What is microblading? And, crucially, is it worth it? Eyebrows: they're essential in framing your face and making your eyes 'pop'. Having gorgeous eyebrows is never more important than your wedding day, when you want to look the best version of yourself. There are quick-fixes aplenty, in the form of gels, creams and pencils, to substitute for sparse brows and uneven shapes. But if you're serious about your brows, and you want a semi-permanent but miraculously natural solution, let us introduce you to microblading.
So, just what is microblading?
Microblading is essentially an eyebrow tattoo. But don't let that scare you: microblading is, more precisely, a form of semi-permanent tattoo that's applied using a mini scalpel and tiny needles rather than a traditional full-on tattoo gun. Gone are the days of coloured-in, one-dimensional brows that sit on your face like slugs, what microblading is brilliant for is keeping your brows look extremely natural (and in keeping with the 'no make up, make up trend'). The pigment is applied into the skin in fine, hair-like strokes to mimic natural hair growth - you'll have a hard time spotting a microbladed brow versus a natural, bushy brow from a distance - and lasts up to 18 months.
What happens when you get your eyebrows microbladed?
A good technician, like Sian Dellar (from £495, permanentmakeup-specialist.com) will give you a thorough consultation to map your brows before touching them. They'll get their rulers, protractors and pens out and mark on your head exactly where your perfect eyebrows should be. It's a good idea to take with you photographs and styles of brows you like (and don't like) to rule out any chance of misinterpretation - your definition of 'thin and sleek' may be totally different to someone else's. Make sure you're happy with the shape you've agreed when your eyebrows are marked on your forehead - if not, don't be shy to speak up.
Does microblading hurt?
A numbing cream is then applied to help bear the microblading pain - which can be a little eye watering at times - but the result is totally worth it. Brides engagement editor Alyson Lowe braved going under the micro-knife in search of perfect eyebrows with Sian Dellar. She says: "I'd always been relatively happy with my naturally dark eyebrows, but I wanted to get a more defined shape and increased depth, so decided to give microblading a whirl. After applying a numbing cream spending a good 15 minutes sketching out my ideal brow shape (a ruler and compass was involved), Sian set to work. Microblading is uncomfortable - the initial strokes of the scalpel feel akin to a cat's claw being dragged through your skin - but after topical anaesthetic was applied, I couldn't feel a thing."
The healing process
The microblading healing process will take a little time (a few gruesome scabs are normal too) and most experts will recommend a touch up around a month after the initial application. "My eyebrows really scabbed over about a week after my first treatment. I'd definitely recommend getting microblading far in advance of your wedding to allow them to fully heal" says Alyson. What's more, you won't be able to get your face wet for a full 10 days after microblading. Time to book in for blow-dries and stock up on face wipes!
The top-up treatment
After a few weeks, your eyebrows will have fully healed, and it's time for the top-up treatment to fill in any gaps and go over the existing strokes. It's crucial to remember that microblading is very much a two-stage process - don't freak out until you've got the final-final results a month after your top-up. You'll be left with thicker more lustrous brows that, crucially, won't need a moment's attention in your morning makeup routine. Depending on your skin type (dry skin holds the tattoo better), you can expect your microbladed eyebrows to last around a year. "After my final treatment, I was left with the eyebrows I'd been after. They're thick, fluffy and look totally natural. All I do in the morning is set them with a dash of clear mascara, and I'm good to go," says Alyson. Microblading still a relatively new trend in the beauty industry but it lives up to the hype. And for brides before your wedding, it might just be the best £500 you spend.