Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Microblading- The Gift That Keeps on Giving.

Getting ready for my microblading appointment

 Six weeks ago,  I did something that was life-changing for me in the beauty department- I took the plunge and got microbladed! It was something I had been thinking about for a while and dove deep into researching the technique- from how it's done to how much pain to expect (I have a very low tolerance for pain). More importantly, I needed to do my research and find the best aesthetician that was fit for the job. I mean, this is my face we're talking about! While there are many amazing and talented technicians, not all are qualified to do microblading. Before I get to how I chose mine, I want to share why I wanted to get microblading done in the first place. 

Because such is the beauty of aging and time, your eyebrow hair can start to thin and/or fall off, and hair growth becomes stagnant, especially when the follicles are dead and there's no hair growth. No two eyebrows are exactly the same- they'll differ in size, thickness and even rate of growth. My left eyebrow is fuller, thicker, and slightly longer than my left. It even has a defined arch that's easy to spot! My right eyebrow is a little bit thinner but still full; but, I started to notice these gaps in certain areas, and no matter how long I was letting my brows grow, hair was just not growing in. This year, I actually started filling in my brows because of these gaps, but really I just wanted to wear my natural, full brows the way that God intended, or at least how Brooke Shields would. That's where microblading comes in. 

Taking the 'before' photos with Kitty.


So in a nutshell, what is microblading? Yes, there's a tattoo element to it- more like semi-permanent tattoo.  Hairlike strokes are created to fill in those gaps to create the illusion of real hair and to also create a more defined and fuller brow that is proportioned to your face using these strokes. The whole process takes about an hour and a half. I'll go into more details on the actual process in just a bit, but first, lets discuss how to pick the right aesthetician that's going to give you those brows that wow! Important to note that you have to be a licensed tattoo artist to microblade. If you do not have a license, then you cannot microblade. Remember that when you do your research. Seems like a no-brainer, but finding the right person is going to be the most important decision you make in this process. I'm always weary of microblading deals on Groupon or that are on sale. That's a quick 'no, thank you' in my book.  At the end of the day, what you're getting is a tattoo on your face so you definitely want an artist who is educated, talented, and methodical when it comes to their technique. 

I was actually working on a beauty story at the time and was able to meet different aestheticians that were known for their microblading work. In total, I did four consultations. First and foremost, I looked for precision. I stalked their Instagram to see all the 'before and afters' because that gave me a first hand look into their work. I read testimonials from other clients and for me, proximity and follow-thru were also two factors that played into my decision-making. I can say with honesty and sincerity that everyone I saw was talented and passionate about their work so I would have been in good hands with any of them; but, it was Caleb at Skin by Caleb McGrew whom I completely meshed with in terms of personality and style. His medi-spa is located inside the Junior and Hatter salon  in Wynwood, and he's got a really sweet assistant named Kitty, who diligently manages appointments and follow ups. Caleb really blew me away during our consultation and answered my one million questions knowledgeably and confidently (and with no sign of annoyance for hence one million questions). He's also a certified trainer (this is a big plus when you are doing your research), and he is SO meticulous in his craft- making sure to achieve the right dimensions, shape, and thickness that will compliment your facial structures and alignment. 

Okay, so now the moment you've all been waiting for- let's get down to the business of microblading! 


Numbing cream is applied to the brow area before the procedure. 

I mentioned pain early in my post and here's the part where we talk about it. I have a very low tolerance for pain. Ironic, considering I pushed two babies out of my vagina, but still, the mere thought of getting microbladed scared me. I'm here to tell you- it's not that bad. Before starting the procedure, numbing cream is applied to your brow area (thank goodness for Lidocaine) and you have to let it sit for 30 minutes so it can take effect. Already feeling at ease knowing my pain will be felt minimally. 

Aesthetician, Caleb McGrew, begins brow mapping. 

Caleb maps out brow measurements with a removable ink pencil and ruler. 

It is then time for the master to do his job. In comes Caleb in his beauty super hero mask and robe to start measuring brows and filling them in with his trusty pencil. What is he doing here? He's creating the brow shape. This process takes time because everything needs to be proportioned and symmetrical. At this point, I'm feeling anxious but giddy with excitement at seeing my new brows. The 'tattoo' part of it was a little shocking for me considering I've never had a tattoo in my life, but for the sake of beautiful brows, semi-permanent tattooing was something I could definitely do. 


