Eyebrow embroidery, or microblading, is a type of semi-permanent makeup where ink is placed underneath the skin. The idea is to imitate individual strands of brow hair, to create the illusion of fuller, more beautiful eyebrows.
Actually, microblading is in fact a form of eyebrow tattooing, but it’s pretty different from the traditional permanent eyebrow tattooing in some very important ways. Let’s clarify the differences here.
1. It’s a lot more natural-looking: individual hair strokes
Microblades produce a more natural end result than tattoos, resulting in eyebrows that appear to be shaded in with a pencil. Your eyebrows will look like they have a certain amount of depth. In contrast, tattooed eyebrows look drawn on and flat.
This is because the microblading technique creates individual hair-like strokes that penetrate the skin; they pretty much look identical to your natural hair growth pattern. Tattoos just insert a broad wash of pigment to fill out the desired eyebrow shape, and don’t do individual strokes.
Also, great eyebrow artists can selectively make different parts of your eyebrows denser. This is especially helpful if you have uneven or sparse eyebrows, where some areas are thinner than others. With tattoos, you can’t focus on improving specific areas.
2. There are no weird colour changes: pigment vs ink
As the type of colour inserted under your skin is different, the effects will also differ.
The tattooing technique uses ink, which will fade over time to leave a blue- or green-colored tint, especially around the edges. If you’ve ever seen someone with slightly greenish brows, it’s because their tattoo has faded! Over the years, tattoos can eventually become very ugly, as if you have drawn your eyebrows with a very bad brow pencil.
Instead of ink, microblading uses colour pigments. The pigment is designed to fade into a lighter version of the original colour, which means that there is no weird colour changes. Over time, your eyebrows will fade, but they’ll do so a lot more naturally. Also, any good eyebrow embroidery salon should use colour pigment that is organic and non-toxic, to prevent irritiation and allergic reactions.
3. Embroidered eyebrows last 1-3 years, but tattoos last forever
Microbladed eyebrows are semi-permanent and last on average 1-3 years, while eyebrow tattoos can last at least 10 years (before they start fading into weird colours, or their shape distorts due to aging).
Generally, eyebrow tattoos are permanent, and no touch-ups are needed. While this is extremely convenient, it means that you are stuck with that shape for the rest of your life.
In microblading, this the ink is not placed as deep underneath the skin. So as your skin renews itself, the pigment eventually rises to the surface. Over time, it will fade significantly compared to a tattoo. Because of this, microblading does require regular touchups, initially every few months and later perhaps once a year.
4. Semi-permanent: you can make changes on the next touchup
Because the eyebrow embroidery procedure is semi-permanent make-up, you can update your look by changing your eyebrow shape. On-trend thick and full brows? Yes. Thin high arches that accentuate your forehead? Also possible.
Unlike permanent eyebrow tattoos, where the shape and fullness you chose is forever, touch-ups provide an opportunity to follow the current fashion.
Perhaps more importantly, microblading touch-ups allow you to fix mistakes. If you’ve gotten a bad eyebrow tattoo, or made a mistake in your design, you’re stuck with it. With eyebrow embroidery, if you can live with it for a while, you can always fix it on the next touchup.
5. Less invasive = less painful and less chance of injury
Your brow skin is on your face, one of the most sensitive parts of your body. Microblading is much less invasive because it doesn’t go as deep as a permanent eyebrow tattoo. It also uses a hand-held tool, which allows the beautician to be extra careful.
With tattooing, eyebrows are usually tattooed using a machine. Tattoo machine needles are thicker. This can lead to more bleeding, as your skin suffers greater injuries.
In microblading, the amount of blood is minuscule, because the individual strokes of the microblade are much finer. So the needles do not penetrate your brow skin as much as a tattoo.
Do both hurt? Yes, there is some unavoidable pain. However, microblading is likely to hurt much less. In any case, we always use a numbing cream!
Important: get an eyebrow artist who knows what they’re doing
Eyebrow embroidery (microblading) definitely has advantages over traditional eyebrow tattooing. But regardless of the technique chosen, it’s important to get the best microblading artist that you can. Because microblading is an art – without an artist behind the microblade, you’re leaving everything up to chance.