The eyebrows are one of the most important features on a person’s face. When properly sculpted, they can balance the facial features and increase overall attractiveness. Many women choose to groom their eyebrows and often add in temporary cosmetic enhancements like brow pencils, powders, and colored gels as part of their makeup routine. Some women opt for a permanent solution to this daily routine and have their eyebrows tattooed onto their faces. Now, there is a semi-permanent option for sparse or nonexistent brows: eyebrow microblading. The procedure is performed by licensed aesthetician, Giselle Lupovich at the Schrader Facial Plastic Surgery office in Princeton, NJ under the guidance of facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Nicole Schrader.
How Does Eyebrow Microblading Work?
The centuries-old method of tattooing has transformed with newly developed application methods, but uses a similar approach for permanent skin art. Tattoos are designs embedded in the dermis, which is the deepest layer of skin. Eyebrow microblading pigment, however, is delivered to the upper dermis. This is why the cosmetic treatment is considered semi-permanent. The needles from the microblading instrument nick the skin to depth of the upper dermis. The ends of the needles deposit the pigment to this layer, and remain in place as the skin heals over it. As new skin cells regenerate from within, this pigment eventually is pushed out of the skin, a process that can take from one to three years.
How is Eyebrow Microblading Performed?
The eyebrow microblading procedure should be performed by an expert in nonsurgical beauty remedies who is trained in the technique. Disposable or sanitized equipment is used, including a microblading instrument that contains needles at the tip. The tool is not battery-powered or electric like a tattoo gun, but requires manual individual strokes by the practitioner. The needles are commonly U-shaped or arranged at an angle. This is because the differing lengths produce a more natural result and realistic individual hairs. Single-use tattoo pigment may be supplied by tattoo artistry companies or microblading supply companies.
During the procedure, this skin is thoroughly cleansed and disinfected to prevent infection from occurring in the small cuts the needles create in the skin. Next, a topical numbing cream is applied to the eyebrows as needed. The cream remains in place for about twenty minutes, and gives patients time to use the restroom, drink some water, or do anything else to prepare for the two hour procedure.
After the numbing cream is cleaned off the eyebrows, the aesthetician may trim and lightly tweeze the eyebrows to prepare them for the treatment. Next, the aesthetician begins to create measurements on the eyebrows. These can be executed using a golden ratio tool for the ideal measurements and double feature symmetry. The string method is also popular for professional microbladers because it utilizes the patient’s facial features to create the correct points for the newly inked hairs to be embedded under the skin. The beginning point of each brow is measured at the corner of the eyes, and the outer nostrils form a diagonal line to the end points. Some experts choose to fill in the brows and go over the existing coloring, while others form an outline of each eyebrow.
After the preparations are completed, the microblading procedure commences. Using precise strokes that begin in the direction of the hair growth, the aesthetician dips the tip of the microblading pen into the ink and creates tattoo hairs where needed. Some aestheticians perform this part of the procedure by marking a single hair on one brow, then mirror the mark in the same spot on the other eyebrow. This helps to ensure an even look and creates the initial outline for the first pass, or the foundation strokes.
Once this process has been complete, a pigment mask may be applied. This step utilizes a large amount of ink to completely cover the eyebrows to ensure each micro injury has been thoroughly coated with the coloring.
After the pigment mask is cleansed from the eyebrows, some microblading experts like to perform a touch up as the next step in the procedure. Numbing cream may be reapplied, and each eyebrow undergoes a repeat process of the semi-permanent brow tattoo marks followed by a full covering of each brow. Other touchups may be necessary in the future, and should be performed after the eyebrows have fully healed.
Reasons to Undergo Microblading
Eyebrow microblading is ideal for both men and women seeking more definition to the facial features. Patients may have been overzealous about past grooming techniques like waxing, tweezing, and threading, causing a sparse look. Others have naturally minimal eyebrows, have conditions like alopecia areata, or have undergone cancer treatments that have led to hair loss, including that of the brows. The pigment can balance asymmetry in the eyebrows and add to existing hairs or create these face-framing features after complete loss of the eyebrows.
Patients with active lifestyles can be great candidates for eyebrow microblading because the procedure does not require daily maintenance. After spending time outdoors, swimming, or sweating at the gym, there is no need to redo brow makeup. Undergoing microblading is also a time-saver and great for those with busy lifestyles who do not have time to apply makeup, or simply prefer a more natural look. Other candidates for semi-permanent eyebrow tattooing may be poor at makeup artistry techniques, allergic to makeup, or have physical limitations of the eyes and hands.
