Microblading 101: Everything You’ve Wanted to Know

Microblading; everyone seems to know that it has something to do with brows and that it’s gaining in popularity, but few people know exactly what is is. Is it tattooing your face? How permanent is it? Does it hurt?

I had an opportunity to chat with brow specialist, Krystal Elizabeth, on what microblading is and other questions microblading newbies might have. Prior to meeting with Krystal I was under the impression that microblading was a tattooing process.

What is microblading vs tattooing?

Microblading is implanting pigment into the upper dermis using a handheld tool, not a tattoo gun. Microblading results are meant to be semi-permanent whereas tattoos are more permanent in nature. The pigment is also different, which is non-reactive and thicker ink as opposed to tattoo ink, which is thinner to penetrate skin deeper.

How is the procedure done and how long does it take?

The process begins with applying a numbing cream onto the brow area and allowing 20-25 minutes to take full effect. During this time brow mapping takes place to measure out points of your face to ensure that your brows are as symmetrical as possible. The placement of your eyes, nose and personal preference are all taken into account when mapping out the shape of your brows.

The actual process itself is the feather stroking of hair like strokes into the upper layer of skin with a tool dipped in pigment. As the skin heals, the pigment remains leaving natural looking results. The entire procedure takes about 2 hours.

Who is microblading suitable for?

Microblading is suitable for nearly anyone. With any procedure there are some exceptions; women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and people on medication that thin blood are not ideal candidates for microblading. Those with a sensitivity to certain metals may see a reaction to the blade used during microblading.

Probably the most common question: does it hurt?

At the most it’s more of a discomfort than a pain that you’ll feel. Because of the numbing gel applied the only pain felt is if the numbing gel has not taken full effect yet or if the technician is applying too much pressure.

What’s the healing process like post procedure?

Once the procedure is completed it’s important to keep the brows moist, ideally with coconut oil. Throughout the healing process the brows will start to scab and peel (very similar to a tattoo), like a tattoo it’s important to apply sunscreen daily to prevent fading  once they are completely healed.

Top photo shows how I originally styled my brows with makeup, middle is bare brows, last is microbladed brows.

Is microblading a “one and done” type of procedure?

Once your first appointment is done you’ll have to come in for one additional touch up appointment (about 4 weeks after your initial appointment). Your first appointment is to build a good foundation for your brows, allowing you to evaluate the shape and density. The second appointment allows your technician to add additonal strokes to areas you feel need more volume, use a darker pigment or any other corrections that you feel are needed.

Once these two appointments are completed your brows are expected to last for up to 18 months. Longevity varies person to person depending on skin type and upkeep. Skin types that are prone to oiliness accelerate the pigments’ fade time. Younger skin also regenerates faster pushing out pigment at a quicker pace than older skin.

This procedure was a complimentary service via Krystal Elizabeth Lash and Brow.

Vicki Duong


Vicki Duong is a self-proclaimed multifaceted fashion hustler. Since moving to Vancouver in 2013 she has styled editorial shoots, costumed for film and television, worked in fashion distribution and wholesaling and wardrobed for world tours. When it comes to shopping she keeps the planet and its inhabitants in mind by purchasing sustainable, ethically produced, or second-hand whenever possible.

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