This is my very first Beauty post, and the beginning of my new Treat Yourself Tuesday series. Each week, I will be posting a “spoil yourself” type of article, aimed at encouraging all of you (men included!) to take care of yourself first.
These might be informative posts covering things like myofascial release massages and foam rolling. Maybe a recipe for a tightening face mask that you can make at home. It could even be a review of a big treat, like a weekend at my favorite resort. Who knows?
No matter what, it’ll be my (and your) reminder to take at least one day each week and, well… treat yourself.
I recently had the chance to do something I’ve been wanting to do (and researching) for a while now: I got my eyebrows microbladed.
The name might sound a little intimidating, but it shouldn’t. By the end of this, I hope you’ll see why it’s the (second) best cosmetic procedure I’ve had done!
A few months ago, I contacted Angela of Ella Esthetics in Arlington, Virginia for some info. I had run across her work on her Instagram page and absolutely loved the brow transformations I had seen. While I have fairly dark brows, they’ve never been long or thick enough for my liking. Now that everyone’s big, bold, “on fleek” brows are trending, my face needed a little extra oomph (like these ladies below).
Angela responded my emails quickly and even took the time to answer more questions over the phone. She walked me through the entire process, from booking to touch-ups, and made me feel completely at ease.
By the end of our call, I was ready to hop on her website and book an appointment. I knew that I would need to limit my sweating for at least the first week after the procedure, so I planned it for the Monday following my August photo shoot.
I walked down the steps and into the studio, and was taken aback by the gorgeous setup. Everything is clean and beautifully simple at Ella Aesthetics, and I instantly felt at home. After a few intake forms, we were ready to get the ball rolling.
First, we took some time to figure out what I wanted out of my microblading. Did I want a more dramatic arch, thicker brow, darker color?
I personally wanted a longer tail (the corner that trails off toward the side of your face), higher arch, and deeper color. No problem, she said!
Angela then got to work on drawing my brow layout.
For you ladies considering microblading: NEVER let someone touch your face with a needle who hasn’t first drawn out a guide that you absolutely love. I’ve heard stories of the process being done freehand – while you might luck out, you also have no say in it beforehand. Choose someone who spends a bulk of the appointment measuring out your perfect brows first.
After meticulously drawing on and measuring my face, Angela showed me my ideal brow shape… and it was precisely what I had envisioned. (Sexy look, huh?) Now, it was time to slather on the numbing cream and let it sit while she tested out and custom mixed my perfect brow shade. Then, about 30 minutes later, we were ready to begin.
Angela had me lie back on her comfortable table while she got prepared. She showed me the brand new, disposable “blade” that she would be using on my brows – contrary to the name, it’s not even a blade. It’s a line of very fine needles that combine to create the gorgeous, wispy strokes that would imitate my natural brows. It didn’t look very intimidating at all!
I have a very high pain tolerance (my kids were born at home, without drugs, if that tells you anything), but I’ll admit: I was a little concerned about the pain, seeing as I’ve never had any procedures done to my face.
It didn’t hurt A BIT. High pain tolerance or not, it just didn’t hurt. The noise was the most bothersome part, and sounded a little like baby velcro being pulled. There were a few spots where I felt the pigmenting more than others, but even then it hurt infinitely less than tweezing or threading my brows. Easily tolerable, and we held a conversation the entire time.
Before I knew it, she was done. She let me sit up and handed me a mirror so I could inspect her work. I asked to move the inner brow a bit, so she spent another few minutes perfecting that to my specifications. Then, after my approval, she set the color.
This was done by coating my brows with excess pigment, pushing it into the new lines that she had created. This is to improve the number of strokes retained – with microblading, there are always a few lines lost in the healing process and some color will lighten. By letting additional pigment sit, it would improve my end result.
I’ll be honest, though, this part wasn’t as comfortable. The pigment has alcohol in it and my brows were just irritated enough from her work – it stung a bit while I laid back and waited, but it was just a couple minutes of discomfort. No worse than some facial masks or lip plumpers that I’ve used, but definitely the least comfortable part of the entire procedure.
Letting It Heal
Now that I had some sexy new microbladed brows, I had to treat them delicately for a couple weeks. In order to better my chances of a successful end result, I needed to keep them dry and make sure I didn’t scratch or rub them. This meant using makeup remover wipes for the first 3 days and being careful not to saturate them with water or sweat until they were healed (no cardio for a few days or, if I did run, I needed to use one of these bad boys).
If they got wet, I was to lightly dab them dry… no rubbing! If they itched as they healed (which, they did), I was to tap on them lightly. This helped quite a bit at soothing the itch, and before I knew it, the two weeks was up.
Now, I just need to wait a couple more weeks to head back for my touch-up. At this appointment, Angela will fill in any spots that didn’t take, as well as change anything about the brows that I would like to improve. I may have her raise my arch even more – she gave me perfect brows, but I am obsessed now and think I want to go even more dramatic. Who would’ve thought?
Some of the things I’ve been asked the most since mentioning my brow procedure:
Did it hurt? Well, as you read above, it really didn’t. Once the numbing cream had worn off and the pigment was spread on to sit, it burned a bit. But it wasn’t intolerable – if extractions during a facial were considered an 8 (more like the 8th circle of hell, in my opinion), this was maybe a 3. Easy peasy.
What if they mess it up? It’s permanent! Well, first off, it’s semi-permanent. But yes, it’s going to stick around for a while. You want to make sure you find someone who has been properly trained and has logged enough hours performing the process. Ask when they started and how many procedures they’ve done. Check out their online gallery and make sure that they’re practiced in creating the look you’re going for. If you want a subtle brow, don’t go with someone who only creates dramatic, Hollywood arches. And you can also ask around – ask your friends, ask the ladies at your local Sephora. A personal referral is a great, honest resource.
It’s so expensive… is it really worth the money? Oh my goodness, yes yes yes! It is wonderful to be able to hop out of bed in the morning and feel made up. I can swim, work out, hit the sauna, take a shower, and my brows don’t go anywhere. No more worrying about powders and creams, constantly screwing up one brow and making it look different than the other. This is one beauty regimen that will become a bi-annual staple in my life (you need touchups every 18-24 months).
As for the cost, I personally feel it’s well-worth it. The amount of time and meticulous effort that goes into microblading is incredible. This is something you will show to the world every single day, which has its own inherent value.
**Plus, Ella Esthetics has been wonderful enough to extend a discount to my readers and social media followers! Until October 15, if you book through their website and put Steph50 in the comments, you will save $50 on your service. Angela is one of the most affordable artists in the DMV area already, so this is an amazing deal. It also includes your touch-up service, as long as that’s booked within 9 weeks of the first appointment.
Would I Do It Again?
Absolutely, and I’ll probably drag my mom to get hers done, too. The difference that a perfect brow can make for your entire face is profound – people may not realize what is different, but I guarantee they will notice something.
You’ll look more awake, more put together, and more glamorous, without even trying. Plus, for someone who works out 6 days a week, this is one part of my face that I won’t sweat off. To me, microblading is worth every penny.
Have you looked into microblading or semi-permanent makeup, like eyeliner? What are your biggest concerns?