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Hello, hello! I’m SO stoked to be sharing today’s post with you finally, after what feels like months in the making – ha! It feels like it’s been a long time coming because my microblading journey began over a month ago. I had been curious about microblading and wanted to get it done since well before being pregnant with Olivia, but since it’s not recommended to get done while pregnant (just like any tattooing – better to wait until postpartum!). I think it’s no secret around these rosy parts that I’m reaaaaaally not the best brow girl on the block. I’ve had many an eyebrow snafu in using too-dark pencils or having an unbalanced shape. And of course, like many of us (maybe? hopefully I’m not alone? – ha!) who grew up in the 90’s and early 2000’s when really thin brows were a thing…I overplucked. By the time I hit adulthood, my eyebrows weren’t really the right shape – they were too thin on the ends and too thick in the center. They felt sparse, since I have dark, coarse eyebrow hair that easily showed more bare spots.
Basically…my brows were a hot mess express.
Who IS the best brow girl on the block? My girl Janine from Forever Young Med Spa in downtown Philadelphia. If you’re looking for the best microblading in Philly, she’s your girl. Literally – she won Best of Philly Microblading in 2016 and has won numerous other awards, too! Janine does the brow that feels like you instead of some random, Pinterest example of microblading that she feels like doing. Some of her personal favorite procedures are doing scar work or permanent makeup for cancer survivors, which I just lovelovelove. So she’s really pro at giving you a look that feels natural to you! I’ve gotten quite a few “procedures” done at Forever Young at this point, and they’re definitely my favorite med spa. The owner, Wendi, is just so sweet and knowledgeable. The place is pristine. You feel comfortable the entire time, and you leave feeling more confident. So that’s a win in my book! Especially for my local girls, since we’re talking best microblading in Philly today…if you’ve been on the fence, this post is for you! (They’re also giving 10% to any of you girls who mention me – for any service you want. So name drop all day, friends!!! 🙂 ).
There’s a TON of info on microblading in general in this post, as well as documentation of my own start-to-finish microblading experience and a microblading Q&A from what you’ve asked along the way, so pour yourself another cuppa and hang tight! We also video-documented the entire journey on my Instastories, and it’s all saved to a Microblading highlight on my profile (@ericaligenza). So, feel free at any point to pull that up as you read, so watch it all happening in action! Both my original microblading procedure AND the touch-up were filmed there, so you can see what exactly goes down as it does. NOW, diving into it all – Janine helped A the Q’s so that they’re being answered by a pro!
“What actually is microblading?”
Microblading is a process of depositing pigment into your skin via 14 little needles (like a tattoo).
First, Janine sketches the brow out. Her process is a bit different than other microblading artists, and that’s A-OK – the key is really knowing what YOUR girl’s personal style/process is and aligning with that. But Janine won best microblading in Philly for a reason, and I think that’s really because she doesn’t do your usual “cookie cutter brow” microbladed look. Instead, she goes with your natural brow shape so that it still looks like YOU. (So, she doesn’t draw a square at the corners like some folks do, especially if you don’t naturally have this bold, square shape).
She sketches WITH the blade, just without pressing it into the skin yet. So after color-matching pigment to you, she’s just tracing over lightly where to actually blade.
“Does microblading hurt?”
As Janine told me, “The first pass is the worst pass.” You’re numbed beforehand, and additional numbing is applied between blade passes, along with pigment. I have a really high pain tolerance, but I’d say it felt a bit like really intense tweezing or a scratching feeling after everything was numbed. Which I think makes sense, since it IS a face tattoo technically speaking – ha! Which leads us to…
“Is microblading permanent?”
It is considered permanent, but you do need a touch up about once a year. The FDA regulates it as permanent! I’ve already gotten my touch-up (hence the pics below – ha!), so I can speak to that, as well. Your touch-up is REALLY important – which you’ll likely notice, since it’s totally normal for your brows to “lighten up” after your first go, based on your skin’s natural healing process and however well it holds the ink.
“Are they single use tools???”
HECK YES. Never ever ever go somewhere where you’re unsure of their sanitary practices.
“What is aftercare like?”
Keep your eyebrows dry the first day, but add After Inked a few times (they should always feel hydrated via After Inked!). Do not let water run over your brows the second day – just wash them with a little bit of Dial soap. Specifically Dial, yes, because Dial is antibacterial withou being moisturizing or having any acids in it. So pick up a bottle of the Dial pump at Target! I applied mine with a Q-tip to make sure it was everywhere, and rinsed with a wet end of a Q-tip.
