Can I just say, I am VERY happy that brows are on trend, and have remained on trend. Growing up, my brows were always dark. I had bright blonde hair and dark, bushy brows. Sadly, like most high school girls, I got a little overzealous with the tweezers and made some pretty poor brow mistakes. Thankfully, the brows have since recovered and I’ve been embracing my long, dark brows by getting them threaded every two months or so.
Lately however, I noticed that they weren't as full as they used to be. Maybe I’m just watching wayyyy too many brow Instagram videos, or maybe my mid-twenties brows are just peace-ing out slowly. Either way, when I stumbled upon this brow company, @Dollistic on Instagram, I was hooked. Photo after photo of amazing before and after photos of brows that were either non-existent or poorly shaped, transformed into beautifully symmetrical and sculpted works of art.
I had heard of Microblading before, but I really didn’t consider the process. Was it a brow transplant? Was it a tattoo? I didn’t really know, but I knew I really wanted to do it.
So, what is Microblading?
According to the experts at Dollistic, microblading, also referred to as Microstroking, Eyebrow Embroidery, Feather Stroke Brows, 3D Brows, or micro pigmentation, etc. is the process of manually implanting color pigment beneath the surface of the skin by means of tiny, sterile, disposable needles to produce the appearance of hair strokes.
Was I really going to do this? Was I really going to get my first what is more or less a tattoo, on my face? Granted my brows are were pretty good shape to begin with, but hey why not strive for improvement, right?
In preparation for my “procedure” I had to grow my brows out which, admittedly, wasn’t easy because when my brows grow, they grow long. But I stayed strong and avoided my threading place for 2 months prior to my appointment. (Hence, the reason my brows in the "before" shot below look so beastly.) The day leading up to my appointment, I made sure to avoid caffeine, alcohol, direct sun exposure #sunscreenforlife.
The day of, I strolled down 14th Street to Dollistic (1409 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC) which is conveniently less than a mile away from my apartment. I was greeted by the adorable Christina, my brow artist and new favorite person. Christina was incredibly professional and knowledgeable and I instantly trusted her. We went over some of the ground rules and procedures while she spread a nice thick layer of pre-procedure topical numbing creme to “take off the edge.” Girrrl, thanks. Then Christina spent the majority of the process, drawing her art on my canvas (face lol) using this eyebrow ruler to ensure that I was symmetrical and that I would like the shape of my new brows.
But before I go into too much detail about the experience, let’s cover some ground with the questions I had, and probably you do too.
What's the Microblading process?
In spite looking like real hairs, microblading doesn’t involve any sort of hair transplanting. It is merely a series of small tears in the skin in the shape of hairs and filled with pigment. As Christina explained, it’s not really a blade; it’s a row of sterile needles (one time use) that are used to scratch the very surface of the skin with the pen dipped in pigment in the pattern of hair strokes.
Does it Hurt?
As someone with a pretty high pain tolerance, I went into this thinking it would be pretty painless. I’ve also never had a tattoo so I can’t compare the two sensations. I will say however, yes, it does hurt. Did my eyes water? No. Were my palms a little clammy, yes, definitely. Truthfully, the worst part for me, was the sound. It really does sound like the scraping of skin, which made me a little queasy. Serious props/sidenote though: I was LOVING Dollistic’s Spotify playlist that had all of my relaxing favorites on it. I honestly loved every song they played.
Okay, back to the pain. Everyone has a different pain tolerance right? And for me, knowing how good my brows were going to look after, toughened me up. Candidly, if you’re afraid of needles or blades, maybe this isn’t for you. The numbing solution does help, but not until the second round of cuts did I not feel anything.
There are two types of anesthetic used during the procedure. As mentioned above, one is the "Pre-Procedure Topical Numbing Creme" which is used before the procedure starts to take the edge of the first few hairstrokes. The second one is a gel like anesthetic made of lidocane that sinks in once the skin has been broken to fully numb you and keep you comfortable during the duration of the procedure. (similar to the dentist, you have to feel a little pinch before becoming fully comfortable and numb!)
Post procedure, I was pretty tender. Not enough to go running for the Advil, but enough to feel like, oh yeah, someone just made 100+ little cuts on my face. It really just feels like you have a bad sunburn on your eyebrows.
How much is it?
Getting your brows microbladed isn’t cheap, especially if you are going to the best of the best. And really think about it here, you’re essentially getting a tattoo on your face – you deserve going to the best. This isn’t something you want to cut corners with and run the risk of infection or even worse, bad brows. The price typically depends on the skill level and experience of the technician. The rates at Dollistic are $650-1150 for new clients and this includes two sessions (each 8-ish weeks apart.) Nationwide the rates vary from $250-2500 depending on location and artists' experience and reputation/demand.
How long does it last?
Future touch ups vary from person to person. Some people come every 6-9 months because they always want their brows to be bold and defined. Others might not want or need a touch up for 1-2 years. Those who follow aftercare directions definitely have the best and longest retention. Dollistic recommends touch ups annually for best maintained and beautiful brows. Which if you think about it, is a great and cost efficient maintenance plan if you are someone who already spends $20-25 on brow make-up per month ($300+ per year) and $30-55+ on threading or waxing ($660+ per year) plus, lets be real the extra 10-15 minutes every morning filling in your brows (time = $$)
Is it worth it?
Yes yes yes, omg YAAAAAS. As someone who already had pretty full brows, you would think that my answer to this would be the opposite. But truthfully, it really transformed my brows and even a little bit of my face. I never realized what having fuller, but more importantly, symmetrical brows could do for my face. Not to mention, my arches are now more pronounced, making me look more refreshed. If you are even considering microblading, you should one, make sure it's something that's right for you and two, set up an appointment with Dollistic. You can see all of their amazing before and after photos on their Instagram.
Overall, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. In spite the slight discomfort with the healing process, it was entirely worth it. Huge thanks to Christina and Dollistic for having me and for my beautiful brows. I can't recommend this enough. More questions? Feel free to ask me on Instagram!