Investing in Yourself – The Beauty Trend Worth Every Penny

This post is all about the beauty trend that everyone is talking about–and for good reason.

Microblading is all the rage right now, as it is the perfect way to amplify your natural beauty by creating the perfect brow. Everywhere I go, it feels like people are talking about this cutting edge service, so I partnered with Julia of Nik’d Beauty–seriously the best of the best–to walk you through my personal experience.

Since having my brows microbladed, I feel as though I’ve cut my getting-ready time in half, but I also feel a lot more confident without makeup. I love that I can wake up, throw on a coat of mascara, tinted moisturizer, and a lip balm and feel 100% presentable. Defined brows makes a huge impact on your face, so having that look without any makeup has been amazing.

What is microblading?

Microblading, brow feathering, microstroking, 3D or 6D brows, is an advanced brow technique whereby a row of superfine needles is used with a manual hand tool and pigments to create thin, hair-like strokes on the skin.  These precisely placed hairstrokes are a semi-permanent tattoo and will create the perfect defined, natural enhanced brow for you.

Nik’d Beauty Studio

The most important thing to do before booking an artist

First things first, this is not a procedure that I would have done without extensively researching the artist and their past work. That being said, I had my microblading done with Julia, owner of Nik’d Beauty Studio, whose work speaks for itself. She posts before and after photos of her clients brows on her Instagram account, so when I contacted her, I was already familiar with her huge portfolio of beautiful work. I would never book this service unless I was confident with the artist’s work.

I highly recommend selecting someone with an extensive portfolio of work, be it on Instagram or a website. Microblading is essentially a tattoo so you’re committing to the results for up to a year.

What to expect during the process

Julia sent me an awesome video of the whole experience, which I’ve shared below. It was really neat for me to see the process in action, and I think it will help anyone who is on the fence or unsure of what microblading is all about.

The two most-asked questions I received were: did it hurt? and how long does it last?

Did it hurt?

On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate the pain a 1. To me, it was minimal. It only starts to feel sore around the second and third passes, simply because you’re going over the same area multiple times. At Nik’d Beauty, Julia does use a numbing agent at the start of the process, which minimizes the pain and alleviates discomfort throughout the process. I can’t say that you won’t feel anything because of the numbing, but my personal experience involved little to no discomfort–no more or less pain than having your brows waxed.

How long do the results last?

This answer will be different for everyone because everyone has different skin. Generally speaking though, someone with oily skin (like me) can expect results to last 6-12 months. Those with normal to dry skin can expect results to last over a year, possibly up to two years. The first 7 to 10 days following your microblading will be crucial for the retention of your pigment, so you want to be sure to follow the recommendations of your esthetician. Again, everyone’s skin is unique, so it’s important to note that these are general recommendations and you should pay attention to the reactions of your own skin.

A high-level overview of the process:

  1. Consultation with microblading artist: discuss expectations and post-service healing process
  2. Outline the shape (when I came in, I had my brows filled in so Julia could see how I typically wear them).
  3. Approximately three passes of microblading (first to outline the shape, then to fill in more sparse areas).
  4. Post-service care for 7-10 days following microblading during the healing process. You’ll want to keep your brows mostly free of water and products containing retinol to avoid loss of pigment.
Julia’s tool station (to be honest, I got a little nervous when I saw all of this, but that’s because I’m dramatic about needles.)
Julia outlined the desired shape and confirmed symmetry using the PhiBrows app. I had the opportunity to approve the shape prior to actually beginning the microblading.
Determining the color (Julia recommended the darker, and I was very happy with the results)

Before/after microblading—I’m obsessed with the shape and how natural the strokes look, blending perfectly into my existing brow hairs.

Post-service care and healing

Your brows will be the darkest on the first 1-2 days following your microblading–THIS IS NORMAL.

I would guess that many people can panic or be surprised by how dark their brows look initially, but please, please know that it will fade significantly. Julia was really great at reassuring me of what to expect, so I was not at all nervous by the dark color during the first few days. The most important thing is not to try to scrub them off, or color correct them on your own–they will fade.

Personally, I love the look of full, dark brows so I would be happy if mine were always as dark as they are during the first few days, but I can completely understand why it may be a bit surprising for someone who isn’t used to seeing their brows filled in. I posted my [horrible] cell phone pictures of the first week so that you could see the progression of them fading–and you can definitely tell that around the 7 day mark, they had faded to a much lighter color than the first few days.

