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Eyebrows 201: What You Need to Know About Advanced Techniques

eyebrow grooming

Microblading, microfeathering, and microshading, oh my! New ways to shape your brows.

Putting your best face forward isn't always easy, is it? Well, this is one time you'll want to be brow beaten! Many of us have learned to achieve clearer skin through diet, exercise, and rest (and now social isolation). But there are other ways to step up our game of making our finer attributes more pronounced; It's called face framing. Allow me to explain.

Very few of us know how to capitalize on our brows, lashes, and eyeliner--let alone, how to apply color or shape perfectly. Some of us do have a go-to eye pencil and concealer stick for those moments of imperfection, while others have drawers full and can apply makeup and coverup flawlessly. I'm not one of those people (at least not on myself).

Eyebrow "threading" is the alternative to plucking or waxing hairs, using varying degrees of thread, depending on the licensed artist. Many say it's more accurate, but if you're good with a sharp tweezer or wax, keep on keeping on. The goal, when talking brows, is about adding the look of hair with matching color pigment to your eyebrows. Some people can't grow brows, while others have patchy or thin brows. Let's beef 'em up! Permanent cosmetics have come a long way. A decade ago, one might have had to wait six months before permanent eyeliner looked natural, but not anymore. Here are some of the latest techniques:

Microblading eyebrows is a long-lasting, semi-permanent incision infused with a color blade (a tiny scalpel) that can last from six months to three years. This format also offers a slightly deeper topical incision and adds more pigment staining with a staying power of one to three years.

Microfeathering is a scaled-down version, meaning a more topical, less invasive incision that extends existing hairs is used, rather than creating the look of a new hair, root and all. The effect can look similar, but over time will expose more patches. The tint wears off faster so you'll need semi-annual touchups. But for those on the fence about brow enhancement, it may be just right.

Microshading is good both as a lasting semi-permanent eyeliner and brow filler because it uses tools that diffuse or aerate strong lines via more color dots and less sharp lines, similar to eye shadow powders. Although still considered "new," I've been custom-tinting men's eyebrows for more than 25 years.

The real eyebrow masters may use all three techniques on one person, over time, with several visits, and they usually at least possess a tattoo license. Separately, lash and brow tinting doesn't use any blades or devices and can be done regularly by a professional every six to eight weeks, including freshening up another artist's microbladed brows (the real hair portion). Good artists can gently create a tiny, diffused line under lashes, but remember, they're using specific professional products for around the eyes and your protection.

Here are a few tips:

* Do not try this at home

* Keep retinols and acid cleansers and creams off the newly colored hairs of your face and limit sunbathing without sunscreen

* Don't ever use hair color tint on your eyelashes; the higher levels of peroxide will burn and can seriously damage your vision health

Generally, the microtints are the same or similar in these services. It's the depth of incision that determines boldness and longevity of color. All usually require a topical numbing cream. The services can range anywhere from $300 to upwards of $1,500, but given the demand and the current economy, that could also change quickly.

Wait, did you just raise your eyebrow at me?

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