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3 Things You Should Know About Eyebrow Tattoo vs Microblading

by Helen K. |

Microblading and eyebrow tattooing has become a popular trend in recent years for the one and done effect. You go to one appointment and your brows are ready to go for the next few years. But there are a few things that you should know before you schedule the appointment. 


The main thing that differentiates microblading from eyebrow tattooing is that microblading is a hand drawn process. Eyebrow tattooing is done with a machine. Microblading would also create fine lines that won’t bleed, but tattooing might cause an injury. 


The following includes more in-depth explanations and information about the differences between microblading and eyebrow tattooing. 

Pros and Cons of Tattooing and Microblading

Depending on what kind of brows you want, there are benefits that are separate and unique to each method of getting your brows microbladed or tattooed Depending on how much time and money you want to spend and how long you want to have your brows done, each method will provide certain benefits.

Pros of Eyebrow Tattooing 

The main pros to eyebrow tattooing include: 

  • Healing is really easy 
  • Doesn’t take too much time
  • Longer lasting 
  • Very low on the pain scale 
  • Saving you time and money in the long run

Of course, the biggest one is probably how much time and money it saves you. The ten minutes that it takes to do your brows in the morning can really add up over time. The same can be said with how much money you spend on brow products. The five or so dollars you spend on brow makeup each month can really add up over the next year. 

Another pro that isn’t a main one, but still a nice perk, is that it saves those who aren’t cosmetically inclined from the risk of drawing their brows wrong or from needing a midday touch up. It can get very frustrating to try to draw your brows perfectly and then constantly end up smudging them. Eyebrow tattooing saves you from this worry and hassle. 

Finally, eyebrow tattoos can be a lifesaver for those who aren’t able to apply makeup normally. These can include individuals with: 

  • Allergies to ingredients in makeup 
  • Movement impaired 
  • Blind 
  • Lack of ambidextrous limbs 
  • Any other inhibitions to applying makeup 
  • While eyebrow tattooing can have some pros, there are also some cons that need to be considered. 

    Cons of Eyebrow Tattooing 

    Some of the cons to eyebrow tattooing include: 

  • They can be painful 
  • They can be expensive upfront
  • Color could fade 
  • Itchy healing process 
  • Not Technically permanent 

  • Similar to getting a regular tattoo, eyebrow tattooing can be a fairly painful process. It depends on how high or low your pain tolerance is, but getting a needle infused with ink embedded into your skin at a fast pace can get very uncomfortable after a while. There is a numbing cream that you can apply before the appointment, so that problem can be diminished. 


    While eyebrow tattooing saves you money in the long run, it can seem pretty expensive upfront. The starting price for your first appointment is around 400-600 dollars, and the annual touch up appointments cost about 150. If it’s worth it to you as opposed to using eyebrow makeup and constantly having to buy more, it’s a worthwhile investment. 


    The biggest con to this technique is that it isn’t technically permanent. Since they require the maintenance of touch up appointments, they can’t completely be classified as permanent. If you go in expecting it to be a one and done type of appointment, then eyebrow tattoos probably aren’t the solution for you. 

    Pros of Microblading Your Brows

    The pros of microblading include: 


    • Doesn’t smudge or wear off 
    • Sessions take even less time
    • Lasts for years
    • Pigment doesn’t change color

    Microblading implants pigments into the first three layers of your skin, basically implanting makeup into your skin rather than just sitting on top of it. So, the pigment won’t smudge off because of sweating from exercising or water from swimming. 


    If you thought the sessions from eyebrow tattooing took a little long, then this worry is out the door with microblading. Sessions usually only take about an hour and a half. When you think about how it takes about fifteen minutes to do your brows each day, one session that lasts for an hour and a half is a steal. 


    The pigment also doesn’t change color due to sun exposure or other environmental factors. They will lose saturation over time and become faded, but that’s a good indicator that you need to go in for a touch up! 

    Cons of Microblading Your Brows

    The main cons of microblading include: 

  • Infection
  • Expensive upfront 
  • Scarification 
  • Allergic reactions 

  • If your specialist makes the mistake of using unsterile or low quality equipment, it can lead to you getting a skin infection. It can also have something to do with if you have a history of sensitive skin or pre-existing skin infections. Making sure that you go to a reputable specialist with good reviews can help you avoid these catastrophes. 


