Beauty - Microbladed Brows Changed My Life



If I’m being honest, in my self-deprecating opinion, I was never great at the whole “beauty” thing in my adolescent years. I wanted to be, and gave it a really damn good try though. There were just some things I could not hit even close to the mark on, and one of them is eyebrows. We all know the saying “eyes are the window to the soul” and if that’s true, the eyebrows are the window frame. I wish I would have been more wise to that when I strangely thought I had to pluck them all off in high school. You think I’m exaggerating? For story-telling purposes, I’m going to throw all pride out that beautiful facial window and embarrass myself for a moment here. I’ll go cry in the corner while you look at the brow game I did NOT have in my angsty teen days.     
                             

Seriously. Half of them are missing, there’s no shape, and there’s no definition. There’s no frame at all.  I don’t know if I’m more upset with myself for doing it, or that my friends didn’t tell me how ridiculous it looked. I continued to work on them, thinking by college they looked better as a thin line. Yeah, that wasn’t beautiful either. Sure, once I came to my senses and tried to grow them back, it was never truly what I wanted. I still didn’t have the perfect arch, nice shape, or full appearance. I was beginning to think I would never be able to have that look, and that I’d have to live forever with my frameless brows. Fast forward to the days of Instagram and social media. I decided enough was enough, and it was time to get help. I had been seeing a lot online about this trend called Microblading, also known as 3D Brows. I was super intrigued! For those that haven’t heard of this process before, it’s a form of cosmetic tattoo, where pigment is implanted under your skin with a manual handheld tool instead of a machine. Tiny hair-like strokes are made with the blade to mimic natural hairs in your brows. You can expect to spend approximately 2 hours on the first visit including all the steps, and a second touch-up visit is typical after 6-8 weeks of healing time for filling in areas where you may have lost pigment or decide you want a fuller, darker looking brow. This service can last anywhere from 1-3 years depending on how well your skin holds the pigment and how well you take care of them (i.e.: following initial healing instructions, applying sunscreen to them daily once healed, etc.)  After doing a lot of research on it, I knew this could be life changing for me. I got brave and asked on my Instagram Stories if anyone had any local recommendations for someone that did this, and I got quite a few responses! I checked each of them out and fell in love with the work of Stephanie Leigh. After following her work, I got even more brave and booked an appointment. I am now going to share the entire experience with you, from start to finish.
STEP 1 – BROW CONSULT


       

Stephanie says to come to your first visit wearing your eyebrows how you normally would any other day.  When I arrived, after filling out the client forms and going over all of the important medical information and do’s & don’ts, Stephanie and I entered the room where all the magic was about to happen. I was excited and nervous at the same time. Was it going to look as good on me as it did on everyone else? Or would I be destined to have unfulfilling brows for the rest of my life? Well, I wasn’t going to go down without a fight and I trusted Stephanie. First we spent time talking about what I didn’t like about them and what type of brow I wanted while she studied my facial features. We took a photo with my makeup first, and then we cleaned off my makeup and took a before photo. Maybe they aren’t the worst you’ve ever seen, but there’s so many things wrong with them I wanted to be fixed. They were not symmetrical by any means, they were very thin and light in color, and the shape at the beginning was more round than what looks natural. The ends stopped short of where they should end, and the hairs sort of had the appearance that they were growing in their own different directions.
STEP 2 – BROW MAPPING



Because no ones faces are exactly alike, this step is a critical part of the process. Everyone has their own unique features, and brow mapping is how the perfect shape for your eyebrows is found. You are measured for where they should start, arch, and end based on your specific features. After you’re mapped out, Stephanie has you sit up and take a look at your new shape to make sure you’re happy with it. I’m not going to lie, this part was hard for me because I couldn’t picture the end result yet, and as hard as I tried, to me it just looked like funny drawn on eyebrows. This is where I put my complete trust in her. She did explain to me that the lines are the outline and the micro-bladed strokes stay inside those lines.
STEP 3 – NUMBING & COLOR CONSULT



Once the shape was in place, it was time to numb the areas. She applied a topical cream that sits for 20 minutes prior to starting.While the numbing cream was doing it’s work, we discussed color customization. I told her that I really disliked how red toned makeup makes mine appear (especially in photographs when I see how the light hits them) and I really would like a nice chocolate brown that looked more natural and closer to my root color. What’s important to remember, is that you could lose 30-40% pigment during the healing process, but this does result in a more natural looking brow. Once we finalized the color, it was time to start the actual Microblading.
STEP 4 – SO WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE?

