Microblading is a popular eyebrow service for spa and permanent makeup clients. The service creates the look of individual eyebrow hairs with cosmetic tattooing; it is used to enhance the eyebrows and make them appear fuller. The results are not as long-lasting as traditional permanent makeup, which allows for some flexibility to update eyebrows as trends change. With an artistic mind, the training for this skill is fairly easy to master and many practitioners find great satisfaction in providing their clients with an instant boost to their look.
- Microblading is considered a form of cosmetic tattooing. While the results are not as long-lasting as traditional permanent makeup, it still falls into the permanent makeup and tattoo category. This is because the pigment is implanted under the skin (usually the dermis), similar to that of a tattoo machine or permanent makeup device. Ink that is implanted under the skin remains there forever unless it is removed, it very rarely fades away completely on its own.
- It is performed by creating tiny abrasions in the skin. Trained professionals use a special tool (sometimes called a microblade, microblading needle, blade, and so forth) to carefully etch the skin into the fine shape of an eyebrow hair. This is repeated throughout the eyebrows to get a fuller effect, which mimics natural hair. Pigment is then usually rubbed over the etching to allow for greater color penetration.
- Microblades are not actually blades. The term microblading comes from the cutting motion used to create micro-hairs. The tools used are actually 6 to 18 needles tied or soldered tightly together to form a blade-like device. The needles are pin-like.
- It is dark at first. Microbladed hairs look very prominent on the day of the procedure and then fade about 25 percent over the course of one week. The results seen after two to three weeks are what one can expect to see for the next year.
- Results last from six months to two years – about one year on average – depending on the pigment, the depth at which color was implanted, and individual skin chemistry. After about one year, the pigment will typically begin to fade.
- Clients love it, especially with a combo effect. Clients are very happy with microblading alone, but especially love the look of some soft shading over the body of the eyebrow, along with the individual hairs. This creates a more finished look and lasts longer than microblading alone. Shading is done by softly tapping with a permanent cosmetic hand tool or using a machine.
- The average cost of the service is around $500. An initial appointment is usually $350 to $750 and often includes one free follow-up appointment. Any touchup appointments are in the $50 to $200 range and are done once a year for maintenance.
- Although the actual process is easy to learn, training is highly recommended and required in most states. A professional needs skill in color theory, bloodborne pathogens, technique, design, and more. Classes typically run from $2,000 to $4,000 and usually last three to five days.
- Training classes and trainers are not usually regulated, so the situation is buyer beware for education. Be sure to ask for references and before and after photos of instructors’ work.
- The licensing is separate from aesthetics and cosmetology. Because microblading falls under tattooing in most states, it is completely separate from cosmetology and aesthetician licenses. Technicians need a body art (tattoo) license from their county health department, a certificate of training, and bloodborne pathogens training.
Overall, microblading may be an excellent addition to the spa in the hands of a talented artist, whether that is the owner, an employee, or a specialist who comes in once or twice a week. The service may also become a nice stepping stone into offering other permanent cosmetic services, such as soft eyeliner, lip extensions, areola restoration (for breast cancer survivors), and more. The possibilities are incredibly transformative and beautiful and clients love the results.
Irene Kennerley is the senior chemical and processing engineer and 12-year technician and educator at SofTap Inc. She is the author of “Infection Control for Body Art,” the industry standard for bloodborne pathogens safety in permanent cosmetics. Kennerly is the eldest daughter of SofTap founders Mike and Alexis Lawson and works alongside her family to bring new and innovative creations to the permanent cosmetic industry.