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Everything You Need to Know About Microblading

I recently had my second microblading session at Laurel NYC (I went to artist Saki Lee), and wanted to share the experience with you. I kid you not, microblading has dramatically changed my daily makeup routine, for the way WAY better. I now spend about 10 seconds running Glossier Boy Brow (in blond) through my brows, rather than 10 minutes painstakingly filling them in with pencil/powder/pomade etc.

Everything is cute at Laurel NYC. 

Microblading is not all at like getting a tattoo. It is a (semi) permanent ink that is implanted under the skin, but other than that, it’s not the same. Rather than pushing ink into the skin with a needle in a machine (like a regular tattoo), a microblading artist uses a handheld tool with a very skinny blade to create tiny hairlike incisions. Microblading also uses a different pigment than traditional tattoo ink, which can fade from black to blue overtime. Microblading is not permanent. The pigment will completely fade away over the course of a few years.

Microblading will not give you super defined bold brows. Rather, your brows will look naturally fuller and fluffier. I opted for microblading because I was sick of filling in my brows on the daily. I wanted them to appear more natural and bushy, rather than dark and bold.

I recommend showing up to your appointment with you brows filled in how you normally do them. If you normally wear brow makeup, wear it to your appointment. That way your artist gets an idea of how you wear your brows on the regular.

My daily brow makeup, pre-microblading.
  1. Your makeup is removed and numbing cream applied. You’ll wait approximately 20 minutes for the numbing cream to start working.

    Makeup removed, numbing cream applied.
  2. Then your artist will chat with you on your desired brow shape and style. Bring references! Things to focus on:
    • Do you want your brows arched (how high?) or straight?
    • Do you want the center to be fluffy (the part of the brow closest to the center of your face)?
    • How long/thin do you want the tails?
  3. Your artist will then measure your face/brow area and draw brow strokes on with a makeup pencil to show you approximately how your new shape will appear. This will look much more dramatic than your finished brows.

    Brow shape is drawn on with pencil.
  4. Your artist will mark the outer and inner edges of your brows as additional guidelines.
  5. Your artist will do a first pass on each brow with the microblading instrument to create the outermost strokes of the brows—much like an outline of a tattoo (but not an actual outline). This part sort of hurts. The sensation is not similar to a tattoo. It feels more like a scrape than a burn. For me, tattoos feel like a burn. This did not feel at all like a burn. This part was the most uncomfortable part for me. Although it wasn’t really painful per say, I just didn’t like the scraping feeling.

    My microblading throne.
  6. Once the skin is broken your artist applies a numbing gel (which makes a big difference). Then they will work on one brow for a few minutes, apply numbing gel, then move to the other brow. By the second pass I really couldn’t feel any more pain/discomfort.
  7. After a few passes your artist will apply the pigment and let that soak for about 10 minutes.

    Pigment is applied.
  8. Then your artist will go back in with the instrument, apply more pigment, and repeat a few times.
  9. Once they are finished and you check out your new brows, they will explain the aftercare instructions and give you any aftercare products. Your artist may have different aftercare instructions, but mine were basically: don’t get anything on your brows for 10 days (no makeup, cleanser or even water), and use oil blotting tissues to blot your brows every few hours for 1 week.
    My aftercare packet.


    Before my first appointment. After my first appointment.

For my initial appointment the entire process took about 3 hours. For my second appointment, it took about 1.5 hours. After your second appointment, you probably won’t need another touch up for 8-10 months (depending on your aftercare and skincare regime). Remember, microblading is semi-permanent, so you will need touch ups if you want the outcome to last.

Before my first appointment. After my second appointment.

So far, I am super duper happy with my results. I can’t recommend Laurel NYC highly enough. Please mention my name if you do schedule an appointment with an artist there!

Questions? Ask away!


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About Abby

Bay Area-based UX designer by day, clothes horse by night.

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