Let dry, then apply After Inked again. Use that 3-4x a day to keep them moist!
Your brows will go through a process of feeling dark, then light…then you get a touch up and they’re as they are! Abide by the emoji graphic below if/when in doubt. 😉
After about a week, you’re good to wash your face as normal again!
“How much does it typically lighten?”
Anywhere from 20-50% – you get a touch up in one month to get it more “finalized” to see how well your skin took it.
“Why is the touch up important?”
J: “The first time is making sure they’re even (nobody’s brows are the same), and I work them so that the second time they’re getting a 3D pop effect. Everybody loves their brows when they’re first done and then thinks they don’t need a touch up…but they do. Because they fade!”
This is the emoji graphic Janine sent me so I wouldn’t text her freaking out after my first go:
Post-touch-up aftercare is the same as before! What’s probably most impressive/mindblowing to me is that my brows just look like there is legit HAIR there. They don’t look fake-colored-in like so many of my brow pencils did before – it’s a natural yet multi-dimensional effect.
My brows also don’t look like your “typical” microbladed brows – and I like that. I think when most of us hear “microblading,” we have a vision in our heads of what that means or what that looks like – and therefore, what to expect. But I think it is (or should be) a fair, reasonable expectation that you still look + feel like YOU after your microblading procedure! Something like eyebrows, that are smackdab on your face, can be really jarring if you look in the mirror and suddenly don’t recognize something.
RANDOM MICROBLADING Q&A
“Is ‘pushing out’ or ‘scabbing off’ a thing?”
Sometimes. Janine said, “That’s why I don’t have you dry heal – so that you get the least amount of scabbing and don’t pull pigment.” When pigment is “pulled,” it’s essentially coming out + off of your skin with any scab, which is why it’s soooo important to heal *properly* and really pay attention to your aftercare instructions!
“What’s the cost?”
Microblading typically ranges from $300 to $800, according to Google. Of course, that depends on where you’re located, and quality of you salon or med spa. Forever Young Med Spa (where I went/go) is $650 for the initial procedure and first touch-up, but you can get 10% off if you mention my name!
“What should people know/prepare/ask if they’re going in to get their brows done?”
J: “Just look at the person’s work! See if you really like their style, and go with someone whose work you just really love. Make sure they have a portfolio, because you pay for what you get!”
While we were talking, Janine was telling me about a botched job she had to fix before…someone had just gone to Chinatown into a back room and ended up getting PITCH BLACK brows that just looked like someone Sharpied on their face. No bueno. And you might’ve seen the horror of the girl with four eyebrows…Google it.
It’s 100% worth the splurge, in my opinion, to go to someone who will do it RIGHT. Seeing as it’s…you know…a face tattoo.
“I got it done and I loved my results at first, but my skin rejected the ink. What can I do?”
J: “Sounds like your skin may have been a bit oily – Some people unfortunately need an additional touch up or need to be machine-tattooed, depending on their skin. Also, there is a possibility the artist didn’t go deep enough – that can happen if they used inconsistent pressure!”
“I’ve heard you can’t workout/sweat for two weeks and try not to get the area wet for 4?”
J: “FALSE! Start washing the next day – it’s basic wound care. You don’t want to dry out. Start washing the next day, and use After Inked to keep your brows moist. Use Aquaphor for during workouts and wash that off after.”
“Is it recommended for people with sensitive skin (eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, etc?)”
J: “I’d have to look at someone with eczema, etc, but you shouldn’t/can’t during a flair up!”
“Are microblading and ombre blading the same thing? I heard people with oily skin need ombre blading.”
J: “Ombre is really machined. You can do some shading with a particular microblade, but that isn’t true ombre brows. People with very oily skin can just need a touch up faster, so machine tattoo can be a better option sometimes.”
“Can or will you still need to wax any other hair that would grow out?”
J: “Yes, you still need to tweeze or wax; I recommend tweezing because it won’t pull the pigment out at all, whereas it could pull if someone ever burns you waxing.”
PHEW. There we have it – Microblading 101. Ha! HUGE thankyou to Janine, Wendi and the whole Forever Young Med Spa gang for just being so fabulous, and for helping me feel more confident with better brows. Remember to mention my name if you’re local and decide to stop in for a service (whether that’s microblading or something else entirely, like a laser treatment, Botox, dermaplaning, a facial, etc!) to get a 10% discount justbecause. 🙂
Have you ever had or would you ever consider microblading on yourself?
If you’d had it done before, I’d lovelovelove to hear about your experience. And for my Philly girls, call up Janine!