Because it’s a form of cosmetic tattoo, I went into the visit expecting it to feel like a tattoo, which I have many of. I couldn’t be more wrong. Actual tattooing involves the machine type needles, which is a completely different feeling than a hand held single blade. Even with the numbing cream applied, for me there was still a scratching feeling, but it was tolerable. I was able to keep a relaxed face and conversation throughout. The majority of Stephanie’s clients have given it a 4-5/10 on the pain scale, and I would have to agree with that.


Once the tiny strokes are made, the pigment is applied. Because of the alcohol in the pigment, this had a very slight burning sensation when applied that made my eyes water just a touch. Again, nothing crazy, but I just want to be completely honest with what I experienced. Also, according to the instructions, you are supposed to withhold alcohol or caffeine prior to your appointment, but I forgot and drank two glasses of wine the night before! Oops! I at least remembered before my morning coffee, but alas I did bleed more than the usual person on the first go-round. I was a little worried because excess bleeding can keep the pigment from holding, so make sure you follow those instructions!
STEP 5 – THE  FINALE (1st Visit)



Once all of the blading and coloring was finished, it was time to wipe away the old me and get a look at the new me. You guys aren’t even going to believe the difference. I didn’t believe it. Was this real life? Can you tell the difference in the strokes and the natural hairs? Hit Play on the video to the right below to see for yourself. As far as I’m concerned, Stephanie is a wizard.
 

When she was finished, I literally couldn’t stop looking at myself. For the first time in 32 years, I was sincerely happy with my eyebrows.
STEP 6 – THE HEALING PROCESS
Your brows are now an open wound, and caring for them properly is super important if you want them to stay beautiful. Depending on your skin type, you may need to use an ointment for the first week. Since my skin is naturally very dry, I used Aquaphor twice daily for the first 7 days following my visit. Most people who have microblading done will become very itchy in the first couple of days, similar to a tattoo as it’s healing. I’m not sure if the ointment helped with this or not, but I personally did not get very itchy at all, nor did mine flake that badly. From what I’ve heard, this is not the norm so I would still plan to expect those things.

Left Photo: Day 3; the pigment is at it’s darkest and you can see some redness from the slight scabs that are starting to form on the strokes.
Middle Photo: Day 7; the pigment is at it’s lightest as the scabs flake away.
Right Photo: Day 21; the pigment continues to oxidize and the strokes begin to reappear in the color intended from the beginning, but some strokes come back looking patchy. This is why you have the touch up appointment!
STEP 7 – THE TOUCH UP

I couldn’t wait to see Stephanie again! I was looking forward to catching up (new friend, yay!) and also seeing what she thought about how my brows healed. She was so thrilled telling me the pigment stayed really well, and only a slight touch up was needed. I made sure to stay away from alcohol and caffeine this time, but of course I still bled some. Must just be me! At the touch up, you skip the mapping step and go right to numbing and microblading with more pigment. Here are the “Healed after 6 weeks” photos before doing the touch up, followed by the completed touch up!

 

And that’s a wrap! My brow game is now strong, and I have Stephanie to thank for that! I don’t know how I lived so long without having this done, but it has absolutely changed my life and my confidence level. They are completely time saving, too. No more penciling and outlining and shading. No more spending money on the powders and makeup. No more worrying about them washing off after swimming or sweating through a work out.  I’ve met so many women who are self conscious about their eyebrows just as I was, and I want to scream about microblading from the rooftops to them. If you’re considering having this done and live in the Charlotte area, I highly suggest you meet with Stephanie and get the eyebrows of your dreams!




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