Bring Back the Brows
I must admit, I’m still a newbie to the world of microblading, microneedling and microshading. Because although I’m a long-term alopecian, who has now reached complete bald status, I’ve always been lucky enough to hang onto my brows and lashes.
Until recently. Since early 2020, my right eyebrow got teenier and teenier – until I’d lost it all by the summer of 2021. (My left one, meanwhile, remained thick and full as ever!) And it led me to research some treatments I’d never considered before.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever go for these treatments – I’d rather wait for my brow to return by itself. (Update, April 2023: It does!) Because I know there are things I can do (through my diet, with natural treatments) to speed things along. But I thought I’d explore these options, for my fellow alopecians who have started shedding eyebrow hair, too. I hope this post helps you!
Emma’s ‘not a doctor’ disclaimer
Hi there, I’m an alopecian, I’m not a doctor! Any advice I give is based on my own research and personal experiences. This site is however reader-supported. When you buy through external links, I may earn a tiny affiliate commission. Learn more here.
Of course, anyone can go for the treatments I’m about to cover here. But as this post – and this website – is specifically for people with hair loss, I’ll be addressing them!
Ever notice that losing your hair can come with a loss of identity, too? It’s like it strips away your sense of self. (Luckily, I’ve leaned into my new ‘look’ – or when I feel like covering up, I have my collection of colorful headscarves!)
But it’s harder to disguise a missing eyebrow as anything else: that something’s not quite right. And while I’ve decided against using make-up or tattooing to fill in my missing eyebrow, I know that having ‘a face on’ is super-important to lots of people; especially for those already insecure about a patchy or bald head.
The great thing about semi-permanent eyebrow tattoos for alopecia is the ‘semi’ part. You save yourself from fussing with brow pencil every day – but if you get tired of the look, you’re not stuck with it for life.
Plus, the pigment used in these treatments is different to regular tattoo ink: your body ends up metabolizing, so it fades away – oh, and those dye particles aren’t as concentrated, giving your brows a softer, more natural look.
Here are a few additional benefits (and drawbacks!) of getting your eyebrows tattooed on in this way.
Now you know a little more about the pros and cons of these treatments, let’s take a closer look at what’s on offer for your balding brows!
This semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo uses a fine blade (or rather, multiple fine blades) to manually deposit pigment onto your skin. Like little brush strokes that create a more natural, less ‘stamped on’ effect.
Aftercare advice may vary between salons but as a general tip: clean your brows with a cotton pad (using distilled water) and apply aftercare cream every 4 hours. The next day, repeat this process 3 times and for the remainder of the week, do it every morning and evening.
Microblading usually requires a touch-up a month after your first appointment. Then your treatment should last from 1–3 years (depending on things like sun exposure, skin type, your use of strong cosmetics, etc).
Cost: Anywhere between $500–$2,000, depending on your technician’s experience.
A good option for: Those who want to add a little volume and a natural finish to thinning brows. Although this look can be achieved if you’re completely brow-less, too!
Instead of a blade, this procedure uses an ultra-fine precision needle with a cosmetic machine. Once again, it deposits pigment (as opposed to ink, like in traditional eyebrow tattoos) for a natural, brush-stroke effect.
Since the pigment is delivered into a deeper layer of skin, the colour usually lasts longer than with microblading and you’ll get a crisper, clearer result. There’s also less risk of flaking or irritation, meaning a faster healing time. (Yay!)
If you choose microneedling (which is like Microblading 2.0), make SURE you go to a salon you can trust…because this treatment lasts even longer, between 3–5 years. Then follow your technician’s aftercare instructions to maintain longevity – in general, your brows should heal faster than with microblading, thanks to the use of that cosmetic machine.
Cost: From $200–$700 per session (on average, people are advised to have six sessions in total)
A good option for: Those who want clearly defined, long-lasting brows with little upkeep
This process will give you the most ‘done’ or ‘made-up’ look out of the three cover-up options – if that’s the style you’re going for. It uses pin-like dots of pigment rather than brushstrokes for a more powered, filled-in effect.
Microshading involves either a manual or electric handheld device – and the ‘stippling’ technique it offers gives a powdery result, like you’ve used a compact colour set. Think dramatic, think Instagram influencer…this one isn’t really for people who don’t wear makeup otherwise.
As with the other options, you should start by finding a trusted, licensed provider – and don’t forget to check out their sample pics first! Imagine yourself having this made-up look for the next 1–3 years (yep, it’s around the same lifespan as microblading, with one touch-up) and if that’s the style you’d like, go for it!
Cost: Anywhere from $300–$1,500 (I know, that’s a big bracket – but it depends on where you live, the technician, etc)
A good option for: Make-up fans seeking a dramatic effect
Found a procedure that speaks to you and your situation? Great! Now check out the following tips – they apply to all three treatments – to boost your chances of getting long-lasting brows you’ll love.
Look for a trusted, licensed professional in your area and always ask to see examples of their work on previous clients. Check out customer reviews, too. Remember, price – and quality – range dramatically so do your homework before making a commitment!
Make sure to ask your technician about any steps you need to take, or things to avoid before your treatment (for instance, it’s best to avoid facials or tanning products beforehand).
Follow whatever aftercare steps your technician recommends, for as long as you need to. In general, keep the area clean and free from harsh chemicals and avoid vigorous workouts for the first week – as excessive sweating may affect pigment retention. Also avoid saunas or hot baths and don’t wear make-up around your brows that week.
At first, the area around your brows might be red or even scabby – so don’t schedule your appointment before a big event! Give your brows time to rest before you bare them to the world.
Then top make-up artists recommend Kevyn Aucoin’s Precision Brow Pencil. It’s got a non-waxy fine point that helps you to create hairlike strokes for a microblading or nano needling effect. It’s also got lovely ingredients like beeswax and castor oil to support the growth of whatever hair you may have there!
Customers love this pencil for creating a false brow effect – so it could be a nice gateway option if you’re not quite ready for something so long-term.
Whatever option you choose – or if you’d prefer to let your brows come back in their own time without any cover-up – I hope you’ve found this post useful!
I’ve read that these treatments are suitable even if you’ve had full eyebrow loss. The technician can either match the colour to your hair (if you have any) or you can work together to find a color you’re happy with. The effect will still look like natural little brushstrokes, just like real eyebrows.
Still, I haven’t had it done myself yet…so if you’ve lost some or all of your eyebrows, and you’ve tried any of the above procedures, please share your experience in the comments below!
From one browless baldie to another, I know how hard it can be to witness a big part of you suddenly disappear. But with these options, maybe you can regain a little control and a little confidence, in yourself…and in your beautiful face!
Love and hugs,
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Alopecian. Yoga Teacher. Copywriter. Here to share information, offer support and show people the adventures that can lie in hair loss. I’m proud to have alopecia and I want to help others embrace their baldness, too!
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