If you’ve been following along on my Instagram or Twitter lately, you likely know that I recently had my eyebrows microbladed. And if you’ve been following me for a while, you know exactly why – I have been frustrated, irritated, and embarrassed of my eyebrows for YEARS. I won’t cover the 90s over plucking or my regrets again because I feel like I’ve talked about their shortcomings till I’m blue in the face. (If you really want to hear what I have to say, you can check out this post.) After months and months and months of researching, pondering, and finally deciding that it was time to take the plunge, no matter how painful it might be, I finally turned to a lovely salon and amazing brow guru to fix my sorry arches. I’ll be sharing a few posts on the blog over the coming months about my journey to infinitely better brows, but to start, here is my experience with step one of microblading!
First of all, I have to share a bit about where I had my procedure done because it’s such an important part of the story. Lipstick Empire is a relaxing medi-spa setting, offering a variety of services including everything from facials to Botox, to of course, microblading! The staff are friendly and approachable, very professional, and adept at helping you feel comfortable, especially if the procedure is one that might be a bit nerve wracking (like, say having you face poked with needles, lol). I was VERY nervous when I arrived (picture full-on butterflies in my stomach) and everyone I met, including the lovely owner Justine, soothed my nerves and made me feel incredibly comfortable. It went a long way towards making me feel at ease and made me glad that I trusted my crazy brows to Lipstick Empire! There are so many amazing services available at Lipstick Empire (some of which I’ll be sharing in future posts), so I encourage you to visit their website lipstickempire.ca and Instagram page and learn more about everything they have to offer.
Daina Stephens was the kind and uber talented microblading specialist, lash tech, and aesthetician who created my new, perfect arches. She is a complete sweetheart and again, made me feel extremely comfortable as soon as we met. Daina is a perfectionist when it comes to brows, taking her time to measure and perfect every arch. This is exactly why I chose her as my brow artist – her work is phenomenal and I encourage you to visit her Instagram page to see more of it, whether you are considering microblading or curious about what it looks like.
And then it was time for new brows.
To start with, Daina and I had a good chat about my brow challenges and what I was hoping to achieve from the treatment. We discussed my 90s brows, over plucking, how my hair grows, and how I had tried to “fix” my brows with only moderate success. We looked at pictures I had collected of brows I loved and chatted about what would work with my face shape, brow structure, and the hair I had to work with. Daina was excellent at letting me know what was realistic and what wasn’t, which ensured that I didn’t have any crazy expectations. Let’s be real – I wasn’t walking out of there with Cara Delavigne brows, but I was going to be leaving with a perfect set that blended with the hair I had and suited my face, which is exactly what mattered to me.
(To be clear, I never wanted those brows. They’re far too heavy for my taste. But I digress.)
Once Daina had a sense of what I was looking for, it was time for the numbing cream. This was SOOOOO IMPORTANT. First of all, I have zero pain tolerance. Second, pain was the only thing I was really worried about. And third, did I mention that I really dislike needles?? Fortunately, the cream they use is top notch and as I sat with it on my face for twenty minutes, I slowly felt my eyebrows become a bit numb – exactly what I wanted. While the numbing cream was on, I chatted with Daina more about my brow struggles and about what to expect, including which type of “blade” she would use. First of all, microblading is sort of misnomer – there is no blade, but rather very tiny needles that create the strokes when scraped across the brow bone. In my case, because Daina noted that I had rather coarse eyebrow hair, she went with a u-shaped microblade (pictured below), which provided slightly thicker stroke that would more closely match my natural hair. She then warned me it might be a bit more uncomfortable, but if it gave me the right look, I was (gulp) fine with that. We also went over the aftercare instructions in depth and she encouraged me to ask as many questions as I wanted, which I did. The biggest challenge is not getting any water on them for ten days (not even a drop!) but she had some great tips on how to wash my hair and face without that being a problem.
Once I was all numbed up, we moved on to what I’ll call the planning and analysis phase – this was the point when Daina examined my brows in detail, measured and re-measured them, determined which areas needed to come up and how to create a natural arch with my brows. She emphasized at this point that brows are meant to be sisters, not twins – which I fully understood, noting that my right brow is definitely the one who stays out to late partying and my left brow is the studious and quiet one. Once she measured and made some initial marks to determine where the brows needed to sit, she outlined them and we were ready to go!