The healing/fading process

Again, the healing process will be different for everyone because it depends on the type of skin that you have. My skin is both sensitive and oily, so I was not at all surprised by the results I experienced during healing.

Redness

It is normal for the skin around the brows to be red following the service, but mine remained red for a little over 24 hours. This did not take me by surprise because even rubbing in moisturizer makes my skin very red. I think the redness subsides for others in a shorter amount of time but for me, this was almost expected. Following my touch-up, I did notice, however, that the redness subsided much more quickly– with no noticeable redness the morning after touch-up.

Peeling

I experienced a lot of peeling around 5 days post-treatment. I did notice that during the peeling, skin would come off in larger pieces and I could see the pigment strokes on the peeling skin. I lost the most pigment in the top of my arch and the very inner corner of my brow. I was applying the balm Julia provided twice per day during this time, and not submerging my face in any water. I used minimal product around the forehead and brow area of my face, to avoid any potential impact to the pigment.

Touch-ups

Something I didn’t initially know about microblading was that you lose a lot of pigment within the first month (skin regenerates every 28 days), so a complimentary touch up is required four weeks post-service. During my touch-up, Julia and I both commented on the loss of pigment I experienced in the arch area, which could be likely to my having oiler skin. Things like hot steam, vigorous workouts (can’t say I have any of those), or any activity that causes excessive sweating can cause your skin to “push out” the pigment. Keep that in mind and avoid anything that may cause excessive sweating within the first 7-10 days. Because of my skin type, I’ll likely need to get touch-ups more often than someone with more dry skin.

My healing process

Bare brows 1 day post-microblading (still some redness and brows are very dark)
Bare brows 2 days post-microblading (redness has subsided, brows very dark)
Bare brows 5 days post-microblading (peeling was in full force at this point, and they had started to lighten)
Bare brows approx 1.5 weeks post-microblading (peeling mostly complete and some areas had lightened at the arch and inner corner)

My experience with Nik’d Beauty Studio

Experience

For those of you in the Pittsburgh or surrounding areas, I really and truly feel that Nik’d Beauty Studio is the best around. Julia is a perfectionist through and through (something I can totally relate to), which is a quality I prefer when receiving a semi-permanent service like microblading. Julia is totally confident in her work (for good reason) which, in turn, made me 100% comfortable trusting her.

I think I’ve made it clear that quality of work is number one for me with a service like this, but Julia’s personality made the process that much more enjoyable while I was there (which takes two hours, for the record). It really felt like I was just hanging out with an old girlfriend, and I personally love to connect with women who have that way of making you feel so instantly at ease. She made me laugh and we just chatted for the two hour service like old friends, which was a really nice way to pass the time.

Booking

In addition to the quality of her work, the ease of booking and receiving reminders leading up to the appointment was incredible. You can book your appointment directly from her website and will receive an email confirmation once she confirms the date/time on her end. Going back and forth on availability is a huge pet peeve of mine, so the fact that I was able to schedule in about 30 seconds was something I really appreciated. In the confirmation email, the address to the studio is included, and you can connect it right to your Google Maps GPS. You’ll also receive a reminder about an hour or two prior to your appointment. Personally, I’m always very grateful for any business that uses technology so efficiently that it makes working with them incredibly simple for the customer. I think Julia is mastering this; I can’t say enough how much I appreciated the ease of booking with her.

Pricing

With Julia, the initial microblading service is priced at $395, with touch ups at the 9-12 month point starting at $125. Now that I am one month past my initial microblading, I can say without doubt that it is worth every penny.

Book now with Nik’d Beauty Studio

Key takeaways

  • It does not hurt. I get my brows waxed every month, and it’s about the same amount of pain.
  • The process takes about two hours, plus another 1-1.5 hours for the touch up four weeks out.
  • You will likely experience redness and peeling within the first week, but that’s part of the normal healing process.
  • Your brows will look much darker during the first few days until they heal completely.
  • Most microblading services are in the $400 range.
  • Nik’d Beauty Studio is my studio of choice for anyone in the Pittsburgh area.

In summary, I love this service so much because it’s an enhancement of your natural beauty. After having my brows microbladed, I felt like getting ready took me 5 minutes: a tinted moisturizer, mascara, and a lip tint was all it took to feel put together. I fully intend to maintain my brows with a touch-up once a year because it is so worth the investment.

Also, a special thank you to Julia for collaborating with me on this post. You guys, she is seriously the best around, and that is my honest to goodness opinion!

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Comments

Michael
Do you tip when you get this service?

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