Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Microblading: everything you need to know about the rising beauty trend


Eyebrows have never been bigger. In both a figurative and a literal sense, brows have become huge in recent years.

Perhaps because the only way to go was to go large following the sad little plucked caterpillars of the Noughties, or perhaps eyebrows – like the popular hemline theory – are reflective of the economic times. Most likely, it had something to do with the meteoric rise of Cara Delevingne and her power brows.

Whatever it was, brows have become so popular that they are now firmly a beauty focus in their own right. Today, as well as brow pencils and brow powder, we have entire salons dedicated to plucking, threading and tinting.

The latest? Brow tattooing. We’re not talking the dodgy blue lines scribbled across the foreheads of Nineties goths, we’re talking a natural looking full brow, a procedure designed to make the most full and natural looking eyebrows day in, day out. The process known as microblading is skyrocketing brows into the stray hair stratosphere.

The process, which creates semi-permanent brows, thickens thinning brows or draws on new brows for those without any, is becoming so popular that there are waiting lists to get it done. But what exactly does it involve?

Stylist investigates.

Pre and post microblading

Pre and post microblading

What is microblading?  

Microblading is a semi-permanent tattooing procedure designed to bring volume to sparse and thin eyebrows.

Originally a method for alopecia and cancer patients to reshape their brows, the treatment is now a readily available beauty solution for those seeking a fuller look.

Read more: From overplucked eyebrows to fake tan streaks; the most common beauty problems solved

Although the word tattooing might suggest a commitment as daunting as taking on a hefty mortgage, the new technique is considered so subtle and natural-looking that it dispels any concerns about dodgy errors.

“Microblading is a form of cosmetic tattooing which is also known as micro-pigmentation,” says Laura Kay, a microblader and instructor based in Hertfordshire.

“The procedure, which is carried out by a hand tool, rather than a machine, It’s done with a little make little cuts into the skin, which are not dissimilar to papercuts. The cuts are filled with pigment, making for a realistic eyebrow adjustment.”

Microblading by Laura Kay

Microblading by Laura Kay

Does it hurt?

Although tiny eyebrow papercuts don’t exactly sound like anyone’s idea of heaven, numbing oils and treatments are said to make the procedure more than bearable.

“There’s numbing techniques on the market now, so most people won’t feel much through the treatment at all,” says Louise Bannigan of Epibrow.

“It’s a little bit scratchy and some find it painful, but other clients don’t at all,” says Kay.

There is one unexpected reaction, however.“Clients tend to sneeze during microblading, because the brow line is a sensitive area,” explains Kay.

Read more: The rise of the brow: why eyebrow products are set to rival mascara

Kay assures that in spite of the movement, the blades can still make graceful, coordinated movements that create symmetrical and natural arches. 

During the treatment

During the treatment

How long does it take, and how long does it last?

Microblading lasts from 1-2 hours per session, and generally includes a follow-up appointment to further etch out the line a week later.

“How long it lasts can vary on client – the average lifespan is about 12-18 months,” says Bannigan.

How much does it cost?

The procedure can cost anything from £250 - £450 depending on your location. While some salons include the first treatment and the top up appointment in that price, others charge on session-by-session basis.

Even though it’s tempting, the experts warn against getting discounted procedures.  

“Think before you click on a voucher site to procure discounted treatment – is it discounted for a reason?” says Kay. 

Microblading before and after

Microblading before and after

What you should know 

Both microbladers agree that if someone’s going to be tattooing your face, it’s imperative that you do your research.

“Make sure the person you go and see is a brow artist who understands that being an eyebrow artist is key to microblading, because that’s the best way to achieve facial symmetry,” says Bannigan.

“Also, make sure you see a portfolio of the microblader’s work. Any professional should give you a full consultation and a patch test. Some people have one day courses, so make sure you go to a reputable salon,” she added.

“Do your research, definitely” says Kay.

“It’s essential that the microblader draws on the shape first and you both agree to it before starting the procedure.”


Breton use.jpg

Why your obsession with Breton tops could give you migraines

katie piper fashion mental health.jpg

Katie Piper on how fashion helped her to recover after being attacked


Unfulfilled but don't know why? These four factors may tell you



Susan Sarandon’s ageing tips are as excellent as you’d expect

Good lighting is everything

by Moya Crockett
26 May 2017

Queen Elizabeth II has been wearing this nail varnish since 1989

And it only costs £7.99

by Kayleigh Dray
25 May 2017

Cara Delevingne explains why she really shaved her head

“My agents and managers were like, ‘Please don't! Why would you do that?’”

by Kayleigh Dray
19 May 2017

Nearly a quarter of women “don't shave their armpits”

Long hair, don't care

by Anna Brech
19 May 2017

The golden rules of brushing your hair

Stylists share their do’s and don’ts

by Anna Brech
18 May 2017

Celebrity hairdresser has a controversial tip for washing your locks

Are you tempted to try it?

by Sarah Biddlecombe
15 May 2017

Gender reveal nail art is now a thing

Mum-to-be manis

by Anna Pollitt
15 May 2017

How to care for your locks throughout each season of the year

Stylists share their tips on seasonal nourish routines

15 May 2017

12 of the best non-toxic beauty buys on the high street

From make-up to hair care

by Stylist
12 May 2017

These tattoos are designed to help people with mental health issues

Temporary self-care designs carry messages of support and compassion

by Anna Brech
11 May 2017