Getting rid of tiny hairs around the surrounding area. There is no need to shave the brows in order to perform microblading. 

Caleb works diligently to create a natural brow line.

Once Caleb has finished mapping out my brows and he's confident on the shape, he uses a small blade to shave off any small hairs in the surrounding area. Note, Caleb DOES NOT shave off your eyebrows like some technicians do. That's a pretty extreme practice. 

Caleb and I discuss the brow shape achieved and what comes next. 

It's now time to discuss with the client (in this case, me), what the brow drawings mean before we move on to pigmentation. This is one thing I love about Caleb- he is super informative throughout the process. He talks you through what he's doing, and once he's done, he shows you exactly what he did, why he did it, and what to expect. 

Microblading is performed manually with a bladed pen. The pen creates the strokes and simultaneously adds the pigment in the skin opening created by the strokes. 

The hairlike strokes give the illusion of natural hair. 

The brow color will appear darker the first few days but will then lighten up.

One of the features that sets apart microblading from let's say, getting a tattoo or permanent makeup, is that the color pigments used to insert into your skin are done manually. The pen used has blades and it's these blades that will create the fine hairlike strokes (it's like really teeny tiny cuts) and it simultaneously adds the pigment into these teeny tiny cuts like strokes that were created. That's how the color is achieved. The natural color of your eyebrows will determine the color used for the pigments. It will closely resemble your natural brow. Do not be alarmed if the color is darker than what you expected. This is quite normal and will lighten up after a few days.

Caleb said he used a 14-blade pen to create the strokes and apply the pigment because my eyebrows were dark and thick! By the way, it's beyond insane how real and natural these strokes look. When I look at my brows now, sometimes I can't even differentiate between the real hairs and the microblading ones. You're probably saying, "Ouch, that sounds like it hurts." Yes, it did hurt a little. I did squeeze my eyes really tight and made the occasional grunting sound, but again, it wasn't completely horrible. 

As my mother used to say to me growing up, "Sometimes, you have to suffer for beauty." Typical Latina mother. 




After Caleb is done creating the strokes and adding the pigments, he applies a pigment mask just to be sure that it all absorbs very well. The mask is left for a few minutes, then wiped off to reveal.....

YOUR BRAND NEW BROWS! 

Taking the 'after' shot after the procedure. 

I was ready to walk out of the salon right after the procedure! I didn't experience any redness or any reaction, so for me, it was great to be able to get back to work and back to my day. It's important that I stress that the results may not be the same for everyone. Some clients are good with just one session and don't need a touch up, while some may need up to three sessions. It's all dependent on skin and how well you take care of those brows the first 10 days. 

Caleb gave me specific instructions as to how to care for my new brows. First and foremost, avoid wetting the area. This was definitely challenging, but absolutely doable. I even went to Jamaica a week later and did not let the pool water or salt water touch my brows. I made sure to wash my face while avoiding my eyes and brows, and was very adamant about applying Aquafor to my brows twice a day. For the first three days, Caleb advised me to use a Q-tip with water and a very small amount of lathering soap and apply to the brows. This would help with any scabbing. Luckily, I did not have scabbing. I also avoided any brow makeup on the brows or surrounding areas (not that I needed it because my brows were out of this world) and any direct contact with the sun. My color did slightly fade as expected, but not drastically as they are still dark and bold. 

Tomorrow I go in for my six week touch up appointment with Caleb and I cannot wait. Just when I think these brows can't get any better, I know tomorrow they'll be holiday-ready in all their sexy, bushy glory, all thanks to Caleb and microblading. After an initial microblading session, you are usually asked to come back 4-6 weeks later to refresh the brows and also to do any touch ups that might be needed after the first session. I haven't touched my eyebrows since I saw Caleb in early November- I haven't even plucked my brows, so I am definitely ready for a touch up. 

I titled this post, 'Microblading- the gift that keeps on giving,' because it's a legitimate truth. Whether it's a gift for a loved one or a gift for yourself, I say, TREAT YO' SELF! Throw away those eye pencils and make the splurge! 

Having great eyebrows isn't just a cosmetic thing; its a confidence thing. A good set of brows let's you put your best face forward. It gives you confidence and helps with self-esteem and self-assurance, and we all deserve a little of that. 

Before and Afters. 

To book an appointment with Caleb and to check out his other services click here .

In Style, 

Kat 

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