Beauty is pain, but in this case the pain was worth it.
I have always loved eyebrows. As a child I used to spend hours upon hours drawing perfectly shaped brows on repeat. In short: I have always been a bit obsessed with the look of eyebrows, how they frame the face, and how their shape, color, presence, or absence can completely change your look. I was also blessed with pretty thick eyebrows (thanks, parents), and once I let go of my unfortunate entanglement with thin, minimalist arches, I basically let them grow wild and free, and was perfectly happy with how they looked.
So it was with dismay that I noticed over the past few years that my brows were thinning. I did what any beauty addict would: started researching the “why is this happening,” (*ahem* “You’re over 50, ma’am.”) and “how do I stop it.” There were soooo many solutions. One that partially worked was plain ole castor oil. After using this on my brows for a month or two, they thickened up again, but never achieved their former glory. And there was one section that just never grew back. And one day, I just got tired. I got tired of looking in the mirror and not liking what I saw. I got tired of spending so much time trying to make them look perfect. And I also got tired of spending time and money sourcing the perfect brow powder and pencil. So: I decided to get them microbladed. Here’s my take on the experience, and some tips to help you if you want to get yours done:
No shame in getting a little help.
It is unlikely that I will ever get major plastic surgery (although, if I could guarantee a no-complications outcome, who knows?). But tbh I am all for people doing whatever they need or want to make themselves look a little better and feel a bit more confident. For me, getting my eyebrows microbladed is filed under self care.
Do your research.
I researched for over a year before finally biting the bullet. A lot of the results that I saw on IG looked unnatural and the shapes were too geometric. I kept looking until I found a practitioner who made eyebrows look like natural eyebrows rather than paste-on decals. It was also important to me to find someone who worked on Black skin.
Choose your look.
I decided to go with microblading with ombré shading, a service that would have long-lasting results—up to 2 years. This is a pretty dramatic look, though, so if you want something a little more subtle, you could always go for microblading only. Microblading will give you the look of individual hairs that are indistinguishable from your own. The ombré shading goes on the “tail” of the brow, so it looks like if your brows are filled in with brow powder or pencil.
Prepare for pain.
The word “blade” is embedded in the name of the service. That should tell you all you need to know. It. Will. Hurt. They did apply numbing cream, but I don’t think it had enough time to take effect. So I felt every slice of that blade. I can’t even say that I cried, exactly. But every now and then the blade would hit a particularly sensitive spot, like right on the brow bone, and tears would spontaneously leap from my eyes. I clenched my jaw and got through it…until she brought out the tattoo machine to do the ombré shading part of the service. I started praying and chanting mantras at that point, lol. Whew chile!!!
Handle your healing.
I got instructions from my brow tech, but I also researched healing protocols for tattoos, because that’s essentially what it is. I was told to not put ANYTHING on my brows for 3 days. No water. Nothing. After 3 days, I was able to apply coconut oil or Aquaphor, but still no water. After 7 days, you can put water on your face again. It’s important to be gentle with your brows while they heal. Do not pull off or forcibly remove any scabs. Let them fall off naturally, or you risk getting an infection, and/or losing more pigment than necessary.
Embrace the darkness.
Literally. Your brows will initially look super-dark and a little too intense. Do not panic. After the initial healing period (a few days to a few weeks depending on how your body heals), the pigment will lighten and look more natural.
Schedule your follow up.
Some pigment loss is a part of the healing process, so most microbladers include a touch up in the price of their service. More on this below.
Slay, gurl, slay!
Enjoy your new brows! I absolutely love the look, the wow factor, and the ease it has brought to my makeup routine. I feel more finished, more fabulous, and way more confident. I’ve got my brows back!
This is not an entirely happy story, though.
Although I am extremely satisfied with how my brows came out, I am not so satisfied with the company that did them for me. I cannot fault them on their technical expertise. However, they are a little funny with their money, and borderline unethical, which has left a bad taste in my mouth.
To explain: I paid for a service that included a touch-up. It is expected that as part of the healing process, some of the pigment will lift, so including a touch-up is often the norm. At the time that I booked, they were offering $100 off, and that price would still include the touch up. However when I went to pay, they said that the sale price was no longer valid, although a) I was there well within the promotion period and b) I double checked in front of them right on their IG page, and sure enough, the sale price and validity period that I had been aware of were correct. However, they said that that was a mistake, and that the price, was, in fact $100 more. I was not in the mood for a fight, so I paid and let it go: disgruntled with them, but happy with the brows. At touch up time, they were closed due to the pandemic, so when I booked my touch up after they re-opened, they decided that they were now charging $100 for touch ups. Now, I have no problem with businesses doing what they need to in order to try and bounce back after the financial hit that Covid dealt us all. What I DO have an issue with is them charging people like myself who had already paid for a touch up…for a touch up. I explained to them that their updated touch up pricing policy should apply to new clients, not existing clients who again – Have. Already. Paid – for a touch up. That would be like if you went to your favorite restaurant and they charged you extra for the last meal you had there, the bill for which you had already settled. Ridiculous.
They suffered financially during the pandemic, as did all of us, but their solution was to extort their existing clientele to make up for lost income?? I cry foul. I know of so many other small business owners who treat their clients ethically and empathetically, even in the face of corona-related difficulties. So: would I recommend them in terms of their service? Yes. But their financial practices leave much to be desired.
As a result, the next time I get my eyebrows done, I will not be going back to them. When it comes to pricing, I like clarity, transparency, and honesty. So: #notmymoney. I will #buyblack and look for a microblader of color to support instead.
Text and images ⒸLisa Hurley/@happyhappyphoenix