    If you change your mind and decide to get rid of the microblading, the removal process can lead to scarification. Scarification is what happens when the texture of the skin is altered from an outside force. It won’t ruin your brows, but if you have sensitive skin or would prefer to not harm your skin, microblading probably won’t be the best option. 


    With both of these options, there are risk factors and deal breakers that should be considered when deciding what to do for your eyebrows. 

    The Processes of Microblading and Tattooing 

    While they do the same thing, making your brows look better, eyebrow tattooing and microblading have fairly different processes. This includes for the appointment and for the healing process and aftercare. 

    Eyebrow Tattooing Appointment Process

    Before the actual tattooing begins, the specialist will do something called a “trial run”. This is where they will draw the brow design you want onto your pre-existing brows to make sure you approve of it. This is the time you want to make sure you have full confidence in the brow shape and the brow color you chose. 


    Next, the specialist will clean the skin with a facial cleanser to clear away dirt and makeup. They will also probably apply a numbing cream to the tattooing area to make the pain a little more bearable. The cream will need to set on your brows for about ten to fifteen minutes, the specialist will wipe it off, and the process begins. 


    The actual tattooing process is when a needle that’s infused with tattoo ink is pressed into the skin and creates the illusion of brows as the specialist gently and slowly drags it across the skin. All you have to do during this is relax and try to keep up the conversation with your specialist since you’re gonna be there for a few hours.   


    Finally, after you’re done, you just must endure the healing process. The full recovery process after an eyebrow tattooing appointment is about ten days. But the process leading up to where they’re fully healed and permanent takes about four to six weeks. During this time, there are things you can do to make the process go better, and things you should avoid as to not affect your results. 


    After the anesthetic or numbing gel wears off, you might feel some sensitivity on or around your eyebrow area. You also might experience some mild swelling and redness, but don’t worry as this is perfectly normal. It usually fades within a day or two, and you can take some Tylenol if the pain gets uncomfortable. But, just as before your appointment, avoid Aspirin or Ibuprofen. 


    Let the eyebrow tattoo dry for 24 to 48 hours, then begin cleaning it with either cotton pads soaked in lukewarm water or saline wipes two to three times a day. After the one- or two-day healing time, start to gently moisturize your brows two or three times a day for two to three weeks. You can use any moisturizer you chose, but it’s recommended they are fragrance free to avoid any irritation. 


    During the healing process, your brows might start to look abnormal. They’ll appear darker or more defined, giving off a “wet paint” look. But this is normal, and you should avoid touching them too much. They also might start scabbing or flaking profusely. You should not pick at your scabs or dryness as this might cause the pigment to come off. This is also normal, so just let the scabs and dead skin cells fall off naturally. 

    Microblading Appointment Process

    Microblading has roughly the same process as eyebrow tattooing. Before the actual process begins, a specialist will have a consultation with you about the color and shape of brows you want. Then they will draw the shape onto the skin to make sure you feel confident with your choice. 


    Next, the specialist will wash the face and apply a numbing cream, similar to the eyebrow tattoo process. They will then use a hand drawn method of dipping a very thin thread into a series of pigments and pressing them into the skin. 


    They have to press fairly hard for about a minute to make sure the pigment gets onto the skin properly. Each specialist will use different techniques that are comfortable with, but they usually use between two and six pigments to create a natural brow shade depending on what you wanted. When the specialist is finished, they will wipe away any excess pigment and your appointment will be finished. 


    Right after your microblading appointment, your brows will still most likely be a little red and tender. Your brows might also look way bolder than you thought they would, but don’t panic! This is normal and part of the healing process. 


    A few days later, your brows will still be sensitive, but the redness would have gone down. Your brows will still look pretty bold, if a bit blocky, as the individual hair strokes might look a little thicker. 


    About a week into your healing, your brows will start flaking and scabbing. Again, do not pick at it! There were numerous tiny little cuts made into your skin and your body is trying to heal. Picking at them will only make the healing process longer and the results might not be ideal. It would also look blotchy and patchy if some of the pigment came off with the dead skin, so it’s important to just leave them alone. 


