I Tried Micro-Blading My Brows and Here’s What Happened
My brows have never truly been on fleek. If anything for the latter part of my life they’ve been on struggle. I first got my brows arched when I was 13 for my 8th-grade graduation pictures. At the time I didn’t know that after that inaugural brow shaping that I’d spend every 14 days for the next 20 years getting my brows either arched, waxed or threaded.
I needed relief and decided I wanted to try micro-blading.
Microblading is semi-permanent cosmetic, tattooing of the eyebrow. The aesthetician uses feather-like strokes to draw in brows using ink. Microblading typically lasts a year to 18 months depending on the skin type. While it’s one of the newest “beauty trends” it’s been part of the Asian beauty community for centuries. I know you’ve seen those ladies with the flawless brows. I was trying to look like that.
An aesthetician in Houston reached out to me on Instagram and wanted to provide her micro-blading service in exchange for a blog post review. Being new to the blogging world and extremely frugal, I've always been easily enticed by freebies. Especially, in exchange for my opinion. I asked a few more questions so that I wouldn't seem thirsty and then I jumped at the chance.
I was excited about getting my brow micro-bladed but decided to do my due diligence of researching the process on YouTube and through hashtags on Instagram. What can I say...I’m a true millennial. All of the “data” came back favorable. I learned that the process was straightforward, could be done in under an hour and had the potential to be painless with a numbing agent. In the past, I've used. numbing creams for my bikini wax and laser hair removal procedures so I didn’t think anything of it. If anything, it made sense to me.
At my appointment, the aesthetician explained her process as well as her background in beauty. Actually, her background was in IT. She tried her hand at beauty school but never completed it. 🤔 She had been micro-blading for about two years and had just opened her own studio in which case she was looking to build clientele. Working with local influencers was part of her business growth strategy. While I'm nobody's beauty blogger people tend to enjoy what I have to say on most topics.
During our banter, I asked her about licensing and regulations required by the Texas Department of State Health Services, she informed me that the state only licenses the facility similar to that of a body piercing studio or tattoo shop. This was surprising to me because I considered micro-blading to be a beauty service provided by a cosmetologist. However, in the state of Texas aestheticians that perform micro-blading are more like tattoo artist and unlike cosmetologist, micro-blading did not require any specific certification besides a bloodborne pathogens test. I was caught off guard because aestheticians that conduct micro-blading literally use a needle to penetrate your skin. There may be blood and other bodily fluids like sweat and I feel that needs more knowledge beyond a genetic pathogens video. That was the first red flag but I was still undeterred.
She further explained that in order to conduct micro-blading a person must study as an apprentice under a more skilled person similar to a tattoo artist. That was the second red flag simply because in my opinion apprenticeships can be very unstructured. For micro-blading, the apprenticeship doesn’t have a formal start and completion date nor does it specify the number of study hours required. I also don’t think there’s a final exam. Again, I was still determined to get my brows stippled to perfection.
Lastly, I noticed there were no forms to fill out to ask about medical history or allergies. There was also no true skin consultation but in all fairness, I never received consultations when I got my brows waxed or threaded. Despite realizing all of this, I still very much wanted my brows done.
For some reason, I was looking forward to saving 5 minutes per day on my makeup routine.
I really wanted that 5 minutes back...that's over half an hour a week I could use to be more productive. Also, since micro-blading can last over a year I'd also get time back that I normally use setting appointments for brow services.
Finally, we got started. YASSSS! Here comes the fleek!
The aesthetician put lidocaine on my right brow to numb it for the procedure. Lidocaine is a chemical used as a mild anesthetic to dull pain. I was instructed to leave it on my right brow for ten minutes. About 3 minutes into the process there was a familiar burning sensation I haven’t felt since I was 12 years old when I scratched my scalp before getting a Just For Me relaxer.
The sensation intensified and my eyes started watering. I could also literally feel my skin getting red hot and swelling.
I looked into a handheld mirror and the redness and burning were shifting to my left brow in which case she never added the numbing agent. I couldn’t take the excruciating pain despite the fact that I had given birth 18 months ago to the day. This was by far worse than my delivery. If you need a visual just picture the scene from Spike Lee's Malcolm X movie when Detroit Red was getting his hair conked and there was no water in the sink to rinse away the chemical products.
Something was not right—clearly. I was having an allergic reaction.
We removed the cream and my entire forehead was cherry red and inflamed. We applied aloe vera gel to soothe the pain as well as water to cool the skin. and used a fan to blow gusts of brisk air on my sore skin. After about 40 minutes I started to finally feel relief. The aesthetician was in shock and claimed that this had never happened to a client before—which was believable. I suggested next time she does a spot test on new clients to ensure no allergic reactions. No one deserved to come for fleek brows and leave looking like a rotten tomato.
After my skin calmed down I decided to read the writing on the wall. I didn’t go through with the micro-blading process. Instead, I drove home praying that my husband didn't laugh at me for going through with this whole ordeal. He didn't laugh at me. For the rest of the night, I experienced tenderness in my left brow to the point where I was afraid to wash my face in fear of my cleanser retaliating against me for my stupidity. When I awoke the next morning I was much better and able to laugh at the situation all while listening to Beyonce's Pretty Hurts.
Until further notice, my brows will remain unkempt and untouched. My desires for flawless brows still exist but hopefully one day it’ll come to pass. I suggest that anyone eager to dive into a new beauty trend to do some real research and make sure you’re ready for it. Most, importantly--always spot test first and be aware of how your body reacts when things are askew.
What crazy beauty trends have you tried? Comment below!