My Tips On How To Achieve Better Brows Along With My Own Microblading Experience
Just to give you a warning from the word go, this will be a long post. I have lots that I would like to say and I have waited a long time to share my full experience. This is because I prefer to be extremely thorough when it comes to my reviews. The first thing I would like to clarify is that I will not share any business names associated with this so that I can be transparent. I also do not enjoy sharing any negative reviews about an individuals work. In my post, I will include my positive and negative experiences and to keep things fair, I have not disclosed peoples names or their businesses.
The Background of My Brows
To give you an extensive “history” on the whole brow situation, this means going back to circa 2011. This was well before YouTube became big or the online beauty gurus had become so popular. At this stage, most of us were sort of “on our own” in regards to makeup. I really loved makeup, yet at this time in my life I just completed my MBA and had made the move to Virginia to meet up with John, while he was busy with his 2nd year in medical school. I just did not have any extra funds to invest in makeup.
I would on occasion buy something from Walgreens, yet these were always essential must-haves like mascara or something similar. I was not in that stage where I would make random purchases or try the latest high-end make-up. I also did not have any YouTube videos to watch. When I look back on the photos from the years of my undergrad, my friends never filled in their eyebrows, which comes as a surprise now, because every single one of us is now are obsessive with our brows.
So in 2012 in the spring just before I got married, John and I drove up to Charlotte, NC for a small getaway. At this time it was only a 2-hour drive away and we enjoyed treating ourselves on occasion to window shopping in the “city” and to eat at PF Chang. I decided to go to Macy’s and visit Benefit Brow Bar to clean up my brows, where I asked the beauty therapist to “shape” my brows (which would be the first time ever). I will never ever forget this experience as it was truly life changing!
She first cleaned my brows up and then applied a product that smoothed the untamed hairs, followed by filling them in which gave them a slight arch. When I looked in the mirror when she was finished, I remember feeling So elated! I remember specifically thinking that I too could have those arches like the pageant girls do. This was really big for me as I have my dads looks with thick eyebrows that sit in straight lines just above my eyes. This looks good on my father, but not so great on a girl.
The girl from Benefit gave me a lesson on exactly what I needed to do to achieve the same arch. The next time I visited my sister and mom at home, I showed off my latest product and tried it on them. Both were shocked by the results and they both went out and purchased their own products.
History and Hacks
Now all of this happened back in 2012. Brow products and brows have evolved immensely since then. Things have come a very long way since then with the introduction of new and better products and services on the market. I have also started noticing that many women now know it is important to not overpluck their eyebrows and to allow their brows to rather grow in. The minute I saw for myself what shaping and filling in did for me, I was fully committed to taking a lot better care with my own eyebrows which included not overplucking and doing what I could to encourage the right growth.
Not so long ago I posted throwback photos associated with my IG stories, where a few individuals asked me if I had gone under the knife (nose job). Well, I definitely had not, which prompted me to release a post that involves my contouring routine [here].
In addition, some people also asked me about whether I micro-bladed cause they noticed a difference. I replied with a ” Yes It Is Life Changing”, this was followed by many people requesting a review. I even had a woman ask me if I underwent a “brow lift”, which made me laugh because I understood why she asked this ( and no I definitely have not, and I even googled it, and it sounds really intense).
I have gone from brows that used to sit in straight lines just above my eyes in 2012, to eyebrows with enough of an arch that allows me to apply eyeshadow. I never thought that this would be considered as a “lift”, yet in the last couple of weeks I have started to pay more attention to how I apply my makeup and I started noticing all the small things that I do while I get ready to make sure I create as much space as I can between my brow and my lid.
The most important step for those who are not interested in microblading would be to use products like THIS or THIS to add slightly more on the top of the brows which creates the “lift” illusion, followed by using products like THIS just below which draws attention and brightens this area.
P.S. Benefit named their version of the pencil “Highlight and Lift Brow Pencil”, which is what helps to create this illusion. Another P.S, give me a heads up if you are interested in demos about this in my IG stories, I realize it can become confusing just to read it. Brows can often be similar to contouring, in the way of using lighter and darker shades to create different illusions.
