Claire takes us behind the scenes to find out what Microblading is, how it's done and what the resulting look is. Watch her vid below and read her full review here.
Why would ANYONE want to get something as visible and vitally critical as their eyebrows TATOOED ONTO THEIR FACE?! That’s what I asked myself when I first heard about Microblading, a relatively new beauty treatment where fine lines are essentially tatooed into your skin, creating the illusion of fuller brows.
My eyebrows are ‘my thing’. You know that one thing you fuss over on your face that nobody else probably ever notices but to you is the total summation of whether you can leave the house or not on a daily basis?? So the thought of letting someone ink me in permanent marker and also pay them for the privilege was no less than a clear sign of insanity fully realised.
Enter a talented make-up artist called Rebekah Banks who recently worked on me for a shoot. When she stepped back to reveal the magic she had woven on my face, the first thing I noticed was how amazing I thought my brows looked and exclaimed "Oh, if only they looked like that all the time!" Rebekah was like "they can babe, you should get them microbladed, I've just had mine done." After close inspection I decided that her brows looked incredibly natural and I couldn't tell that she'd had anything done at all, so my interest was firmly piqued. But I was still confused. How did it work? How permanent was permanent? How much does that hurt and how can I possibly trust someone to ink something on to my FACE?
So Rebekah put me in touch with her brow guru to have all my questions answered. The lovely Helena of Dottir Skin and Beauty works out of multiple studios around Auckland. She has been working as a professional beauty and skin therapist for 10 years and trained with a well-known European company called PHI BROWS last year as she wanted to expand her skill set. Her training required a two day intensive course and a further 2 months of practising on latex, passing levels before she could perform her skills on someone’s actual brows. One of the first things that stood out as important to me was that the Phibrows practitioners only work with a vegan, non-toxic pigment that is not tested on animals. This stuff is going to be embedded into your skin after all, and I’m pretty firm about toxins staying the hell away as much as I can.
So what is Microblading?
It is where a trained professional uses a small microblade made up of tiny needles (a purpose built tool, see our vid below) to cut tiny lines into the brow that mimic the look of a single, individual hair. The lines are then filled with pigment, much like a tattoo. The colour is assessed and adjusted by the professional to suit the individuals look and needs. The process takes a couple of hours for the first session. After approximately four weeks the colour and lines have shrunk and faded to a point where a second session is required to complete the process. This is where they can adjust colour and shape to get it looking just right.
One of the things that really sells it to me is that its not QUITE so permanent that mistakes can't be erased or dealt with, and its just unlikely that mistakes will occur with the right professional. Just like with a regular tattoo I guess. The process is meticulously drawn in on your face first, before any ink has come close to it. They use precise measuring devices to help them find the perfect shape for YOUR face, eyes, brows etc. Helena doesn't want to interfere with natures way. She understands that no-one is born with perfectly matching brows and therefore that is not the goal. She loves trying to make each individual brow look as natural as possible, in a way that suits every individuals face and everyones personal desires. The other useful aspect of the treatment is that because of how small the lines are that are drawn, they fade quite quickly, and this allows the artist time to see how the colour and shape look and adjust them accordingly in the second session.
So I'm in. I was so confidant and excited about the treatment once we started, that I was comfy enough to film video, have a chat and even laugh while she was making her tiny incisions!!
Watching her carve these tiny lines was fascinating. And to the important question of PAIN. She does use a small dose of anaesthetic gel on the brows, but she waits until she has done a first pass of a few lines before she applies it. This is because when a anaesthetic cream is applied to the skin prior to treatment it can change the texture of the skin. The skin does swell from anaesthetic so when the skin is healed each stroke can be blurred which is not the desired effect Helena is going for. She wants each stroke to be clean and crisp and very fine matching an actual hair.
It felt like small scratches on the skin. After a short time I noticed the heat build up, but Helena kept checking in with me and once I called it at around 6-7 she applied the cooling gel. I didn’t feel anything much after that.
Helena had warned me they would look 40-50% darker immediately after and then fade gradually over a week. But I was instantly impressed with how natural they looked. It's such a unique effect. So I planned to get them done at a time when I didn’t have an event on, because the cleaner you can keep them the better they heal (ie. no makeup on them). She gave me easy to follow post care instructions. Its essentially like a small wound healing, so she gave me a gel to use every day and when they got itchy, which they inevitably did after about day 3, I would throw that on and feel relief straight away. She did warn there could be dry, flaky skin depending on how well your skin heals, but I didn’t seem to have any of that. I just kept them well oiled and clean.
They did fade in intensity of colour over that next ten days, but that also gave me time to decide how much I liked their shape and if there was anything I wanted adjusted. Oh, and no-one close to me really noticed! I had a couple of colleagues look at me twice and say ‘something’s different, have you had your hair done?’ One mate even exclaimed – ‘you look great today, did you get laid last night?!’ What a compliment ;)
I went back four weeks later for my second treatment. Helena went over some of the lines and added a few new ones where we thought they needed it, I followed the same after care and here I am – four weeks after that second session – and I LOVE THEM. They look natural and far better than I could do them myself.
I highly recommend going to someone who’s work you have seen and trust or had recommended to you personally. I can’t praise Helena enough. But I had looked through her Instagram first and seen her work on Rebekah’s brows up close so I knew she was good.
It has changed my morning routine drastically. I feel SO happy to be able to run out of the house with nothing but sunscreen on my face and feel confidant about bumping in to Tom Hardy if the universe deems it so. He will no doubt smile at me and say ‘Wow - you have such beautifully shaped brows Claire – that face should be on screen, there’s a role in my next film I think you’d be perfect for’. Or things to that effect. No Doubt.
Yours in Health & Happiness, CC x