Tune in, I’m cool with my foreheads. Indeed we have an entirely awesome relationship. I have my cherished Glossier Boy Brow, which lightens up my eyebrows and obscures them a little without giving me #InstagramBrow (you know, those thick, attracted temples that look like small works of painful craftsmanship), and that is practically all I require. So when an email arrived in my inbox from big name temples producer Piret Aava (otherwise called the Eyebrow Doctor) welcoming me to have a go at microblading — a semi-impermanent eyebrow tattoo that makes foreheads look filled in and formed day in and day out, sans beautifying agents — I thought, “Nah, I’m great.” At slightest for around one day.
Because at first pass, the idea of temporary tattooing reminded me of those women with permanent eyeliner that had faded from black to blue and green after a few years, which was not a look I wanted for my eyebrows. And because the results of microblading can last up to two years, it would be slow torture to deal with a gnarly fade or a heavy-handed treatment. Besides, the treatment tends to ring up in the neighborhood of $700 to $1,300, a cost which, sure, might eventually offset the time and money you’ll save by not having to fill in your brows everyday, but still — that’s a lot of coin.
“She got to work, raking the tiny needles across my skin.”
But then I started seeing celebrities with really, really excellent brows extol the wonders of a good microblading. Serena Williams and Malin Akerman have been bladed by Aava, and they look fantastic. Bella Thorne documented her own microblading session on Snapchat, and even with her fair, strawberry-blond hair and fair complexion, the results looked good and surprisingly believable. And, hey, if a slew of celebs trust a possibly scary beauty treatment, I guess that’s some sort of vote of confidence, right? And just like that, I RSVPed.
I’ll admit that I was relatively worried the day of the appointment, imagining myself yelping in pain as someone meticulously inked my face. But the appointment was actually much speedier and far less painful than I had prepared for. After I explained (and re-explained) how natural and light I wanted my tattooing to be, Aava massaged a numbing cream over my skin and shaped my brows with tweezers before drawing an outline around my desired brow shape, like a crime scene outline of where the body should be. Yes, the look had a certain Divine in Pink Flamingos vibe, but Aava assured me this was just done to keep the tattooing contained.
Then she busted out the blades, a row of nine tiny needles sized like acupuncture pins. After selecting the ink that most closely matched my natural brow color, she got to work, raking the blades across my brows and depositing ink into the hair-like cuts as she worked. I know, it sounds horrible and violent and incredibly painful, but trust me when I say the actual sensation didn’t even make me wince. It truly felt like light finger scratches on my skin.