    As far as what to avoid during your healing process, it’s almost all the same things you should avoid before your microblading appointment. Avoid getting them wet for about two weeks by avoiding: 


    • Going swimming 
    • Exercising or sweating a lot 
    • Using a hot sauna or jacuzzi 

    You should especially avoid any chemical treatments to your brows, as they can cause the pigment to fade or a shift in the color. These treatments include: 

    • UV/UVA Rays or chemicals
    • Laser treatments or peelings
    • Chemical treatments or peelings
    • Creams that have Retin-A in them 
    • Creams that have glycolic acid in them 

     

    Above all, just make sure you keep your brows relatively clean and treat them gently, and the healing process will go smoothly. 

    What to Do and Not Do Before the Appointment 

    There are certain things you should and should not do before your eyebrow appointment. Following these steps and whatever your specialist advised you can help the process to go smoother and the recovery to be way more beneficial. 

    Eyebrow Tattooing Pre-Appointment Tips 

    Prior to your appointment, just make sure you don’t do anything that could damage the skin under your eyebrow hairs. This could cause irritation and possible infection with the ink. 


    Watch what you’re eating and drinking 48 hours before your appointment. Don’t drink any alcohol or caffeine and make sure you drink as much water as possible. You also shouldn’t consume any blood or skin thinners. These include: 


    • Ibuprofen 
    • Aspirin 
    • Fish oil
    • Niacin 
    • Vitamin A supplements 
    • Exfoliation 
    • Glycolic acids
    • Any prescribed medications 

    The blood and skin thinners can cause excessive bleeding as the needle penetrates the ink into the skin, and it can affect your results. 


    Similarly, don’t do anything to your eyebrows that could make them more sensitive at least three weeks before your appointment. This includes any: 


    • Eyebrow Waxing 
    • Eyebrow Plucking 
    • Eyebrow Shaving 
    • Eyebrow Reshaping 
    • Cosmetic Botox or fillers 

    However, you may come in with your brows already drawn how you usually draw them. Just make sure that, if you already tint them, tint them at least one week prior to your appointment. You’ll also want to make sure you’ll bring samples of brow shapes you like to the appointment. 


    You might experience hypersensitivity and a larger amount of pain if you’re on your menstrual cycle during your appointment. It’s recommended that you schedule your eyebrow appointment at least two weeks before or after your last menstrual cycle. 


    Finally, no matter how good the specialist is, they won’t be able to tattoo over any pre-existing skin imperfections, including: 


    • Moles
    • Scars
    • Blemishes 
    • Sores

    If you follow these steps to the best of your ability, your appointment will go smoother and your results will turn out better. 


    Microblading Pre-Appointment Tips

    Prepping for your microblading appointment is similar to how you would prepare for your eyebrow tattoo appointment. But there are a few more things you should be mindful of. 


    In addition to watching what you eat and drink before the appointment, you should also not exercise at least 24 hours before your appointment. The sweat could cause the pigment to slip off of the skin and it will affect your final brow results. You should also avoid the sun and tanning as much as possible one week before your appointment to avoid any sensitivity around the brows. 


    In addition to avoiding fish oil, you should also avoid other supplements for your: 


    • Skin 
    • Hair 
    • Nails 

    lAvoid taking these supplements for at least 48 hours. These supplements can include: 


    • Nutritional Shakes
    • Prenatal Vitamins
    • Drugstore vitamins 

     

    Refrain from using Retin-A and Alpha Hydroxy Acid at least four weeks prior to your appointment and avoid using them at least two weeks after your appointment. This will help you avoid any irritation before, during, or after the appointment. 

    As far as botox or other cosmetic fillers go, you should avoid getting any on or around the eyebrow area at least one month before your appointment. The areas include: 

     

    • The temples 
    • The forehead 
    • The actual eyebrows 

     

    Since microblading attempts to fashion new brows from what you already have rather than painting over them, the more natural eyebrow hair growth you have, the better! To maximize this, avoid doing treatments to your brows such as: 

     

    • Waxing
    • Tinting
    • Threading 
    • Chemical Peels
    • Microdermabrasion
    • Facials

     

    Avoid these at least four weeks before your eyebrow appointment, and you’ll be ready to go! 

    Final Thoughts for Making a Decision

    Whether you decide to get microblading or get eyebrow tattooing, knowing what you’re in for during all aspects of the journey can help you make the best decision. 

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