Eyebrow Permanent Makeup is Evolving…Why Clients Should be Too

My name is JoAnna and I’ve owned my own permanent makeup studio, Rain City Brows for almost six years now. While I offer many different services including Lip Blush, Lash Line Enhancement, Tattoo Lightening/Removal, Color Correction, Teeth Whitening and Lashify lashes, my heart lies with brows. For years eyebrow tattoo was all I did all day every day and because of this I consider myself and my business as specializing in brows.

Early on in my career in permanent makeup, I found that the majority of clients wanted Microblading until that demand slowly turned to Combo Brows which is a combination of both microbladed hair strokes and powder also known as shading. Throughout the years, I noticed clients began to get increasingly more interested in Powder Brows as their preferred brow tattoo.

At the start of its popularity, eyebrow permanent makeup could pretty much be classified into one category-Microblading. Microblading is the hyper-realistic, 3-D looking tattooed hair strokes. Traditionally with Microblading, each stroke is tattooed onto the client’s skin manually and by hand (versus with a tattoo machine) one by one. It is not literally a real hair, it is a tiny little stroke or cut in the skin, made to look like a real hair. For a long while this style was all the rage, so much so that I still have clients requesting “microblading” but they are using the word as a blanket term for many different styles of eyebrow permanent makeup. They don’t realize that the soft, powdery brow tattoo their friend got last month is not in fact Microblading.

Now that we are several years and multiple touchups into Microblading, artists and clients alike are seeing the long-term results in the skin. I have witnessed a very similar reaction among dozens and dozens of clients on the day of their very first Microblading appointment. They would marvel, incredulously at just how realistic and “like real hairs” their Microblading appeared. And they weren’t wrong! The problem is, Microblading is tattoo, in human skin. Skin that has oil glands and capillaries and sun exposure and products applied to it. Skin that ages and changes. So, there is just no way to keep those microbladed hair strokes looking that crisp, that fresh and well, that real-looking.

Many clients were starting to notice over time that their Microblading started to look blurry. It would lighten, fan, in some cases change color, and even become spotty. Enter Powder Brows, sometimes called shaded brows or brow shading. This is not a new technique. Shading/tattooing solidly colored brows is probably one of the oldest forms of permanent makeup. But it has come a long way and todays powdered brows are much softer, lighter, more natural looking, with truer colors and often softer borders depending on the style of the artist.

Clients are often surprised to see that I, their artist, have powdered brows myself. They are surprised at how natural and NOT like makeup my brows look. Most people do not come to me requesting to look like they have fake, made up brows. They want to look natural! Powder Brows are created using a different tattoo technique. Traditionally the artist is using a motorized permanent makeup tattoo machine with a single-use needle cartridge inserted into the tip. The needle(s) are repeatedly striking the skin at a rapid pace, implanting the tattoo pigment into the skin at every needle strike. Conversely microblading is the motion of literally cutting through the skin with a microblading tool, implanting the pigment at each stroke/cut. In other words, the powdered brow skin is subjected to a lot less stress and trauma than the microbladed brow, producing less skin damage, scar tissue and drawing less blood.

The result of that lower level of skin trauma, is a more pleasing healed result long term. I have personally found that clients generally have been happier and more satisfied with the look and longevity of their permanent makeup for longer periods of time when they get Powder Brows over Microblading. In other words, people with Powder Brows tend to come in for later touchups less often than those with Microblading.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not against the technique of Microblading. On the right skin and with a talented and educated artist, Microblading can look great and can even stay looking great over the years. Microblading is not for all skin types though. Sun damaged, loose, thin or mature skin typically does not produce an optimal result. Brows will look better healed when a Powder Brow is done.

I am so excited that more and more clients and artists are starting to realize that Powder seems to be the superior option long term for the greater majority of skin types. I personally love the look of Powder and think it looks much more natural than Microblading! I do offer free consultation at my studio, Rain City Brows located in Sterling, Virginia where we can chat about which would be the best option for you and why.



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