Shape Up

All about microblading, the latest semi-permanent makeup procedure for brows

By now you may have heard of—or even considered—microblading, the latest semi-permanent makeup procedure for brows. And if you haven’t, let us introduce you to it. It’s a cosmetic tattoo technique that uses ink to hand draw strokes that look like real eyebrow hairs in order to define, darken, or reshape brows. The effects last for a year or more.

The service is done with a hand tool that looks like a pencil with a row of tiny needles at the tip, says Michelle Vernon, microblading specialist at RSVP Med Spa in Overland Park. As the blades (i.e. needles) are pressed into the skin, tiny incisions are made and ink is delivered into the skin leaving behind very fine, hair-like strokes. The size of needles the artist selects will determine the thickness of the strokes. The results are much more lifelike than old-school permanent makeup or eyebrow tattooing techniques, which were done with a coil or digital machine, and created a solid, filled-in look rather than the crisp hair strokes of microblading.

Microblading has surged in popularity, especially over the past year, says Vernon. People who have thin, sparse or over-plucked brows, have lost them because of medical conditions, or want to improve symmetry or fullness are all attracted to the service, she says. As are those who have light-colored brows or simply want to save the time it takes to draw or fill in brows every morning.

It typically takes two appointments to get the full effects. The sensation has been compared to tweezing, says Vernon, and a topical numbing solution is applied before etching begins. The ink is thicker than that used in body tattoos and isn’t implanted into the skin in the same way. It’s meant to fade over time—usually between one and two years, depending on skin type and lifestyle. Once it does, you can go back for a color boost appointment, says Vernon. Fading also means you can tweak brow shape or color as you age or as trends shift.

It’s crucial to find an experienced and well-trained technician working in a clean, sterile environment. It’s essentially a tattoo on your face after all. If the pigment is placed too deep into the skin, the strokes can be blurry and you can risk scarring, says Vernon. With a skilled artist, the effects can be life-changing. “It looks so much like hair. I’ve had people sit up and look in the mirror at the work and they’re so happy they cry,” she says. “It just enhances their face.”


 RSVP Med Spa

Maria Estelle Brows + Skin

Kristine Kay Skin Spa


$600-$800 (includes a consult and two sessions)