Everything You Need to Know About Eyebrow Microblading (From Someone Who Tried It)

Picture of beauty editor right after Eyebrow Microblading procedure.

I’ve been a beauty editor for four years and the one thing I get the most questions about is my tattooed eyebrows. Almost every week, someone leaves a comment on a photo on my Instagram page asking me to explain exactly what the process was like, how much it cost and, most importantly, how much it hurt. I got my eyebrows microbladed almost a year and a half ago now and there’s a lot I would like to explain to everyone inquiring about it. Below, you’ll find six things I think everyone should know about microblading eyebrows and what it’s really like to get your eyebrows tattooed.

Yes, eyebrow microblading is a tattoo, but it’s not permanent and lasts for only a year.

Perhaps the biggest question I get is, “How long does eyebrow microblading last?” To be completely honest, my eyebrows only looked nice and full for about eight months. After that, it slowly started fading and now it’s almost completely gone. The reason it doesn’t last forever is because microblading is a form of tattoo that only deposits ink on the top layer of your dermis. When you get it done, the tattoo artist will use a device that looks like a super high-tech pen to create “brushstrokes” of ink on your brows. After wear and tear, showering and sun damage, the ink will fade.

The picture up top is what I looked like right after I had my eyebrows microbladed. Below is what I looked like after two months:

Here’s what I looked like after six months:

on a mission to wear every liquid lipstick

A photo posted by Renee Jacques (@reneejacques) on

And here’s what I looked like after a year:

A good artist will spend a considerable amount of time finding your perfect brow shape.

The preparation is the most excruciating part of the whole process. I got mine done at Hibba Beauty in New York City and it took an hour of consultation before the tattooing even began. As anxiety-inducing as that was, I am grateful for it. Hibba Kapil, the owner of Hibba Beauty and the woman who microbladed my eyebrows, is a complete pro and makes sure that her clients are completely satisfied with the shape she creates for them before going to town with the tattooing. We spent the first hour I was at her salon shaping and reshaping what my future semi-permanent brows would look like. You want to make sure you get this right. Don’t be afraid to ask your artist to continuously erase the shape and then start all over. After all, it’s you, not them who has to live with these tattoos for a year.

It hurts like hell.

It may be because I’ve never gotten a real tattoo in my life or it may be because I am a huge scaredy-cat, but getting my brows microbladed was painful. Even though Kapil smothered a sufficient amount of numbing cream on my brows before cutting them, it felt like someone was digging a small razor blade through my brows (probably because that’s kind of exactly what Kapil was doing). The entire process took about 20 minutes and Kapil often took breaks to let the ink sink in. I bled at times and Kapil would quickly wipe it up with a paper towel. Once the process was done, it didn’t hurt — it just felt like my brow area had taken a severe beating.

The recovery process is intense.

I often wonder if I would get my eyebrows microbladed again and immediately think yes, but then I remember the recovery process. Once you get your brows done, you can’t get them wet at all for an entire week. This is harder to pull off than it sounds. Taking showers was virtually impossible and took 10 minutes longer. Washing my face at night became a struggle as I would have to use a washcloth to wet my face and make sure no water dripped on my brows. Also, your brows will become extremely itchy as they heal. Kapil warned me that A+D Diaper Rash Ointment would become my best friend the next few weeks after the ordeal and she was right. I applied that ointment on my brows probably four times a day to relieve itching and to help the scars that inevitably form heal faster.

You’ll have to go back and get it done again.

After a month — even will stellar post-tattoo care — you’ll start to notice that your tattoo doesn’t look as dark and full as it did when you first got it done (becoming addicted to the darkness of your brow tattoo is a real thing). It’s normal for fading to occur quickly and if you have a good tattoo artist, he or she will gladly offer a touch-up for free. The reason you’ll need a touch-up is because your skin may not “take in” the pigment well the first time. This is the perfect time to tell your artist where you’d like it darker or where there may be any patches. Bonus: It doesn’t hurt nearly as much the second time around (but it does require one week of recovery).

Prepare to spend a good amount of money.

If you go to a qualified and reputable artist (which you really should), it’s going to cost a lot. The overall cost of the process can be up to $1,000. Kapil charged $50 for my consultation and the brow shaping. Once I decided to proceed with the microblading, the service cost $500. Kapil’s prices are somewhere in the middle range for eyebrow microblading. Some people will charge a little less (I wouldn’t necessarily trust them, unless they’re a friend) and some charge a bit higher (around the $650 range). Kapil was nice enough to not charge me for my one-month touch-up, but she does suggest an eight-month touch-up (which I never got) that costs $250.