You’d have to have been living under a rock to have missed the absolute fire-level trend that is microblading, aka the form of brow tattooing that uses fine, feather-light strokes to achieve the look of real brow hairs. It started to be hailed as the life-saver for anyone not #blessed with bushy, Brooke Shields-style eyebrows. But as the trend picked up steam, so too did terrifying pics of awful finishes. 

Thing is, with every beauty trend comes a whole gang of badly trained, corner-cutting folks who want to make the big bucks without putting in the hard yards – and therefore, a whole bunch of horror stories. So what’s a guy or gal with crappy brows to do? Read up on the whole thing before even considering it. We enlisted the help of brow queen (and arguably the best microblader in Australia), Kristin Fisher of Kristin Fisher Eyebrows for her expertise.

KNOW YOUR METHODS

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You’ve probably heard all the different terms – microblading, brow feathering, brow tattooing. No, they don’t all mean the same thing. And yes, it’s really important to know the difference, because it could mean a completely different look to what you were expecting.

“Microblading and feathering are the same thing, theyre a form of semi-permanent tattooing. Brow tattooing has different forms – shadowing, shading, block, nanobrows,” explains Kristen. 

The style you’ve probably seen and fallen in love with is likely to be microblading – where fine, hair-like strokes are added to the brow to help define the arch, thicken it up, or fill in gaps for a full look minus any product. It’s classified as semi-permanent makeup, and you need to be prepared for it to last for ages.

“Everyone’s skin is different. Some people will lose colour in 9 months, some people will hang onto it for ages,” explains Kristen. “I feel like theres not enough education on how long it’ll last – it’s nothing to do with your hairs, it’s going into your skin, and your skin will decide how long it’ll take to fade, so I feel like people forget that it can be very permanent.”

DO YOUR RESEARCH

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Absolutely *do not* just rock up to any old salon or “brow expert” and blindly put your trust in them for a treatment like this. Remember, it is literally tattooing your brows – that shit lasts, so if you go to the wrong person, you could be stuck with insane looking brows for months – hell, even years.

In Australia, and around the world, there’s a lot of two day microblading training courses,” says Kristen. “Just companies trying to cash in on the fact that microblading is trending. I had a brow salon for 8 years before we even started microblading. The horror stories come from people who do these 2 day courses with no training on shaping or brows, and then jump straight into microblading.”

Terrifying, right? Before letting anyone touch your eyebrows, ask to see their credentials. Where did they study microblading? For how long? Kristen, for example, says she spent over $200,000 on training for the treatment, visiting overseas training centres to ensure she got the best education. It’s also worth finding out how long the person has been doing brow shaping in general for – this is how you’ll know they can get you the shape you want that’ll suit your face shape.

SEE PICS OF HEALED BROWS

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Those pics all over Instagram? They’re likely to be freshly microbladed brows, and that’s why it seems you can go to literally anyone to get the treatment done – because fresh brows will always photograph well. But Kristen stresses a true microblading pro will show the healed results along with the fresh ones – because the healed brows are what their clients will be living with.

“Healed pictures are everything. If people aren’t posting healed images, that’s a worry – it could mean their healed work isn’t that great. It might be very faded, for example.” she explains.

LISTEN TO THE BROW EXPERT

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It’s absolutely necessary to go to a microblading expert with an idea of what you want the shape and feel of your brows to be in the end. But it’s also important to listen to them if they tell you that you’re, well, insane. Being stubborn as hell about wanting Gigi Hadid‘s eyebrows when you’re being told your brows are naturally straight (like Kendall Jenner, who is also cool ok?) and refusing to budge is a surefire way to end up with a final look you actually hate. Think about it – you’re paying them. They want you to be happy with your final look. They’re not trying to sabotage you, so don’t put up the fight.

“We like to have clients input, definitely. It gives us a good idea of how they want their brows to look in the end,” says Kristin. “However, if they’re expectations are completely unrealistic, we either have to say we cant meet them therefore we cant take you on as a client, or we will explain what we think will suit them best, and ask them to trust our judgement. Kylie Jenner’s brows don’t suit everyone, for example.”

REMEMBER THAT THE INITIAL LOOK ISN’T FINAL

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While your new, freshly tatted brows should look great in terms of shape – they also might freak you out a bit. Fresh brows will be darker and you’ll be able to see the individual strokes.

“It can be quite confronting at first. It’s something new on your face, it’s like if you were to go from brunette to blonde in one day, you know?” says Kristin. “After 3 weeks, the brow softens and the ink settles into your skin, and they look natural.”

Basically, the super defined strokes will look more like real hairs once the ink has settled after 3 weeks. This also means your arch will soften, too – although Kristen does stress that the best style to go for is a natural shape. As she says, you can always add dramatic effect with makeup if you’re enjoying high arches or really thick brows, but it is semi-permanent makeup and therefore it’s best to stay away from trends and go for something that works with your natural shape.

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Image: Instagram / @kristin.fisher.eyebrows.

Every Question That’s Putting You Off Eyebrow Tattooing, Answered