What is it exactly? Many people have heard the term, especially as of late, due to its surging popularity in the beauty industry. For those like myself who over-plucked their once bushy, thick eyebrows, microblading has become almost the holy grail to facial feature enhancement.
I inherited my father’s thick, wiry and bushy eyebrows. By the time I hit college in the late 90’s, pencil thin eyebrows were in and like so many, I plucked and plucked and plucked and pretty soon, the hairs stopped growing back.
Throughout college and life in the 00’s and even into the 2010’s, I went around with my pencil-thin brows, not thinking much of them! Sure, I used some brow powder to fill them in a bit, but it wasn’t something that was on my mind all the time.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I first took notice of the likes of Cara Delevingne and started watching beauty bloggers on YouTube (my faves include Brianna Stanko, TheMakeupChair, Jaclyn Hill, Marlena Stell, NikkieTutorials, LeighannSays, Wayne Goss, ItsJudyTime, grav3yardgirl to name a few!). While learning some really awesome makeup tips and tricks (I can do cat eye all the time now!!), I noticed the eyebrows. Big, beautiful, bold brows. The brows I had growing up, which I hated so much, were back (really though, they never left). I started watching in fascination how eyebrows really changed the shape of the face and framed the eyes. A bold and neat brow just added that extra oompf to the face, and I wanted it back!
I started watching my favorite YouTubers on how to fill in my brows and I learned some really great tips! The only problem was, now that I was becoming obsessed with my brows, it was taking me forever each morning to fill them in and make them “perfect.” And then of course, with one good swipe of my fingers, my hard work would come right off! I was really getting desperate to get 10-20 minutes of my mornings back (let’s be real here, some mornings I would mess up and my brows would get too thick, would not be even – oh how the frustration mounted every day!). I also did not want to be afraid to rub my face or go swimming without my precious filled-in brows saying goodbye!
And now, this is where divine intervention plays a role and my friend Tiffany Brown introduces me to Dawn Hunter.
Tiffany invited me to attend the VINE Studios grand opening of their new Kirkland, Washington, location a few months ago. It was here that I met Dawn, a Master Esthetician and Permanent-Makeup (PMU) Trainer. Dawn is the powerhouse behind VINE Studios and I had the chance then to interview her, which you can read here. Dawn offered me microblading services and I jumped at the chance. My appointment could not come soon enough!
Let me stop here and explain the best I can, what microblading is. Microblading is a form of semi-permanent makeup which is applied as strokes in the eyebrow area using cosmetic tattoo pigments. The strokes mimic hair and fills in sparse or missing eyebrows. If taken care of properly (i.e. using sunscreen, not exposing skin to the elements), the strokes can last a few years. However, they will fade over time and will need touch-ups.
On January 9, 2018, I left work early and drove up to the beautiful Queen Anne neighborhood in Seattle for my microblading appointment with Dawn. Her Seattle studio is located on Queen Anne Ave between Blaine and Howe Street on the third floor. Upon pulling into the neighborhood, I was immediately ecstatic because parking was free for two hours and I found a spot right by the studio!!
I walked into VINE Studios and Dawn was just finishing up on another client who was getting her lips done. Dawn had me lay down on one of the two beds and she applied a numbing solution on my brows and said it would take about twenty minutes for my skin to be fully numb and ready. While waiting for my brows to numb, Dawn and I talked about the importance of being properly trained in applying permanent makeup. She told me how there are some studios out there who learned microblading techniques from YouTube. Dawn is the Director of the VINE Studios Permanent Cosmetics Training Academy and helps those interested in the field to hone their skills to become a licensed Permanent Cosmetics artist. Dawn couldn’t emphasize enough the amount of training one should get before going out into the field of permanent cosmetics. I would NOT want someone who learned microblading by YouTube to touch my face!
After my forehead was good and numb, we took some before photos and I chatted with Dawn about what I was looking for. Side note, this was also the day a giant zit decided to make its fully grown appearance right between my eyebrows. Yay! Talk about total embarrassment! Dawn didn’t care at all, but I sure did! Thanks pores! Thanks a lot.
