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Is Microblading Bad For You?

The Case Against Microblading — According to a Brow Expert

Being my mother's daughter made it pretty much inevitable that I would become brow-obsessed. My mom, Sania Vucetaj, is the owner of Sania's Brow Bar in NYC and has been in the industry for more than 25 years. A pioneer for full, bold brows, my mom trained me, my sister, and cousin on the art of brows, and we are now part of the business as well. I love being able to transform people's faces and enhance their confidence with a good brow shaping.

With that said, we've seen it all when it comes to brows. We've seen people try everything on the quest for fuller eyebrows from growth serums to brow hair transplants (ouch!) — but the new microblading fad may be one of the worst.

Microblading is a form of semipermanent makeup that uses fine deposits of tattoo pigments to enhance brows using small strokes. Or, it's another glammed-up word for "tattoo." Committing to something permanent or even semipermanent on your face is something you must carefully consider. Once that tattoo is drawn on, this is the shape you will be stuck with (at least, for a few years).

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As someone who works on brows daily, I've seen some unfortunate results firsthand. Our team has had many clients' rush to our salon desperate to fix poorly or unevenly microbladed brows. Most women opt for microblading because they are hoping to shorten their morning beauty routines — but women with wrongly tattooed brows end up having to rely on brow products to fix them anyway.

While full brows are here to stay (and gladly so), as women, we have a right to change things up. Maybe we want to try a little bit more of an arch or a slightly straighter brow. Tweezers can achieve this with the pull of a few hairs (and maybe with the help of a few good products). But you cannot adjust the shape of the microbladed brow.

Women should be fiercely protective over their eyebrows. Do these technicians have real knowledge and understanding of brows and how to work with your natural shape? Are you comfortable entrusting their vision with your face? Think of how many times you've left the salon unhappy with your brows or how long it took you to find a specialist you trust. If you are unhappy with the outcome, there is no growing them out this time.

Research brow artists who actually specialize in only brows and who have proper training. And find someone who will work with you on repairing your brows back to a healthy place. We put new clients on a growth program and work toward an end goal when it comes to achieving fuller and more symmetrical brows.

While you may think you can adjust the colors of these "hair strokes," truth is it's nearly impossible to match the exact hair color. Microbladed brows usually look harsher and darker than natural because you must mix inks to adjust the color, and this requires extreme precision. Moreover, just like tattoos fade over time, these tattoos will fade into a purple/blue tint. My mom has witnessed this discoloring firsthand, and obviously this is far from the natural look women desire.

Women with naturally oily skin should also be warned: "hair" strokes may expand more than women with drier skin, making brows look extremely unnatural. And for those women with sensitive skin: run! If you have a history of allergic reaction to dyes or tattoos, your skin may scar or have an allergic reaction to the ink.

Something else to consider: as we age, we rely on a good brow shaping to open and lift our eyes. Over time, skin begins to drop, and the illusion of lifting the arch takes years off your face. The microblader looking for a facelift will be out of luck, because you cannot create more of an arch since you cannot erase the hairs that have been tattooed on. Brow shaping is an art form, and creating an arch requires the removal of very specific hairs in certain areas of the brow. Brows are an investment, so think long term!

The solution to getting fuller brows is actually a lot easier than you think. We urge clients to avoid getting any moisturizers, sunscreen, facial cleanser, makeup remover, foundation, etc, onto the brow area as these oils and lotions clog the hair follicle. We have noticed with clients that these creams not only prevent growth but also cause hairs to fall out, so that sparseness you're noticing could be due to creams! While it can take up to six months to a year for hairs to regrow, our clients are so happy with the growth they see.

We are naturally eager to try new innovative products and techniques in the quest for full brows. Companies and salons are feeding off that eagerness and pushing so many products in front of us — gels, pencils, powders, highlighters, tints, growth serums, pomades — and it can get confusing and overwhelming for consumers. For us ladies who aren't blessed with perfect brows or are growing them out, the answer to all of our brow prayers lies in a good pencil!

Before you consider taking a blade to your brows, try growing them in and finding a brow specialist who will help you repair and regrow them. Avoid those creams. And don't be afraid of the pencil — you're only 30 seconds away from perfect brows.

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