Candidates for Eyebrow Microblading
Microblading is seen as a universal procedure that most people can undergo, but there are some limitations. Prospective patients may require their doctor’s approval to be considered. Those with thin, crepey skin with many wrinkles are not suited for microblading, because the texture of the skin will have difficulty holding the pigment and can create asymmetry. The tattooing process is also not ideal for people who are prone to keloid hypertrophic scars or have an allergy to the pigment. While the conditions may be temporary, open wounds and any kind of infection (bacterial or viral) will preclude candidacy for treatment until they have subsided. Some skin conditions must also be treated prior to the procedure. A doctor may need to be consulted for approval if the patient is pregnant, has high blood pressure, diabetes, or cancer, is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments, uses blood thinners, or takes certain medications. Any other health concerns should also be addressed when evaluating candidacy.
Preparing to Undergo Eyebrow Microblading
In an effort to avoid complications and experience the best results, patients are provided with a set of instructions on how to prepare for eyebrow microblading. For a week before the procedure, they should discontinue taking blood thinners, over-the-counter pain medications, and certain oil supplements. Patients should consult with their doctors before stopping any regularly prescribed medications or supplements. Other medications including antibiotics or those containing iron or magnesium can also create issues. Additionally, any prescription-grade or intensive skin care treatments, like the use of retinols should cease a week before the patient’s appointment.
In the 24 hours before visiting Schrader Facial Plastic Surgery, patients should refrain from working out or consuming alcohol. A few hours prior to microblading, the patient should not consume any caffeine due to its stimulant effects, which can increase sensations. Patients are encouraged to eat a half hour before undergoing the procedure to ensure stable blood sugar levels and patient comfort. If the patient generally takes antibiotics before a dental treatment, the same precautions should be taken before eyebrow microblading to prevent infection.
Eyebrow Microblading Aftercare
Patients can return to work the same day of their appointment, though the area around the eyes may be tender and red. Patients are instructed to avoid exercise for the next three days. It is important that the eyebrows are not exposed to any unnecessary moisture like sweat or water from a shower or swimming.
Patients can lose up to 50% of the pigment that has been embedded under the skin, and the ink that remains tends to darken over time. Scabs will form over the micro injuries and help to seal in the pigment. These scabs should not be picked, because this can interfere with color retention. Patients must be careful to keep any pollutants like animal dander, cosmetics, and bacteria away from the area by washing their hands and maintaining good hygiene. Makeup and skin care regimens can be resumed after the patient has healed. Sun exposure is off limits until patients can safely apply SPF over the area. When sleeping, it is best for those who have undergone eyebrow microblading to sleep on their backs so as to not disturb the pigment in the eyebrows or permanently damage their pillow cases.
Depending on a patient’s skin type, one of two healing methods may be prescribed: dry or moist healing. Those with oily skin may heal with the best results by primarily maintaining a dry treatment area, using antibiotic or other ointments sparingly, and spot hydrating the brows with a disinfectant spray or cotton swab and water.
If a patient tends to have very dry skin, optimal healing may be possible through maintaining hydration of the area by applying antibiotic or other ointments up to three times a day. These patients can also use cotton swabs to maintain the general cleanliness of the brows.
After healing, touch-ups may be necessary to maintain results.
For the next 4 weeks, patients are discouraged from undergoing other facial cosmetic treatments that may adversely impact the look of the newly designed eyebrows. Chemical peels and the application of any type of acid, including salicylic, glycolic, and AHA should be delayed. Additionally, laser treatments – both ablative and non-ablative – should not be utilized on the patient’s skin for about a month. This includes IPL (intense pulsed light) procedures.
Eyebrow Microblading FAQs
Depending on the patient’s skin, it can take one to two weeks to fully heal from eyebrow restoration. During this time, scabs may form and the skin may flake, which are both expected aspects of the healing process. It can take about a month for the final brow color to be visible.
No, the existing hairs will remain intact. Though the procedure is called microblading, there is no blade involved in the process, but rather tiny needles that puncture the skin and deliver the color to deeper layers of skin. The hair and hair follicles of the eyebrows should not be impacted.
The pigment will remain in place for the next one to three years, and will gradually fade as new skin cells form from within. The procedure can be repeated, and there are typically no issues with scar tissue forming in the area.
After nicks are created in the skin, pigment in the needle tips is pushed down into the upper dermis. As the skin heals over the injury, the pigment remains. Some pigment is lost during the healing process, but the aesthetician will provide aftercare instructions that will help maintain the results. Touch-ups can also be performed once the area has healed.
Why Choose Dr. Schrader
- She is a double board certified surgeon in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Otolaryngology & Head/Neck Surgery.
- Dr. Schrader is a member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- She has over 10 years of experience, 5+ years in private practice and has performed hundreds of facelift surgeries.
- Dr. Schrader Recognized as Best Plastic Surgeon by Town Topics Readers’ Choice Awards.
Contact Schrader Facial Plastic Surgery through the online Contact Form, or the New Jersey practice offices in Princeton, Robbinsville, or Voorhees location:
Central New Jersey: (609) 279-0009
Southern New Jersey: (856) 656-0060