Over the last 5 years, I have a passion for every ABH product along with the techniques. A cheat I used to use included a stencil and training my eyebrows to grow in order to fill in these stencils. This will help you a lot if you are just starting out.
Why are Brows So Important?
This might just be my own opinion, yet I have used the experience I had with family members and many of my girlfriends and all of them have given me the very same reaction. Yet I am convinced if you are here and reading my posts, it has to do with that you want to find out more about eyebrows.
To begin with our eyebrows 100% shape our faces. Unfortunately, most of us have gone through the experience of going overboard with plucking. At the same time if you overpluck all the time, in some cases some of the hairs will not grow back. I was one of the lucky ones in the way that my mother never allowed me to overpluck and she always understood that our eyebrows are really important. Yet on occasion, I still went overboard where I shortened the tails of my eyebrows.
There is a way to know where your brows should go (in this post I share a step-by-step method that shows how you need to measure and where they need to go). Your eyebrows will frame your eye and make them appear larger, while at the same time balancing your face. When done right, your brows can be extremely flattering and provide you with a striking look. My sister and my mom have light eyebrows and are not as interested in make-up like I am. When we decided to go to the Taylor Swift concert and they allowed me to work my magic by doing their makeup, I really enjoyed watching their reactions. Both of them fail to enhance their arches or fill in the eyebrow tails, so when I did this they were both like “wait how did you manage to do that?”. It actually takes around 15 seconds to complete, that’s it!
An eyebrow shape that is flat makes the face shape look shorter, which can look unflattering on some faces. If your face is long, this might help your overall look but for others with shorter or rounder faces, it has the opposite effect. In addition, when you shape your brows properly you might be able to disguise parts that you do not like. You will be surprised at how shaping and filling in the right way can change your entire face. It always catches me by surprise after I have cleaned up my eyebrows after a bit of neglect how so many people ask what I have done differently with the way I have applied my make-up.
My Experience with Microblading
Okay, So [John has told me I say this too much on my IG stories, sorry] I have never seen the need to microblade as I already have very thick eyebrows and I had learned the right way to care for them. But back in 2015 when microblading became the next best thing with most of the celebs in LA, it perked my interest. At this stage, it was only popular in LA and was still a brand new concept and not many beauty therapists had the right training to do it. I think the main reason I became interested was from a girl that used to shape and wax my brows once gave me advice that if I used Botox in the area of my forehead, that it could also create that arched effect.
I went ahead and went through with it and I was an absolute nervous wreck. I heard many horror stories about an eyebrow that starts to droop due to botox. A couple of days after the Botox, I really enjoyed where my eyebrows were sitting, they had their own arch and it minimized the work I used to do to draw the arches on. I remember thinking it was really cool, but around 6 weeks down the line it was similar to a balloon deflating. My brows returned to normal.
I can’t remember the exact amount that I paid, but I felt disappointed that I paid so much money for it to only last for 6 weeks. I also remember asking around and many people told me I probably metabolize too fast. I decided to give it another try, and 6 weeks later the exact same thing occurred. It only lasted for 6 weeks, where other people who had Botox experienced results for as long as 6 months.
I could not justify forking out so much money. At the same time, I also knew we had plans to try for a baby and I remember thinking it was dangerous to have Botox in my system while trying to conceive. I also thought about the pregnancy along with having to nurse which would probably take up the next 2 years. It was around here that I was first introduced to the concept of microblading. I had also watched a girl from LA who showed amazing before and her after on her own IG and I thought yes I can also have that arch. I also thought if I go through with it, I won’t have to worry about the commitments to all the other hassles.
I started conducting my own research and found a girl based in Dallas who is well-known when it comes to her outstanding brow skills. [This forms part of my negative story, so I won’t share her name]. I was also informed she did all the Who’s Who of reality TV stars and famous people In Dallas. I was also told that she was booked up for 4 months in advance so good-luck in trying to get in.
We live not too far away from Dallas so I decided to call and managed to confirm a booking in 2 weeks due to a cancellation. I asked John to drive me and for some reason, I was extremely nervous. I still remember walking into the “salon” and noticed that she was not very inviting. She was not very friendly, but I still went into trying to explain to her that I wanted an arch, where I got the feeling she sort of listened.