OK, now I was ready to hyperventilate a bit. Again, I have to tell you that Daina has the patience of a saint and was so sweet to me when I started to freak out. I love her for this.
The initial strokes mark the outline and provide a backbone for the shape of the brows. As she started, I noted two things – one, it didn’t hurt (at least not like I was expecting) and two, the sound of the blade is…..interesting. I received a question on my Instagram Stories that evening about this and I have to admit, the sound of the microblade scraping across the skin is noticeable. As for the pain, I expected it to feel like needles stabbing me, but that’s not an accurate description at all. In my experience (and bear in mind, everyone is different), it felt like a tugging on my skin, not a cut or a poke. In fact, I was so excited that I immediately did an Instagram story saying that it didn’t hurt and how surprised I was.
I spoke a little bit too soon.
Once the outline was done on each side and Daina applied a second numbing cream, it was time to fill in the brows. By now, each of my brows were a bit irritated, so as she started the process of creating the remaining strokes, I definitely felt it. It hurt. Not a ten out of ten kind of hurt, but it definitely felt uncomfortable. At times, it stung a bit, especially as the pigment soaked into the strokes, and the scraping sensation wasn’t pleasant, but the whole time, I felt that it was worth it. I would put it on the five out of ten pain scale – not excruciating at all, but definitely not something I enjoyed. But I was excited to see the end result! I will say this as well – despite the discomfort, I have zero concerns about going back for my touch-up appointment (more on that later).
Once all the strokes were complete, it was time for the pigment wash, which allows the colour to completely soak into the strokes. Lipstick Empire uses the highest quality pigments (in addition to surgical quality tools that are completely sterile, to prevent infection) that Daina perfectly matched to my hair and eyebrow colour. She added in a bit of a darker chocolate brown to ensure that when the brows faded during the healing process, the colour would remain strong and match my existing brows perfectly. The pigment phase is the Eugene Levy phase – that’s literally what my brows looked like until she cleanly wiped away the pigment to reveal my new brows.
But not before examining them in depth, making sure that everything looked symmetrical and adding a few more strokes here and there to perfect the look. Then it was time for the reveal – and I was THRILLED!!! My brows were exactly what I hoping for, from the more defined arch to the visible tails (this is the area where my brows refuse to grow) to the colour and stroke thickness. I legitimately had no words and actually teared up because of what it meant to me – a huge confidence boost that I have always needed. It finally felt like the struggle was over.
So now for the healing phase. Daina walked me through the entire process, including the fact that I could not get any water on the brows for 10 days (it sounds harder than it is – just be grateful for dry shampoo!). She provided me with written instructions and lots of tips on things to avoid during the healing process. On day seven post-procedure, you start to apply a small amount of grape seed oil on the brows twice a day; until then, you just leave them alone. I am a makeup lover, so avoiding the eye area took some maneuvering (especially on Tuesday when I was on live TV!), but it is totally doable, and in fact, I found myself naturally gravitating to wearing less makeup, which is another upside to the whole procedure. As of today, I am on day nine and so far, so good! The brows still look amazing, but they are starting to shed a bit, which is completely normal. They are a bit patchy, as there are some areas that still have a bit of scabbing, and it will likely take another week for the full shedding to take place. They will have faded some by then, typically anywhere from 30-50%, but that is normal and is the reason the microblading is a multi-step process. In about six weeks (typically six to eight weeks after the treatment, but I am also booking around my summer holidays) I will return for my touch up appointment, where Daina and will discuss my healing and examine any areas that have faded too much. This is why two sessions are imperative! The first one sets the new brows up and the second one perfects them. I am so excited to see the final effect later this summer.
Daina was a magician and I cannot thank her enough for her patience, her perfectionism (we are kindred spirits that way), and her professionalism. If you are in the Edmonton area and are considering microblading, I recommend her a thousand times over!! And even if you aren’t 100% sure that it’s right for you, I would encourage you to contact Lipstick Empire and have a consultation – ask questions, learn about the process, and discuss the options that are best for you! You can contact Lipstick Empire at (587) 523-5477 and they would be happy to chat with you. And if you have any specific questions that you want to ask me, having just gone through the process, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below. I am so thrilled with my new brows (and all the brow compliments I have been getting, which is a LOT) that I can’t wait to share more!
Enjoy the pretty things in life,