Dawn measured out my eye area with a grid so she could get a better feel for what she needed to work on. For example, as you can see below, one of my brow arches is just slightly higher than the other. You may have heard the saying before, “Brows should be sisters and not twins,” mine were more like first cousins. Dawn wanted to make sure they turned into the close sisters they were born to be.
After measuring and chatting about the look I was going for, Dawn had me lay on the table and she continued to add the grid lines to my eye area. The entire time, she told me what she was doing, why and how it would help her use her microblading tools. We also decided that instead of just microblading, Dawn would include using the fusion technique, which combines microblading with a powder-looking base to fill in more of the negative space in my brows.
Time for color. Dawn adds the colors to the forehead to see which one matches the natural brow color the best. We ended up picking two of the colors to blend in with the brows.
Let the microblading fusion begin! If you have have tattoos, you probably know how it feels to get something like this done. I don’t have any tattoos myself (well, now I do in my brows!), and the best way I can describe the feeling of microblading is getting scratched or scraped over and over again. While it didn’t hurt (thank you numbing agent!), you definitely feel every single stroke and it was more uncomfortable than painful. Also, because Dawn was doing this around my sinuses, I felt that feeling you get right before you sneeze, without the sneezing. Dawn told me if I actually felt like sneezing to let her know, so she could stop. Luckily, I never sneezed.
Dawn and I chatted throughout the entire procedure and she told me what she was doing along the way and any problems she encountered. My left eyebrow was definitely the more difficult one to work with shape-wise, but Dawn mastered it beautifully. The whole procedure took just over an hour and in the end, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I love my brows! I love them so much, Dawn did such an amazing job, and I was so incredibly ecstatic when she was finished, I almost cried. Now I had to take very good care of them over the next few weeks as they healed! Dawn explained the after-care to me very thoroughly and what I would and should expect. Once my eyebrows start healing, they would appear much darker for the first few days as my body healed itself. My eyebrows would start to shed like a “dry mascara” (aka scabbing up) and it was very important for me to not pick or peel this off, or I would risk losing the tattoo. The color would eventually get about 20% lighter and the scabbing would all fall off. It was also important to not take super hot showers for about a week (same goes for saunas, hot yoga, etc) and to apply an ointment she gave me before bed and before I showered to help with healing and to provide a layer of protection. I was determined to take the very best care of my brows as I could! Dawn gave me an after-care card, some ointment, a big hug and I was on my way into the healing process!
My microblading appointment was on a Tuesday. That first morning after, I got ready for work and did not have to fill in my brows! It was a total game changer! I literally had about twenty minutes extra of time before I had to leave for work! I could not believe it. Did it really take me that long every morning to perfect my brows every morning for the last few years? Oh my goodness. That first day back at work, those who knew what I had done were astonished! The ladies in my office commented on how natural my eyebrows looked and how I had minimal swelling. I was in brow heaven!
Below will show the healing process and what to expect.
I went back for my touch-up about two months later and Dawn said while my brows looked a little ashy, the color had stayed for the most part! Looking back at my chart for what colors she had used before, she added some strokes to fill in some of the sparse areas and to freshen them up. I honestly feel that because I use sunscreen every day (its needed, even living in the Pacific Northwest) and not washing my face with hot water has really helped the brows stay intact. My touch-up appointment only took about 25 minutes and I was done!
I could not be happier with the results of my microblading experience with Dawn. This woman is absolutely incredible, with not only her artistic ability to create natural looking brows, but her passion in life for helping others. Dawn really shines when it comes to scars and trauma. Working with top plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and eye surgeons combined with her art background, Dawn is able to use pigmentation and prepping techniques to manipulate scar tissue and cover obvious lines. She is working to develop a non-profit with board-certified Facial Plastic Surgeon and ENT, Dr. David Santos, called The International FACE Foundation. The aim of FACE will eventually be to help children under 18 who have any facial scarring and trauma. Dawn wants to help these kids, who are living their most formative years, be able to face the world each day with confidence in themselves.
If you have ever wanted to try out microblading or permanent make-up, I highly recommend booking a session with Dawn Hunter of VINE Studios. I had the best experience with one of the best in the industry!
Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received comped microblading services for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.