Sometimes, not often, a new treatment will come blazing through the beauty industry that gets us all talking. I know it's the case when I get a text from my mum (who's interest in beauty generally stretches as far as a decent mascara and cleanser) saying "really considering getting microblading, should I?". For the uninitiated, microblading is a semi-permanent brow-tattooing technique in which individual strokes of pigment are applied beneath the skin to mimic the effect of natural brow hairs.
The reason that it's piqued interest is because it's "non-surgical" (so can be done in your lunch break with little-to-no downtime needed). And, if you suffer from sparse, undefined or misshapen brows, the application of semi-permanent pigment should leave them looking fuller, and more shapely, making mornings spent faffing with eyebrow pencils and gels unnecessary, and more time for lie-ins.
It's not a treatment for everyone, but if you'd like to know more, we sent our resident braveheart, Alex Haddow, off to try it and report back.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO BEFOREHAND
At least forty-eight hours prior to your treatment, you'll need to carry out a patch test to check for any allergic reactions.
WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE
Before the treatment takes place, you'll have a consultation to decide what you'd like. A topical anaesthetic will be applied to your brows to numb any discomfort, then your brow expert will begin applying the pigment by hand in hair-like strokes. Excess pigment is removed with a cotton pad, to check the shape, before any finishing touches (final strokes and removal of stray hairs) are made.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE
It takes around two hours from start to finish. The treatment itself only takes about 45 minutes to complete, but a good amount of time is spent beforehand assessing the shape, colour and finish you'd like, matching it to your face and mapping it out.
HOW LONG DOES IT LAST AND WHAT RESULTS YOU CAN EXPECT
This can vary depending on where you go, but the results should last from between one to three years, though most last between 12 and 18 months. Looking after them properly and keeping them moisturised will help them last longer.
HOW MUCH DOES IT HURT
Again, this very much depends on your pain threshold. An ultra fine blade made up of around 14 needles packed closely together is used to mimic the effect of a paintbrush. The actual process feels like small paper cuts, though Alex declared them "not that painful at all".
WHAT'S THE AFTERCARE LIKE?
Full aftercare instructions are given at the end of the treatment. These include keeping your brows completely dry and avoiding make-up around the area for 10 days to allow them to heal, and taking care when washing your face and hair. The colour will be much darker in the first few days before fading. An annual top-up is recommended if you'd like to maintain the colour (which costs around £150).
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST
The price may vary depending on the clinic and location you choose, but it should cost somewhere between £250-£375.
"I was slightly apprehensive of the pain before this treatment, however, it was minimal and just felt 'buzzy'. There was the odd scratch but nothing to worry about. I was also nervous of huge fake-looking brows. However, the brow expert was very thorough in asking what I wanted (a slightly more shapely, fuller brow) and I was pleased with the initial result. For the first week, my brows were quite bold and they looked perfectly full for around 2-3 weeks. Everyone's skin holds onto the pigment differently, however after the slight scarring flaked off (don't worry not painful or unsightly) I felt that they lost their fullness, though they maintained a neat shape" says Alex.
Alex's treatment was by Epibrow