‘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
The truth is, microblading is not 100% successful on all skin types (having asked my therapist, she said that black and oily skin are the two skin types it tends to work less well on. My suggestion would be to ask your therapist and make sure that s/he is experienced in your skin type before committing.) It’s definitely worth doing your own research first.
Overall, I’m really happy with the end 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! 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!
If you’ve got any questions about my experience, please comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
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.
Gail3 years ago
Very interesting Suzanne, as I didn’t really know anything about this. I’ve lost some of the hair on the outer third of my eyebrows (I think linked to a thyroid condition, and possibly ageing too). I might consider this one day, if I feel brave enough!. Your brows look great though – glad you are pleased with the overall result.xx
Kenzie Boyd3 years ago
I’m appalled by your ignorance in the first paragraph of this post.
“The truth is, microblading is not successful on all skin types (particularly oily or BLACK SKIN)”
What is it exactly about a darker complexion that makes the microblading process unsuccessful Suzanne? Darker skinned people do have eyebrows, right? Please share the data or facts that brought you to this ridiculous conclusion. I’ve never heard of this in my life. I have Jamaican friends that have had microbladed eyebrows and it looks beautiful.
Suzanne3 years ago
The beauty therapist told me that in her training, she was told that research has shown that microblading doesn’t last as long on black skin for some reason. I also watched so many videos before taking the plunge and many black people who had had it done, were disappointed with the results as it just didn’t last as long as they were anticipating. I also have a black friend who had it done and she was disappointed with the results as it faded very quickly. I have no facts and figures, just what my therapist told me but suggest everyone does their own research on this before taking the plunge.
Shelley2 years ago
I’m shocked by your Racism aimed at WHITE people, the girl only mention that microbladding may not last as long on Black or oily skin. A lot of black peoples skin Is oily/greasy as is some white peoples skin
I just can’t believe how you’ve “pulled the Racist card” regarding black peoples eyebrows
Think you need to wise up instead going through life totally blinkered
maureen vrieze2 years ago
please can you tell me where they are doing training so I can get it done and also your eyebrows look great
Suzanne W2 years ago AUTHOR
Thank you Maureen. I’m actually not sure where she did her training but I think it’s probably something you can google or ask a technician.
Lynn1 year ago
Thank you Suzanne for this very helpful article. It’s very informative. It’s sad that some folks automatically assume that any mention of a problematic or cautionary issue relating to skin color is “racist.” It’s no more “racist” to mention that people with dark skin may find microblading may not work as well for them than it’s “racist” to note that very fair skin is more susceptible to sunburn. You don’t deserve to be labeled as a “racist” for pointing out that some people may not achieve optimum results.