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Microblading: What you need to know

It’s the brow-enhancing treatment that has beauty insiders obsessed. But what does microblading really involve – and is it really pain-free? DANIELLE FOX has the lowdown

Strong, statement brows – like those sported by model Suki Waterhouse – could be yours

From actors Bella Thorne and Lena Dunham to beauty influencers such as Huda Kattan chronicling their eyebrow diaries on Instagram, the call for high-impact arches has been sounded loud and clear. Luckily, good genes are no longer a prerequisite: if your eyebrows are less than lustrous, microblading is the answer.

What is microblading?

Similar to tattooing but infinitely more subtle, microblading involves the drawing-on of semi-permanent ‘hairs’ using a super-fine, handheld blade. “It’s meticulous and cannot be rushed,” says Suman Jalaf, the London-based brow expert and founder of Suman Brows Beauty Atelier, who is partly responsible for the treatment’s stratospheric popularity. Jalaf’s fine-arts background equips her to ink the most beautifully shaped and believable brows possible. Because of her unique skills, she is often flown around the world to cater to the brow needs of her global client list, which includes Suki Waterhouse. “I numb brows for 45 minutes, then draw on a customized shape as a guide,” says Jalaf.

What does microblading involve?

It’s a fairly lengthy procedure, with the whole treatment taking around two hours from beginning to end, though some of that time is spent waiting for the anaesthetic cream to render the area suitably numb. “Technically, you are scarring your skin,” says Jalaf. “It’s still a blade and your scar is implanted with pigment.” Tattoo inks contain titanium and that is what keeps the pigment within the skin. You may feel a slight stinging, but it is relatively painless,” says Jalaf. In our experience, the sensation is enough to make your eyes water at times, but it is bearable.

Preparation and aftercare

Pre-microblading prep is essential: two weeks prior to your appointment, avoid blood-thinning medicines (like aspirin) and skin-thinning products (such as retinol) to minimize bruising and bleeding. Botox is also a no-no in the two weeks before your treatment. Post-care advice has generally been to keep brows dry for a minimum of 48 hours, however, Jalaf now advises to keep your brows dry for 10 days to prevent the pigment from blurring. Also, avoid using any skin peels or active skincare ingredients in the surrounding area until your skin has healed.

What should you expect?

“Brows will appear significantly darker at first, then soften by up to 40% over the next few days,” says Jalaf. “Individual hair strokes will gradually disperse according to your skin type; so the oilier your skin, the less defined the hair strokes will become and the faster the color will fade. You will need a touch-up after six weeks, but with careful maintenance – and daily use of a good SPF cream to avoid discoloration – the results should last for up to 18 months.”

One last piece of advice…

As with tatooists, always do your research before choosing a microblading practitioner. “It’s important to understand that everyone’s work comes out differently,” says Jalaf. “Make sure you have more than one consultation (each should last around 45 minutes), look at before-and-after photographs and don’t have your treatment on the same day as your consultation – so wait until you and your microblader are 100% sure of what you want to achieve and what your expectations are.


The people featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown.