Illustration by Genevieve Pizzale Image by: Jennifer Danter
One editor—with barely-there brows—tries out microblading for herself at Caryl Baker Visage in Toronto. Here's what she thought.
My wispy childhood brow fluff, is not what I would call brow goals. It has remained patchy and sparse in adulthood (I'm in my mid-forties) and lacks volume and shape. I decided to try microblading because I wanted a bigger, fuller brow with a distinctive, yet natural look. My eyes also have a slightly hooded shape, and I wanted a non-invasive, non-surgical way to boost my appearance and bring attention to my eyes—but not dramatically change my current look.
So far, I've shunned makeup products that fill in brows because I rarely wear makeup—so microblading appealed to me because of its low maintenance approach to getting brows (after the initial procedure, of course). When the opportunity arose to try the service at Caryl Baker Visage, I jumped at the chance to finally get the brows I wanted.
Jennifer, before microblading
What is microblading?
Microblading is a semi-permanent hair simulation technique that gives the illusion of full, natural brows. It's done completely by hand, which allows for more control and subtle shaping to truly customize the experience. A certified specialist uses a small blade to scrape pigment under the skin, which mimics individual hairs. Because there are many miniscule strokes, the result is a feathering effect instead of a solid fill. The price can range anywhere from $550 to $700 for a session, and brows can last for up to two years—although prices and longevity can vary based on your own individual needs.
We started with a collaborative and detailed consultation where my technician analyzed my face shape, eyebrow structure and colour, as well as my hair and skin tone. Then before we even started talking shape, she surprisingly plucked out a ton of eyebrow hair at lightning speed! Turns out I had hair growing in all the wrong places—as in everywhere but on my brow line.
Next step was tape: she placed a clear thick strip etched with measurements (like a ruler) on my forehead, above my brows to ensure symmetry. She asked me what type of brows I wanted (I said I wanted a soft, natural-looking arch with just the right amount of drama), and then working in stages, she sketched what it could look like and I gave feedback every step of the way.
Once I gave the thumbs up, she blended my colour (using hypoallergenic pigment), then applied a topical anesthetic and went to work. The whole procedure took about two hours.
I give it a 5 out of 10. To my surprise, the worst part was the eye-brow plucking before! The procedure itself wasn’t very painful; what was more unsettling was the sound of scraping while only feeling a dull tugging sensation. However, a few hours later, once the anesthetic wore off, my brows felt tender and mildly sore—almost sunburned. A gel ice pack helped reduce swelling and pain was gone within 24 hours. The toughest part was not touching them as they healed—they are itchy! Don’t scratch, pick or peel as this may cause scarring or bald patches, so let the healing process happen naturally.
Jennifer, right after microblading
How it looks
As my technician warned, it was disturbingly bold right after the procedure! I felt like a Vulcan—my brows were uber dark, crusty and intense. But that look didn’t last long and my brows began to fade to a more natural colour. The initial look was so dark because at that point most of the colour was sitting on top of the skin. Within the next six weeks, most of the intense colour flaked off, revealing a softer shape and lighter hue. After a follow-up appointment (as part of the procedure, a second follow up appointment is included about six to eight weeks after initial treatment), I have my dream brows: richly textured with a long gentle arch that brings enough contrast to my face while still looking natural. Having a darker fuller brow helps make my eyes look larger and less hooded too—I look different but still like me!
It’s costly but effective and the pain is minimal but the pleasure huge. Plus I can stick to my regular beauty routine—sunscreen, mascara and lip balm—but still feel pulled together. When my microbladed brows fade in one to two years I know where I’ll be heading—back to the beauty counter for another round.