Microblading Is the Secret to Faking Full Eyebrows

By: Cherise Threewitt  | 
This before (left) and after (right) comparison shows how much thicker a woman's eyebrows look after she received a microblading treatment. HDesert/Shutterstock

Eyebrow trends have gone from thick to thin and back again over the decades. And who among us isn't guilty of plucking and tweezing just to resemble our favorite fashionistas? Perhaps even you tried to look like your favorite teen fashion idol — maybe '90s-era supermodel Niki Taylor or rocker Gwen Stefani?

So if the once-thick eyebrows you had are now thinning, you can blame all that teenage "maintenance" or perhaps even genetics, age and certain medical conditions. They all play roles in thinning eyebrows, too.


Today, eyebrows are still big business. There are tons of products dedicated to them — serums and potions that claim to improve growth, makeup pencils to fill in spots or enhance color, and pomades to smooth and hold shape.

But if you've tried all of those and you're still self-conscious, maybe microblading is the next step.


What Is Microblading?

Microblading is a type of cosmetic tattooing that creates realistic-looking eyebrow hairs. It's not the same as a traditional tattoo, though. There's no tattoo gun and microblading doesn't deposit ink into the deep layer of skin.

Instead, microblading uses a handheld blade-shaped tool (hence the name) that has a row of tiny needles. These needles are what deposit the hair-like ink into your top layer of skin. The look is softer and it's semi-permanent.


Ramon Padilla, founder and creative director of EverTrue Microblading Salon in Chicago, says microblading is suitable for most women and men, and he recommends an initial consultation to determine the final result. Padilla says microblading can be customized for any brow shape and pigments can be adjusted to suit any hair color.

"Typically, our clients want to improve their current brow shape — balance brows, create symmetry, add volume, fill in gaps — or create a completely new brow," Padilla says via email.

Microblading uses a handheld blade tool with lots of tiny needles that deposit the ink into the top layer of skin. The needles create the hair-like look of eyebrows.


How Long Does Microblading Last?

Though microblading is technically a tattoo, as pigment is implanted directly into skin, Padilla says many of his clients don't think of it that way, in part because microblading is only semi-permanent.

How long the results last will vary. Most health care experts say you can expect it to be between 18 and 30 months, depending on how you care for your brows during the healing process and your skincare habits in general. It's important to follow the technician's instructions for aftercare, which include keeping the brows clean and protected for about two weeks, and coating them with antibacterial ointment until they heal.


What Are the Health Risks of Microblading?

Health risks of microblading are similar to those of any tattoo. Infection is the biggest risk, so be sure to get the procedure at a salon that adheres to strict safety standards.

Furthermore, putting ink in your skin could cause an allergic reaction. In most cases, this can be managed with antihistamines or steroids. Other reactions to microblading include excessive scarring, granulomas or keloids, which are all caused by trauma to the skin. People who are pregnant or who have a history of excessive scarring should not get a microblading treatment.


Just like any tattoo, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't regulate microblading, so when you're looking for a technician, visit the salon first to ensure it's clean and that they are using only new and sterile needles and equipment for each client. Ask them how many years of training and experience they have.

After a microblading procedure, your eyebrows will go through a pretty standard healing process.


Microblading Pros and Cons

For those who really want fuller brows, Padilla says many of his clients have found microblading is worth it, and he's seen the popularity of microblading increase significantly in the past few years.

"When we opened our first salon in New York City in 2015, we were doing around 20 microblading treatments per month," he says. "Now it is close to 700 treatments across both our New York City and Chicago salons. It has become part of regular beauty upkeep for many women and men, primarily because they see a lasting and real difference in their appearance."


But there are pros and cons to consider for any beauty treatment, semi-permanent or not.


  • realistic overall effect
  • semipermanent — if you don't like the look, it will fade eventually
  • more convenient than daily brow makeup



  • semipermanent — will require touchups to maintain the look
  • slightly painful, but not as bad as a tattoo
  • potential side effects include itching, redness, or other reactions to the pigments
  • requires detailed aftercare for proper healing
  • can be expensive — in the range of several hundred dollars or more — depending on your location
Microblading isn't just for women. Men are jumping on the bandwagon, too.
Diana Guevara/Shutterstock