but nothing even a person with an incredibly low pain threshold (hi!) couldn’t handle. 

Across the next 45 minutes, Peach was methodical – going in again and again to add the perfect amount of tiny hairstrokes, and checking I was happy with where things were going at regular intervals. For those who get freaked out by the mechanical buzzing sound of a tattoo gun (again, hi!), the comings and goings of people popping into the cafe and deli outside was v successful in keeping my mind off what was actually happening right in front of my face. I’d go as far as to say it was even… kind of relaxing?(!)

In just under two hours, I was sitting up as Peach handed me a mirror to take a look at her handiwork. The pigment looked a lot darker than it had when she had mixed it, but she explained that would be the case for a while. As my brows healed, across the space of the next month, they would calm TF down and look a lot more like my natural colour.

Over the next week or so I did my best to keep my fingers away from my brows, as they scabbed up a little and got super itchy. About ten days in, the damaged skin had flaked off successfully (gorj x), and from then until the three week mark, they began to look a little faded. Though Peach had told me this was all part of the healing process, as a new protective layer of skin formed over the tattoo, I worried I’d been a bit restrained when it came to the shape and colour of my brows – particularly after I’d gotten so used to how dark and prominent they’d been when fresh from the needle. 

By the time day 28 had rolled round and they were fully healed, I finally got the full picture. They were bushy and defined with few gaps, but basically undetectable – when attempting to pluck a few strays, I had a hard job working out which were tattooed and which were the real deal. Fast forward to March 2022, and, after a final one-hour top-up session to fill in, add volume, and touch up bits that didn’t heal properly, and I’m obsessed with my ‘new brows’ – if anything, had I have had the guts, I probably would have gone a bit more ham and got them slightly bigger. 

With results lasting up to three years, when the strokes will eventually fade completely, perhaps that’s something I’ll consider when the time comes to top up in about 18 months or so. Watch out, Cara Delevingne: I’m coming for you.