She really did not give me much of her time and really didn’t seem very interested. She started off by numbing the area with a needle technique, not very sure about what it is called. It basically involved using a needle around my brow area to numb the skin, but it never went numb. She completed the task extremely quickly, yet I felt each stroke that was added onto my brows.
Yes, it was very painful. Even though I had paid for the touch-up session, I decided to not go back due to my initial experience. When I left my brows looked okay, but definitely not what I had asked her for, but at this stage, I was just happy to get out of there. It was not a very pleasant experience. Once again I will not be sharing her information publicly, as I believe she may have just been having a bad day, one can never tell. I have still heard good things when it comes to her work, so I am a bit conflicted.
In the days to follow with my “new brows”, they were dark and scabby, which I was told is normal. I followed all the tips on care but I never really loved the look. After 2 weeks, my strokes had turned red. Almost as if she had used a dye that is red. Well, she didn’t, but I do believe she had made the wrong choice in color, and it had not set well. [ you can see the red strokes in my photos below].
To be honest, this left a very bad impression on me when it came to microblading. Over the following 2 years, when my friends went for the procedure and told me that it did not hurt much, I was truly confused.
2 Years Later
One of my friends based in Tulsa, that used to be my hairdresser and is also very interested in brows had hers done by another person in Dallas and she looked absolutely Amazing! She also underwent training to start doing brows, and I have seen many of her Before’s and After’s and I thought to myself she is really really good. I was also in shock that a local could be so gifted with eyebrows, as brows are scary things to work on.
In the early part of June, this summer I decided to contact her and tell her about the bad experience I had. She asked me to come to her salon so that she could fix them. She also told me that she only uses a numbing cream and that she never heard before that it hurt so badly. So 2 years later here I am letting her do my brows. I also hardly felt a thing. When she was finished she gave me a mirror and I started to cry.
She had managed to do exactly what I have always wanted and I was shocked at how great they looked. She also gave me lessons on where I should be plucking and she gave me the arch I have always wanted. She used brow strokes and shading [read about it HERE]. I felt the shading, but it was nothing compared to the pain and discomfort that I experienced the first time.
This time I didn’t scab, and they healed quickly without turning red. The color stayed the same and 5 weeks later I returned for my touch-up. My brows have looked fantastic ever since. I will be posting photos below so you are able to see what my brows looked like before microblading, before I microbladed with no product, and then my After picture from my latest microblading.
I find these pictures important as many people are too scared to go for microblading as it is expensive and it’s a sort of permanent thing. In the 1st photo from May 2018 where I had just filled my eyebrows in using pomade.
The next picture was taken in June 2018, before I went for my first microblading session. You will be able to see the red strokes after the girl from Dallas did them. I did not clean up my eyebrows at all, as I wanted them to be hairy so that they could be shaped appropriately. This is a good tip if you are deciding to have yours done.
Here is my AFTER pic from the first appointment I had this summer. You can easily see the shading and strokes and it looks really natural. You will also notice how it has given me that lifted effected as she plucked a few of the hairs just below my brow that used to make my brows sit lower on my eyelids. I now have space for eyeshadow.
This is the last picture taken in July 2018, 5 weeks after my first appointment for the touch-up. There was not much that was needed, but this session definitely made my brows darker which enhanced my overall look. Just to let you know these pictures were taken close-up under intense lighting which allows you to see every hair, pore, flaw, etc.
Just added this pic cause I took the photo in June on the night after my 1st appointment. You can see the overall appearance of my brows without any make-up on.
I absolutely love my eyebrows now. I still fill in using a powder on days that I wear eyeshadow and foundation because my foundation has the tendency to cover my real hairs and the strokes, which is why I always use powder [ which is linked in the first section of this post], it helps the hairs to show up. When I have mico-bladed brows and lash extensions at the same time, I have gotten to a stage that on most days I don’t even wear makeup.
However, when shooting I still wear makeup and I really do love my makeup a lot. Yet on days home with Luke, I enjoy not having to spend time on getting ready because my lashes and brows are ready to go!
If you have not yet reached a stage that you feel comfortable with microblading your brows, I still recommend that you start by filling them in, it will be worth your time and effort.