Anyone who knows me knows I’ll go to great lengths to look good. I know we’ve all said that before, but I actually mean it—I pay a random woman to squeeze every pore on my face once a month just to have glowing skin, I drive over 200 miles to get my hair highlighted because no one compares to my stylist back home, I’ve tried every disgusting juice cleanse there is, I’ve even put sheep’s placenta on my hair. The list goes on. Unfortunately for me, all the work I put into looking good also takes away valuable time I could be using to do more productive tasks, like starting new shows on Netflix. So when I found out about microblading, a beauty treatment that promised to make me look good and save time getting ready (my version of heaven), I knew I had to learn more.
At first, I thought microblading was just tattooed-on eyebrows for people like me who over-plucked them when they were 16 and it was cool to have no eyebrows, and then they never grew back. But through some research, I learned that microblading is actually way more common than I thought. When done right and by the right person, it’s a treatment that could significantly improve my LIFE by giving me perfectly sculpted brows 24/7. (Sounds dramatic, but I really don’t think it is.) I went from having a couple measly little hairs as eyebrows to actual eyebrows with shape, so I’m officially ready to take over the world now. Read on for details on my glorious brow (and life) transformation, and of course, the photos. Praise be.
Kendra Bray, owner of Better Brows & Beauty, is basically a brow artist and therapist all in one. When I first walked into her salon, I couldn’t believe I was about to get my first tattoo ever, let alone two in the center of my face. I was on edge, to say the least. But, like I am about mostly everything else in my life, I was being way too dramatic about it. In my defense, yes I was nervous about the final results of the treatment, but mostly about the pain.
We started with an initial consultation where Kendra sat me down and talked to me about what I wanted to achieve with my brows. Like every other basic bitch that has any beauty treatment, I heavily emphasized that I wanted a natural look. I already have botox and lip fillers, and I didn’t need people noticing another drastic change on my face. Little did I know, Kendra is an actual saint who works with you through EVERY step of the six-week-long process. Yes, you heard that correctly—good things take time, and that means two appointments with time for healing in between.
In our first appointment, she began the micropigmentation procedure. Micropigmentation, a fancy word that real artists like Kendra use, is the process of depositing pigment into the skin’s dermal layer. Microblading is micropigmentation, just in tiny hair-like strokes with the permanent makeup. She started by numbing me with cream, and then tested out the needle on my eyebrow to see if I could feel it. Let me tell you people: I’m a huge wimp when it comes to pain, and this did not hurt AT ALL.
Since I was still a nervous wreck, she’d stop every couple of minutes to show me the results to make sure I still liked the direction she was going in. Turns out I know nothing about brow shapes, and truly did not need to micromanage the process, but having her work so closely with me on them helped ease my angst throughout the procedure.
By the end of the first treatment, I was excited to get out into the world to debut my new brows. Since they were fresh off being recently tattooed for the first time, they are a bit darker than they were going to be at the end of it.
My brows, before and after the first appointment:
The ONLY downside to this whole shabang is that you’re told not to get your eyebrows wet for a week after the first treatment, meaning you have to awkwardly keep your head out of the shower faucet. If you get moisture on them, it’s not the end of the world— it just might affect the outcome of the shade. However, you really want to avoid touching them at all (except for applying the healing gel) during that first week post-treatment. Speaking of, Kendra gave me an aftercare gel to apply twice daily throughout the week to help keep my brows clean and prevent dryness. She warned me that they might become a bit flaky with dead skin (since they’re essentially healing tattoos). Here I am thinking “I’ll just do what I always do when something pops up on my face: pick at it until it’s gone!” This is a huge f*cking no-no. Kendra assured me that this was one of the most crucial parts of the healing—do NOT pick off the flaky parts or you could risk damaging the pigment. Luckily for me, Kendra’s talents and experiences were unmatched, and I didn’t have very much flakiness anyway. I literally went to the MTV VMAs four days after my treatment (and just in time to raise my new brows on the red carpet at the love of my life, Big Sean— we made eye contact, and I’d like to think it was because he loved my eyebrows).
The Final Results
So now that I’m a micropigmentation expert (ha!), I can tell you this: your brows morph a lot throughout the weeks following the first appointment. For the first week or so, they’re dark AF, and by the time you’re ready for the second and final appointment, they’re almost too light. At that point, I didn’t care what color they were, I was just ecstatic to finally have actual eyebrows with an arch and shape. The second appointment is a touch-up session, where your stylist will fill in any holes, go bigger, or make any adjustments on the shade. By the end of it, you have new brows that last twelve to eighteen months.
See below for my transformation from beginning to end.
As you can see, Kendra nailed it with my “natural-looking” request. One of the best parts about having these babies is that I can wear no makeup and still look put-together. Or, if I want to put on a full face (a rarity for me), I can simply color them in just a tad with a brow pencil, following my new amazing shape.
To say this has altered my life for the better would be an understatement. It’s sped up my morning routine and increased my confidence a ton. Not to mention the compliments it’s earned me (one person literally said it was the “best and most natural microblading they’ve ever seen”, which I’m getting written in calligraphy to frame on my fridge).
I’m getting married in October 2020, and although I hate wedding planning, I feel ready to get married with my beautiful brows. Brides (and anyone trying to improve their lives), run, don’t walk to get microblading done.
Images: Better Brows & Beauty
As someone with acne prone skin, I will try literally any and every facial treatment that promises to clear, brighten, and smooth my face. Does this make me susceptible to every gimmick out there? Probably. Does that stop me? Not in the slightest. With the promise of “better skin”, I’ll do whatever it takes. So when I kept seeing “microneedling” all over my Instagram feed, I knew this was the next thing I had to try. A quick Google informed me that “Collagen induction therapy, also known as microneedling RF or skin needling, is a cosmetic procedure that involves repeatedly puncturing the skin with tiny, sterile needles.” Yes, needles. I admit I honestly didn’t know exactly what it was when I signed up, and couldn’t find a solid explanation when browsing the internet, which was why I knew I had to try it out for myself. I guess I’m brave like that (or just stupid).
