Is Microshading Worth the Hype?
Updated: May 15, 2019
Bad Brow Days
Let me preface this by saying I don’t consider myself a high maintenance gal. If I try walking out the door with any type of makeup on, my kids or my husband will inevitably ask me, "Whoa, where are you going"? I mean seriously, can’t a girl just wear lipstick?
But there is one thing I have obsessed about over the years--my brows. If you grew up in the 90’s like I did, there’s a good chance you over-tweezed your brows a la Kate Moss at some point.
We didn't have brow shaping tutorials on YouTube or fancy brow threading shops--we had Seventeen magazine, DIY, and a pair of tweezers!
And somehow they never did grow back the same way. For those of you who were on team Cindy Crawford, it’s possible you may have been spared this tragic trend.
I admit to spending time and money researching, buying, and experimenting with brow products to find that perfect arch that would not inevitably rub off my oily skin by day’s end. There are a lot of great products out there, but for me, nothing proved ideal. My current stash includes the Eylure Dybrow kit that I went gaga for at Superdrug in London. They were buy 2 get one free. I bought six.
Plus, there’s the stress. Unless you do it everyday, I do not think you can fathom how stressful it is to get a decent brow arch each and every morning. You know how you have bad hair days? There are bad brow days...oh, are there bad brow days. You've got all your brow products at the ready but you never quite know how the brows will turn out on that particular day. Will they be misshapen, uneven, too thick, too thin, offset, or comically dark? You name it, it's happened. I honestly don’t know which is worse: having your brows slowly melting off your face throughout the day or starting off the day with bad brows.
To Microshade or Not to Microshade?
So after buying every brow gel, powder, and dye on the market in an array of shades and formulations over the years, and after a particularly bad brow day, I decided to start seriously considering microblading. I thought that I would never ever do it. A friend had posted her microblading results from Edge Brow, so obviously, I proceeded to thoroughly stalk all of the photos on Edge Brow’s IG with guarded optimism. I messaged my friend and a few others who had gone through it, and everyone had only good things to say. Life changing even, they said. I mean, seriously?
The last thing I wanted to do was have a semi-permanent bad brow day.
I mean, I could remove the gels, powders, and even the dyes, but getting a semi-permanent tattoo plastered on my face felt so, well, permanent.
All I could think about was what if I hated the results? In particular, what if it looked like a tattoo or just looked wrong on my mostly makeup-free face?
I was just so over doing my brows every morning. So, bolstered by all the photos and testimonials, I took the plunge. I ended up getting microshading--the technique recommended by my experienced technician Diana--for the best results for my sensitive and oily skin. Instead of the look of individual hairs being applied that you get with microblading, with the newer microshading technique, you get a shading effect by applying tiny dots, similar to the effect you get with makeup.
The first hour or so was spent gathering information about my skin, perfecting and sketching the new arch, and letting the numbing cream take effect. With some back and forth about what I wanted (natural, please!), Diana came up with the perfect shape, shade and intensity. She did everything manually because my skin was so sensitive, which also meant my appointment was 4 hours, longer than your typical 2-3 hours. Diana made me feel comfortable the entire time, and proved to be a true artist.
Because the process took quite long, there were admittedly some uncomfortable moments. Particularly as the numbing cream started to wear off each time before she reapplied it, and toward the end when my brows just felt really tender. The tenderness gradually improved over the next few days.
Healing instructions vary by technician and depends on skin type, but for my 12 days of healing, I needed to apply ointment every three hours, stay out of the sun, keep the brows dry, and refrain from exercising (and thus excessive sweating). Getting off my exercise routine was tough, especially since I had worked so hard to get into one. There were a few very itchy days during the peeling process when I was afraid I’d scratch my brows in the middle of the night (which I didn’t). And if you’re not a back sleeper, you might need to learn to adjust during the healing process to try to avoid any unnecessary irritation from your pillow.
It's important to note that the day after you get the shading done and for a few to several days after that during the healing process, the brows will get really dark. And then they might get really light before settling on their final shade. It's a rollercoaster of emotions! So if you have somewhere important to be, you might want to plan ahead. Healing brows means peeling brows. And you don’t really know how long your brows will take to heal, but give yourself about 10 days.
Typically, after 6 weeks, expect to go back for your touch-up to fill in, darken, and define the shape to perfection. I just completed my standard procedure touch-up and had her go one shade darker at that appointment. I couldn’t be happier. Though she altered my healing instructions a bit this time around, they’re essentially the same as the initial time. The appointment was quicker and easier, and healing is going really smoothly.