The truth is, microblading is not 100% successful on all skin types (research shows that it is less so on oily, and sometimes black, skin*) so it’s definitely worth doing your research first. ‘Does microblading work on older skin?’ is a question I’ve posed to Google time and time again. I therefore thought that some of you might be interested in my microblading experience. If it worked for Helen Mirren in her 60s, then it was worth a try in my late 40s!
I’ve hated my eyebrows for as long as I can remember. During my childhood and young teens, the naturally bushy eyebrows that I was born with, were a subject of much mockery. During the 90s when I finally plucked up the courage to do something about them, I went a little too far, resulting in two thin (non-matching) lines of whispy shapelessness – lines that sadly never grew back! I had a brief dalliance with threading (the least said about that the better) and more recently, I resorted to the daily chore of filling them in with a pencil.
For the last 3 years, I’ve been having the stray hairs waxed every 6 weeks and the few hairs that I do have, tinted. When my beautician, Jasmine, said that she was going on a course to learn how to do microblading, I was the first in line. Looking for guinea-pigs at a 50% discount? Even more reason to sign up!
Your Microblading Questions Answered
First up, I’m going to answer some of the questions that I know you’re probably dying to ask…
What is microblading?
Without getting too technical, microblading is tiny cuts made into the skin using a hand-held blade. The individual cuts/scratches (designed to look like hairs) are made manually, then filled in with pigment.
What is the difference between a tattooed brow and a microbladed brow?
Many people get confused between microblading and permanent tattooed brows. Techniques have moved on quite a bit since permanent make-up first became a ‘thing’ and there is now so much choice out there.
The main difference between tattooed brows and microbladed brows, is the ink used. Tattoo ink is very different to the pigment that is used in microblading, which is designed to fade over time. Tattoo ink tends to change colour over time (from dark brown/black to a blueish colour) whereas pigment holds its colour but the shade gets lighter.
The other major difference is that tattooing is done using a machine, while microblading is done using a hand tool to create more defined strokes. The end result is probably more of a natural looking brow rather than the more filled-in appearance of a tattooed brow. If you’re a little hesitant (like me) then microblading is probably the less risky of the two.
Are microbladed brows permanent?
Strictly speaking, microbladed brows are not permanent, they generally last 1-3 years depending on skin type. They fade over time and then I’m told will need topping up.
Does microblading hurt?
The answer to this probably depends on who you ask and how much reshaping needs to be done. I actually found the process quite painful, particularly during the first session (I had to have it done 3 times – don’t ask!) which took around 2.5 hours. You can have numbing cream applied beforehand but for some reason, I didn’t find this particularly effective.
At the final touch up (probably because there wasn’t nearly so much ground to cover) I didn’t find the pain too bad at all.
The Microblading Process
I honestly had no idea what to expect before I went into my first appointment. All I knew is that I was fed up of trying different products, hoping to one day land on the holy grail that would rescue these brows from doom…
On arrival, Jasmine explained that she would measure my face and then, using an eyebrow pencil, draw the brow shape that she thinks would look best. I had come armed with some images of brows that I definitely did NOT want, along with some of those that I liked.
We tweaked the pencil markings until we were both happy and then she tried out some different shades on my forehead, to see which colour worked best with my skin tone. She ended up mixing two so that the colour was dark but with warm tones.
She then applied numbing cream and set to work. The whole process took around 2.5 hours – the individual strokes take precision and have to be repeated again and again, if the pigment is to take.
There are a few things that I naively didn’t realise about this process. They might be worth noting before you take the plunge:
- Your brows have a certain line that the technician will have to work with and you’ll have to accept.
- Everyone’s skin tone and texture is different meaning that the technician cannot tell beforehand, which skin will take well and which might need two or three takes.
- Brows are meant to be twins not sisters (I’ll always prefer the left one!).
- The muscles in your face can cause a brow to look wonky when it actually isn’t.
- You might like the end result but they won’t stay that way for long (more on that little shocker below).
The Microblading Healing Process (Days 1-35)
One thing I assumed, is that once on, the brows would stay on. Not true. Despite my technician explaining the healing process during my 2.5 hour procedure, I was not fully prepared for what happened thereafter…
Day 1 – a few hours after my first microblading session (FYI you cannot get your eyebrows wet for the next 10 days).
Day 3 – brows have gone a lot darker, just as the technician said they would (FYI no make up, brushing or products near them).
Days 6-9 – brows have scabbed over and are starting to feel itchy (FYI no scratching or picking during this phase).
Days 10-14 – coconut oil is applied gently every day, scabs are starting to naturally fall off.
Days 15-35 – It’s totally normal to have very little hair strokes left once the scabs fall off. My technician explained that the full colour doesn’t come through for at least 4 weeks and it can be a gradual process. The problem? Mine didn’t come back any more than you can see in the above image.
Jasmine included a touch up in her price and most good technicians will do the same. It’s extremely unlikely that anyone will be 100% satisfied after the first application; at the very least, there will be some patchy areas. I ended up having two top ups which Jasmine did for free and even after the third, they aren’t perfect.
As I said earlier, there’s no particular reason why microblading didn’t take all that well on my skin; it’s certainly not because the skin is older. In theory, microblading works better on drier skin and I wouldn’t describe mine as oily.
Before and After Microblading
Overall, I’m really happy with the result. It took me ages to get used to seeing a fuller bulb. Every time I looked in the mirror, I was shocked at my own reflection!
In conclusion, I would definitely recommend microblading, whatever your age. I’m told that being older, my new brows may well last longer so I’m hoping that I won’t need a top up for another couple of years. I will keep you posted!
The full cost of my microblading + a retouch was £100. This had a 50% discount applied as my technician was still in training. The usual cost is around £200-250 and the results last between 1 and 3 years.
If you’ve got any questions about my experience, please comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
*Having asked my therapist, these were the two skin types that she said it tends to work less well on. She went on to explain that research has shown the ink often ‘bleeds’ more, revealing a slightly greyer tone with a smudged look rather than individual hairs. My suggestion would be to ask your therapist and make sure that s/he is experienced in your skin type.