I decided to go to Better Brows & Beauty, a microblading and micropigmentation salon owned by permanent makeup artist Kendra Bray. I made an appointment, and all was good. It wasn’t until I was in the chair that I started internally panicking. The idea of coming in for the treatment sounded great until it hit me that I was voluntarily coming in to have needles poked into my face repeatedly. During the process itself, I asked Kendra a million questions, which she thoroughly answered and eased my mind. These are the most important takeaways from the experience.
What Is Microneedling?
“The whole premise is you’re making micro damages to your skin to activate your body’s own wound healing system so that it makes new healthy cells,” Kendra explained. “What this is doing is making controlled damages, that’s what’s building that collagen. The whole premise of microneedling started in the 70s but was quickly overshadowed by laser treatment that had started to come onto the scene. Doctors were experiencing quicker and more dramatic results with lasers and for many years, lasers took the forefront.”
To back it up even further, collagen is a protein our bodies produce that is responsible for smooth skin, but our bodies produce less of it with age. So by stimulating collagen production, you’re improving your skin. And when it comes to choosing a method of collagen induction therapy, there might be benefits to choosing microneedling over lasers. “One of the things that seeing is we can achieve the same things with microneedling as we can with laser treatments, but the risks aren’t as high,” says Kendra. Namely, when you get laser treatments, you risk hyper and hypopigmentation, or the lightening or darkening of the skin, which happens in spotty areas. That’s not exactly desirable, and definitely not so on your face. Kendra also says, “doing too many lasers throughout the years can start to shrink the dermal layer of your skin—that’s where we keep all that plumpness.” In other words, doing too many laser treatments could be counterproductive to keeping youthful, smooth-looking skin.
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A minimally-invasive non-surgical procedure for skin rejuvenation that involves the use of a micro-needling device to; reduce fine lines and deep wrinkles, hyper pigmentation, age spots, acne scars, stretch marks, hair loss and leads to improved volume, strength, resiliency, smoother texture and a brighter complexion to create healthier more youthful looking skin. #Microneedling at #BetterBrowsAndBeauty is just a consultation away. Visit: www.betterbrowsnyc.com
Does It Hurt?
I asked Kendra if it hurt to which she chuckled, and said “Um, well it’s needles,” but further went to explain, “Some people think that it’s not bad at all. I use numbing cream through the entire process, so it’s not painful but you will feel something.” Kendra started with a microdermabrasion treatment that removed the dead skin cells off my face, which allowed the numbing cream to soak in a little more. After that she approached the skin with a traditional micro needle, which is a cluster of a couple of needles hitting the skin simultaneously. Honestly, it didn’t hurt at all since she put layers of numbing cream on throughout the process.
Who Is The Ideal Candidate For Microneedling?
My main concerns when it comes to my face are redness and acne, but microneedling can help with a multitude of skin concerns. According to Kendra, “It’s really great for scarring especially: acne scars, surgical scars, facelift scars, things like that. What you’re doing on a scar is you’re breaking that old scar tissue, and then building new, healthy cells in place of that.” Even still, she notes that there are some things to keep in mind. “One thing with microneedling versus laser treatments,” she explains, “is is more of a long-term game. You are making those little damages and your skin is making new healthy skin cells, so you’re allowing your skin to go through a healthy regeneration cycle.” She says some people, especially people who are older, might need to do multiple sessions to achieve the results they want, and also keep going to maintain the progress.
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#BetterBrowsAndBeauty now offers #microneedling! Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT), aka Micro Needling, is a new and innovative skin facial rejuvenation procedure taking the beauty industry by storm. It is a minimally-invasive non-surgical procedure for skin rejuvenation that involves the use of a micro-needling device to; reduce fine lines and deep wrinkles, hyper pigmentation, age spots, acne scars, stretch marks, hair loss and leads to improved volume, strength, resiliency, smoother texture and a brighter complexion to create healthier more youthful looking skin. Who wouldn't love that?!
What Happens Afterwards?
Directly after the treatment you’ll have some noticeable redness. “You’ll have this pinpoint redness all over the skin. Later in the evening, it will look like you got a sunburn all over the skin. Around day 3 you’ll experience some exfoliation, this process basically speeds up the exfoliation that would’ve happened over the next couple of weeks, so you’ll experience flaking of the skin,” Kendra explained. She says that you can use makeup to cover up the redness, though. The best part to me, however, is that those expensive AF face products I have at home will actually work better after treatment. “Because we’re making those micro damages to the skin, your skin can actually absorb 80% more of the skin care ingredients that we’re using on it.” After a week or so I started to see a noticeable difference in my skin. My acne significantly subsided and I felt that my skin was overall more clear, less red, and had a glow to it.
How Many Times A Year Should Someone Get Microneedling?
Just for fun, I asked Kendra to answer this question, assuming someone had all the money in the world. Kendra said she’s seen microneedling cost anywhere from $500-$2,500 depending on where you get it done. The frequency is also dependent on individual needs, “If someone is trying to treat something specific, like acne scars or dark spots, we would do treatments every six weeks. And after that we would do a couple of treatments as ongoing maintenance. For someone that’s looking for anti-aging and that ongoing maintenance, three times a year would be great. You could do that, give your skin a rest, get better use of your products during that time.
Overall, microneedling is pretty much for anyone. If you are deathly afraid of needles, maybe pass, but if you’re looking for brighter, clearer skin, it might be worth looking into.