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The lowdown on microblading, the semi-permanent solution for sparse brows

TextNellie Eden

From down-time, to the healing process and the top-up session – here’s the nitty gritty in order to help you make the best decision for yourself…

At 15 years old my eyebrows were my pride and joy. Tadpole-like in shape, and unnaturally deep in colour, my over-plucked brows required constant attention. My hair is coarse and thick which meant I was slavish to my eyebrows and the upkeep, often reaching for the tweezers every morning before college. As you can imagine, I thought they were stunning. 

By the time I reached university, the ‘Scouse Brow’ had muscled its way in and was busy taking her seat as Queen of the brows. Like most I panicked – my patchy, arched brows didn’t meet the requirements of HD brows. The nation went crazy for brow bars; tinting, pencils, gels, and powders. Supermodels like Cara Delevingne were setting the new benchmark and like most of my peers, I was coming up short, thin, and patchy. 

Fast-forward to 2020 and we seem to have arrived at a more sensible consensus for what maketh a pleasing brow. All shapes, sizes, and widths are encouraged and celebrated. From Brooke Candy’s no-brow-brows, to Sophia Hadjipanteli’s monobrow and Salih’s landscaped man-brows, the 2020’s look good for face scaffolding. Which, actually, makes sense considering we all have different faces – but for whatever reason it’s taken us a while to get here. At 29, I’m starting to decide I look best with an untamed, natural-looking eyebrow shape but the 00s were cruel to me and mean my semi-thick brows lose their oomph at the tails (more on that later) and lack symmetry. I find too that the older I get the less time I’m willing to spend primping and preening, which led me to learn more about microblading

As a beauty editor I’m semi-clued up on semi-permanent make-up, but I’d yet to try it. Microblading is a tattooing process, but not permanent, with results lasting between one-three years. It promises to give you the shape and fullness you’ve always desired and the results look very natural on Instagram. Fine blades scratch the surface of the skin leaving a medical grade pigment on the epidermis layer of the skin behind. The strokes are as fine looking as your eyebrows hairs and each procedure is entirely tailored to the client. Sounds good, right?

I went to visit Natasha at Borciani London clinic in central London. I briefed Natasha that I was after the most natural-looking shape possible. Not too tidy, not too structured. We started with Natasha chalking out a potential shape, length, and width. My facial structure and symmetry was taken into account and I was happy after Natsha’s first go at etching out my new brows. Natasha then applied a numbing ointment that took around 30-40 minutes to become effective. 

Natasha then began the process, which is done by hand– no buzzing tattoo needles, but a light scratch that’s more audible than painful. This process takes around half an hour and Natasha works meticulously and precisely. When I get up and glance at myself in the mirror, I’m happy with the results. Darker, fuller, more structured without looking preened. Natasha stocks me up with after tattoo appointment care, and I’m instructed not to wash or fiddle with them for 24 hours post treatment. Thereafter, I’m to wash them with baby bath products and pat them dry with tissue. Natasha warns me that they’ll darken, flake off and then heal, after which I’ll come back in 6 weeks for a top up. All pretty straightforward. I leave feeling a little self-conscious, they’re dark and a bit red around the edges, but head straight into a meeting and everything seems normal come bed time. 

Fast-forward 48 hours and I’m anxiously in contact with Natasha about how heavy my eyebrows look. I start to really panic and have to confess to my boyfriend that I’ve had my eyebrows semi-permanently drawn on my face – much to his amusement and to my utter anguish. Natasha has the patience of a saint and advises me to wait this period out. I quickly discover the Reddit threads, memes, forums, and Instagram accounts regailing the awkward process of microblading: the too dark stage, the shedding-like-a-snake days, and the patchy dip towards the end. My greatest concern is the ‘tails’ (the end of the brows) which Natasha has filled in, as opposed to adding single brush strokes. This is necessary because I had no hair there, but I feel unsettled as I watch them change colour over a two week period. Only finally settling into a hue that matches my own towards the very end. 

Lo and behold six weeks later and my eyebrows look – fleeky, is that still a thing? I’m constantly complimented on the shape and thickness and no one has guessed they’re not my own. I feel smug after showers and swimming sessions. I can use Natasha’s groundwork to build a fuller brow for a night out, or take them as they are. Not only is this an answer for people with thinning or light brows, this is also a solution for lazy brow fanatics like myself. I think it’s important to note that mine were dark and full-ish to begin with and I imagine that’s a head start, but it entirely depends what you’re after. 

At the six week top-up, we fill in a few more strokes. This time, I’m prepared for the healing cycle. Now, I forget I’ve had them done, which for me is the ultimate sign of a beauty procedure success. I rarely wear make-up but notice I look more awake with my now fuller, more filled-in eyebrows. This procedure is not for the faint hearted and should be well researched. There are horror stories aplenty online, evidence of cowboy practitioners at work, but if you’re able to book with an expert like Natasha I’m sure this procedure will be a godsend for lots of people. 

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